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- News from June 2001 & before

 Tuesday, September 25, 2001 

Cathy Freeman to run long, hurdles ?

Cathy Freeman is set to experiment with running the 800m and possibly the 400m hurdles this summer. The Olympic 400m gold medallist said she was attracted to the idea of trying the 800m ahead of next year's Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Freeman said she was likely to test herself outside her 400m speciality during the Australian season.

"It's absolutely on the cards," said the 28-year-old Freeman, who will resume full training on November 1 after a year off following the Sydney Olympics. "Although I am tending to warm more towards 800 metres running, I'd like to mix my events up especially for the domestic season from January through to March. And even professional running on grass where I have to give girls up to 80 metres start, that's a lot of fun."

Freeman joined great Australian sporting greats inducted into the Australian Institute of Sport's Living Legends Gallery, including former rugby union star David Campese and ex-cricketer Dennis Lillee. The induction was held on the first anniversary of Freeman's unforgettable 400m win at the Sydney Games.

Freeman, who admitted to now being eight kilograms over her race weight, said she had already taken her first few steps back to the top. "I have been doing half hour and 45 minute runs, actually I have done a one hour run," she said. "I am looking at this domestic season, trying to get faster over the shorter distances." Freeman said she was not concerned about turning 29-years-old in February but said she would have to ease herself back into training after the extended lay-off. "I'll pace myself sensibly, I am certainly one to underdo things," she said.
Posted at 22:28     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, September 21, 2001 

Sydney Marathon

Entries close 1st Oct 2001. 634 entered to date. Spine charity announced.
Posted at 01:21     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, September 18, 2001 

Job Ad : Team Management - IAAF World Cup in Athletics 2002

The Oceania Amateur Athletic Association is seeking to appoint appropriately qualified and experienced persons to management positions on the Oceania Team which will compete at the IAAF World Cup in Athletics in Madrid, Spain, on 20-21 September 2002.

The positions to be filled are:

Team Manager
Assistant Manager
Administration Officer
Coach Coordinator
Coach (3 positions)
Physiotherapist/Masseur (3 positions)

Anyone interested in applying for these positions should contact Mandy Robinson, International Tours Manager, Athletics Australia to obtain a form. Email: or Tel: (03) 9820-3511. Forms must be returned by 5 October 2001.
Posted at 07:23     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, September 17, 2001 


After setting a new 1500m personal best last weekend, Geelong's Craig Mottram has stamped his class once again in mile events taking out the inaugural Olympic Mile at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush yesterday.

Mottram proved too strong for a quality field edging out Kenyan Paul Bitok, who won the IAAF Grand Prix Final 3000m, and World Championships 1500m bronze medallist Driss Mazouzi from France.

Following her upset victory over Olga Yegorova at the IAAF Grand Prix Final over 3000m, Russia's Tatyana Tomashova took out the women's Olympic Mile from Britain's Kathy Butler and Australia's Benita Willis (ACT).

Results - Men. 1. Craig Mottram AUS/VIC 4:01, 2. Paul Bitok KEN 4:02, 3.Driss Mazouzi FRA 4:03, 4. Laban Rotick KEN 4:03, 5. Ben Kipkurui KEN 4:04, 6. Luke Kipkosgei KEN 4:05, 7. Mark Fountain AUS/VIC 4:06

Women. 1. Tatyana Tomasova RUS 4:31, 2. Kathy Butler GBR 4:35, 3. Benita Willis AUS/ACT 4:36, 4. Melissa Rollison AUS/QLD 4:38, 5. Sarah Schwald
USA 4:43, 6. Suzy Walsham AUS/NSW 4:48, 7. Ruth McDonnell AUS/QLD 5:04, 8. Eloise Poppett AUS/NSW 5:14.
Posted at 11:41     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, September 13, 2001 


Athletics New South Wales (ANSW) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Athletics Australia (AA) which will secure the sport's future in NSW. AA will invest more than $123,000 for 2001/02 in administration and grass roots development support for ANSW, out of more than $500,000 to be directed to Member Associations (MA) in this financial year.

This increased level of financial support has been made possible through an expanded level of corporate support including AA's new sponsorships with Telstra and New Balance and the ongoing commitment of the Australian Sports Commission, Ansett and TNT who are all committed to supporting the sport from the local to the elite level. All MA's have committed to sign MOUs with AA outlining the support structure from AA and developing national strategies and programs to be implemented by MA's at state level.

