Some Olympic Games News Headlines are here.
IGA & Athletics Australia Team Up To Play AthleticsA new and innovative form of athletics for primary school children will be launched in Melbourne tomorrow with the Victorian Final of IGA Team Athletics. Four primary schools, St Leornards College Brighton, Ascot Vale Primary, Cheltenham Primary and Cheltenham East Primary will participate in the Victorian Final of this new program to be introduced into Australian primary schools early next year.
IGA Team Athletics is an exciting method of presenting athletics using bright, soft, easy-to-use equipment. Children involved will explore a range of new movement skills and abilities whilst being encouraged to improve performances and be rewarded for their achievements. Team Athletics is just one of the initiatives that forms part of IGA's (Independent Grocers of Australia) sponsorship of Athletics Australia's youth development programs - a sponsorship that has the umbrella theme "Play Athletics".
IGA and AA have formed a partnership to encourage more children to view athletics as a sport that everyone can take part in and have fun with. The vision is that more children will want to "Play Athletics". As an independent retailer in Australia, "Play Athletics" reflects IGA's vision for healthier communities. Team Athletics originated in England in 1976 in response to a lack of equipment and programs designed for children. Now Team Athletics services almost 400,000 children annually in the UK.
Athletics Australia Chief Executive Simon Allatson said Australia has adapted Team Athletics to encourage children to run, jump and throw while developing essential skills for their physical and social development. "Athletics is much more than competition - it is a way of life and we see it forming an integral component of a quality Health and Physical Education Program," Mr Allatson said. "Through the support of IGA, Australia has a program that promotes all-round physical development and a healthy lifestyle in children."
And the athletes agree. The face of "Play Athletics" Tatiana Grigorieva said the emphasis placed on fun and enjoyment is the key. "Whenever I have seen children playing with the equipment, they all have had a great time. It's athletics like you have never seen," Grigorieva said.
As part of a big fortnight for IGA's and AA's "Play Athletics" vision, the IGA Australian All Schools Athletics Championships will be held at Melbourne's Olympic Park from 6-9 December featuring a record number of more than 1470 young athletes.
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Australia's Leading Distance Runners On ShowOver the next fortnight, Australia's leading distance runners will be competing on the track and road with this Sunday's Olympic Dream Fun Run in Melbourne, the International Chiba Ekiden in Japan on Friday and the Telstra Zatopek Classic at Melbourne's Olympic Park on Thursday 6 December.
The Australian men's team competing in Friday's international road relay in Chiba comprises Olympian Sisay Bezabeh (ACT), Mark Thompson (VIC), Alistair Stevenson (Qld), Daniel Quin (Vic), Craig Semple (Vic) with the travelling reserve, Michael Chettle (TAS).
The women's team is Goodwill Games steeplechase gold medallist Angela Sheean (NSW), Melissa Rollison (Qld), Lisa Dick (Vic), Tania-Saree Warrick (Vic), Suzy Walsham (NSW), Susan Clark (Vic) with the travelling reserve - Erin Hargrave (NSW).
The five members of the men's team run over the marathon distance (42.195km) in legs comprising 10km, 5km, 10km, 5km and 12.195km, whereas the six women run legs of 10km, 5km, 10km, 5km, 4.195km and 7km. The travelling reserves take part in a 5000m track race on the same day in Chiba.
The Australian men's team has won the event three times and placed third last year. Australia's best team performance was in 1991 when Andrew Lloyd, Rod Higgings, Mal Norwood, Paul Arthurs and Steve Moneghetti won clocking 1 hour 58 minutes 46 seconds.
Australia's highest place finish in the women's event is third and best team performance was in 1988 when Carolyn Schuwalow, Jacki Perkins, Susan Hobson, Lindy-Jane Trezise, Maree McDonagh and Joy Terry clocked 2 hours 18 minutes 1 second.
TELSTRA ZATOPEK CLASSIC - BATTLE OF THE MOTHERS
This year's Telstra Zatopek Classic in Melbourne on Thursday 6 December could see history in the making in women's 10,000m running.
Goodwill Games 10,000m bronze medallist Susie Power, Australia's leading marathoner Kerryn McCann and Olympic representative and three-time Zatopek winner Natalie Harvey will head a strong assembly of local distance running stars.