The 10 key national programs are:
1. Marketing
2. Electronic and Print Media
3. Development
4. Schools and Junior Athletics
5. High Performance
6. National Database and Information Technology
7. Membership Servicing
8. Equipment Purchase
9. Competition and Event Scheduling
10. Volunteer Base

ANSW Chief Executive Officer John Patchett said the MOU outlines a new level of financial support that will facilitate the increased development of the sport's programs at state level. "We are entering a period of strong growth that will benefit the sport's constituents across all levels. This support from Athletics Australia will greatly assist us particularly at the grass roots level enhancing the transition of athletes from Little Athletics to senior athletics." Athletics Australia Chief Executive Simon Allatson said AA has invested a record level of financial support to progress the sport at a state and local level. "We have worked hard over the past two years to attract greater corporate support, establish a new Constitution and overall national strategy for the sport. Now the strategic and financial structure is in place, Member Associations will be able to progress their programs with an unprecedented level of support from their national body."
Posted at 23:50     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, September 11, 2001 

A stroll towards travesty - Goodwill Games Mens 5000m

Some of the world's finest middle-distance runners turned their events at the Goodwill Games into a travesty at the ANZ stadium in Brisbane at the end of the 2001 Goodwill Games. First, the Olympic silver medallist Paul Bitok's winning time in the 5,000 metres, 15min 26.10sec, was so poor that six women ran faster than the Kenyan in their race.

With only seven runners in the event, all from either Kenya or Ethiopia, the games' claims to be bringing together the world's best were already in tatters but what unfolded during the 12-lap race went beyond farce and brought the sport into disrepute. To boos and catcalls, the field trailed round at little better than a jog with no pacemaker to stir things up. Even the stadium announcer playing Zorba the Greek failed to lift them out of their funereal pace until the final lap, when of course the entire field started sprinting furiously. It was covered in an extraordinarily fast 51sec, with Bitok coming out on top ahead of his team-mate Luke Kipkosgei and less than one second covering the first five men home. Bitok's time was some 14sec worse than that of Olga Yegorova, the Russian who had run 15:12.22 on Tuesday, with five women behind her also doing better than Bitok. Million Wolde, Ethiopia's Olympic champion, finished last in 15:30.51, a time he would normally do comfortably in training.

"I can't ever remember ever seeing anything quite like that," said Sebastian Coe, Britain's 1980 and 1984 Olympic 1500m champion. "I used to run quicker than that in the
Yorkshire championships."

The women's mile did nothing to lift the third day out of this self-imposed stupor, the Romanian Violeta Szekely winning after a similarly morbid pace. She outsprinted Rus sia's Tatyana Tomashova to win in 4:38.03, a long way short of what she is capable of. The men's mile at least featured a thrilling finish, with Kenya's Noah Ngeny winning by a short head from Canada's Kevin Sullivan in 3:56.64. Ngeny must love Australia. It was in Sydney a year ago that he surprisingly beat Hicham el Guerrouj to claim the Olympic 1500m title. He has hardly won a race since and was dropped from Kenya's team for the world championships in Edmonton last month after his failure to attend a training camp. "It's a nice way to finish a disappointing season," he said.
Posted at 01:30     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, September 10, 2001 

From spikes to stopwatch for AIS scholarship coach Clark

Former 400m champion Darren Clark has traded in his running spikes for a stopwatch and joined the Australian Institute of Sport as a scholarship coach. One of his technical advisers will be Esa Peltola, whose stable of runners includes Patrick Johnson and Kyle Vander Kuyp.

Clark holds the Australian 400m record (44.38sec) and is perhaps best remembered for his Commonwealth Games gold medal in 1990 and fourth placings at the Los Angeles and Seoul Olympics. He also spent a season playing rugby league for Balmain in 1991 but he has now returned to his first love athletics.

"It's something that I've always wanted to do, especially to put something back into the sport that was very good to me," he said. "I specialise in sprints but by the time this scholarship course is over, in a year's time, I'd like to have the skills to manage a wide variety of events."

As an ex-athlete, Clark believes that he can bring specialised skills to his coaching at the AIS. "The advantage of being an ex-athlete is that you get a little bit of respect from the athletes you are looking after," he said. "You can also relate to how they feel after competitions, the disappointments and the highs, and you can't beat that." Clark said that he would be scanning the country for rising talent and hoped to be able to convince some other athletes to re-locate to Canberra. "I have to take my time and ease into it and see how the system works because it is a bit of difference from being an athlete to a coach; it's probably a little bit harder in some ways," he said. "The admin side of it is something that I really want to touch up on and learn because as an athlete you don't see that much."

There hasn't been great depth in the men's 400m ranks since Clark's retirement but he said that there were several promising athletes capable of going "all the way" to an Olympic final. "It's a matter of getting them all working and singing off the same sheet of music," he said. Many Australian athletes tended to be doing diverse work under different coaches who might not have come through the system. He felt that a unified approach would allow athletes to rise to their true potential.

Posted at 12:31     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, September 04, 2001 

Two Dollars For Kids To See The World's Best Athletes

Melbourne kids have the opportunity to see the world's best athletes in action for only two dollars in a special offer for the IAAF Grand Prix Final announced by Athletics Australia today. The General Admission offer for children under the age of 16 will also provide an opportunity to meet Olympic 400m champion Cathy Freeman and World pole vault champion Dmitri Markov between 11am and 12 noon.

The IAAF Grand Prix Final is being held on Sunday 9 September at Melbourne's Olympic Park on Swan Street with names such as world record holding pole vaulter Stacy Dragila, Olympic javelin throw champion Jan Zelezny, all-time great middle distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR), Aussie girls Tatiana Grigorieva and Bronwyn Eagles and British great Colin Jackson taking part. Although not competing, Freeman and Markov will be in attendance to watch the competition and meet the crowd along with other high profile Australian athletes including Nova Peris and Kyle Vander Kuyp.

Athletics Australia Chief Executive Simon Allatson said the offer is part of AA's drive to promote the sport to the next generation. "There is no better opportunity for Melbourne and the younger generation to see the best in action plus meet many of our own stars in a great day's entertainment," he said. "Athletes like Cathy, Nova, Dmitri and Kyle are great ambassadors for the sport and have taken the time at the IAAF Grand Prix Final to thank the Melbourne public for all their support over the years."

The IAAF Grand Prix Final will commence before 12 noon (women's hammer throw from 10.30am) and run over an action-packed three hour program on Sunday 9 September at Olympic Park in Melbourne. The children's (U16) ticket offer is only available on the day of competition. Kids are encouraged to come along early to avoid disappointment. All other tickets are on sale through Ticketek on telephone 13 28 49 (Victoria residents), 1800 062 849 (Interstate) or at their website
Posted at 23:11     [Perma-Link]

Nova Peris hangs up running shoes

One of the Northern Territory's most famous athletes, Nova Peris, has retired. 30-year-old Peris won a gold medal with the Australian hockey team in Atlanta but then focussed on athletics. She has just been made an ambassador for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

Peris was the first person to carry the Sydney Olympics torch on Australian soil but she had a disappointing performance at the recent World Track and Field Championships in Canada - she has reported that she was seven weeks pregnant during the race.

"It was terribly frustrating bombing at the world championships recently because I wanted to tell everyone, 'I'm pregnant, its not my fault I ran badly'. Even my coach didn't know the truth ... the truth is that on the morning of my race I was up at 6am throwing up in the shower."

Peris has split from her husband and former manager Sean Kneebone who is the father of her 11-year-old daughter Jessica. The father of her unborn child is her new boyfriend Daniel Batman, of Melbourne. Batman is an athlete 10 years younger than Peris, but the couple plan to marry next January just before the baby is due. The couple met two years ago.
Posted at 23:03     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, September 02, 2001 

Possible Attempt on World 1500m Record In Melbourne

A city so rich in 1500m and mile running history will see arguably the greatest middle distance runner of all-time Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco attempt a world record and lucrative series prizemoney at the IAAF Grand Prix Final at Olympic Park next Sunday 9 September.

El Guerrouj yesterday confirmed his intention to compete in Melbourne's Grand Prix Final, bypassing the Goodwill Games, after winning the 2000m at the IAAF Golden League meet in Berlin in 4:51.17. His win provided him with a four-way share of the Golden League jackpot of 50kg of gold. Breaking his own world record of 3:26.00 in the 1500m in Melbourne would cap off a great season for the Moroccan who won the world title in Canada last month and backed up to nearly break the world record in Brussels nine days ago clocking 3:26.12. In that race in Brussels, rival and World Championships silver medallist Bernard Lagat from Kenya pushed him all the way to clock 3:26.34 to suggest he will also be a major force in Melbourne.

El Guerrouj is also a shot at winning the IAAF Overall Grand Prix for men which is worth US$100,000. Currently El Guerrouj has 76 points and trails leader Allen Johnson (US - 110m hurdles) by four points. A win in the 1500m in Melbourne would bring him US$50,000. A world record in the Grand Prix Final brings a further US$100,000. If he can do both of these, he will be a strong chance at the Overall Grand Prix award of US$100,000.

The 26-year-old Moroccan holds the world record for the 1500m, mile (3:43.13) and 2000m (4:44.79). At the IAAF Grand Prix Final, he will be watched by Australian 1500m/mile legends John Landy and Herb Elliott. In Melbourne, El Guerrouj will be pushed by Lagat, Olympic champion Noah Ngeny from Kenya, World Championships bronze medallist Driss Maazouzi from France and World Championships fourth placegetter William Chirchir from Kenya making it one of the best 1500m fields ever assembled.

Tickets for the IAAF Grand Prix Final at Olympic Park (Sunday 9 September) are on sale through Ticketek on telephone 13 28 49 (Victoria residents), 1800 062 849 (Interstate) or at their website Athletics Australia ackowledges the tremendous support of the State Government of Victoria in the organisation of the IAAF Grand Prix Final, and national partner Telstra. The IAAF Partners for this event include Adidas, Coca Cola, Epson, Seiko and TDK.
Posted at 23:58     [Perma-Link]

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