Power has dominated the local distance scene since giving birth to her son Jai. She has won the Sydney City to Surf, Adelaide City to Bay, Burnie 10K, The Sunday Telegraph 10K Bridge Run in Sydney and New Balance Bolt in Noosa as well as her bronze medal at the Goodwill Games.
With McCann, who recently ran a near personal best of 2:26:04 in the Chicago Marathon after placing 11th in the Olympic Marathon, and Harvey in the field, the pace will be on to attempt Lisa Ondieki's Australian Record of 31:11.72 set in 1992.
Power has a p.b of 31:50.36, McCann's p.b is 31:55.94 and Harvey has a best time of 32:07.44.
If best times is an indication of the battle in the women's 10,000m then the race is set to come down to the mothers - McCann and Power. Last year another mother Sonia O'Sullivan (Ireland) took the title from fellow mother Liz Miller (NSW). Will history repeat?
Susie Power will continue her onslaught on the Australian road circuit when she contests Victoria's largest mass participation event - the Herald Sun Olympic Dream in Melbourne on Sunday.
A fast win in Sunday's Olympic Dream 10K race will give her confidence to chase Lisa Ondieki's national 10,000m record at the upcoming Telstra Zatopek Classic.
The Olympic Dream will comprise a 10K competitive run and a 6K non-competitive run with more than 10,000 people expected to compete. The run heads off from Batman Avenue near the Rod Laver arena at 8.30am and works its way around a scenic course finishing at the end of Boathouse Drive.
All participants will receive their own 'Herb Elliott medal' as they cross the line as a memento of their participation in the event.
For information contact the Race Organiser Event Wizard on phone 03 9381 4666.
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Aussie champion to recognise future championsAustralia's multiple Paralympic and Olympic gold medallist Louise Sauvage this week announced details of the 2002 Louise Sauvage 'Aspire to be a Champion' Foundation Sporting Grants program.
Sauvage who has represented Australia at three Paralympic and two Olympic Games winning a total of 11 gold and 2 silver medals established her Foundation last year. The inaugural Foundation Grant was awarded in December last year to Brett Ogden - an up and coming Quadriplegic Wheelchair Track and Road racer. "It was so exciting selecting Brett as the recipient of the inaugural grant last year. He was unaware of his nomination and to see his face when his name was announced was so rewarding for me. I have now had the opportunity to watch Brett continue his sporting development over the past 12 months," said Sauvage.
The Foundation, which is administered by the NSW Wheelchair Sports Association on behalf of Sauvage, was established with the financial commitment of the Northern Eagles Players Foundation in Season 2000/2001 and has now received financial contributions from supporters such as BONDS, Bevington & Bevington and Mosman Prep School along with individual donors.
"Sport has given me so many opportunities and a lifetime of memories. I know just how difficult it is for junior and developing athletes with a disability to find the financial support to be able to compete and perform well in their chosen sport and the Foundation enables me to give just a little bit back and hopefully contribute in a small way to assisting future Australian Champions. There is no way I could have achieved the sporting success that I have without the financial support of many individuals and organisations," said Sauvage.
Nominations are now open for individuals or teams who compete in a sport for athletes with disabilities and can be made by family, fellow athletes or sporting organisations. Those nominated must have demonstrated the aspirations and attributes to become future champions. Grants being awarded are for the year 2002 with individuals to receive $2,000 and Teams $5,000 to contribute towards the cost of competition, training expenses, equipment or travel.
Terms and conditions of nominations are available on the Foundation's website www.aspire.au.com and nominations can be made via the website or by writing to The Manager, Louise Sauvage 'Aspire to be a Champion' Foundation, PO Box 400 HARBORD NSW 2096. Nominations must be received by no later than midnight on the 27th November, 2001 and successful applicants will be announced at the NSW Wheelchair Sports Association's Annual Presentation Dinner to be held on 1st December. The presentation of Grants will be made in the recipients home town either by Louise Sauvage or her nominated representative.
Members of the public and corporate sectors can also join Sauvage as she strives to provide opportunities for future Champions by donating to the Foundation. Further information is available or donations ($2.00 or over are tax deductible) can be made via the website or sent by mail.
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Adelaide to Participate In World Run DayAdelaide is the only Australian city to participate in World Run Day, this coming Sunday, 11th November 2001. It matches Auckland as the only New Zealand city.
Entry details for both cities can be obtained from here.
Press Release from World Run Day co-ordinators follows:
New York, NY - October 29, 2001 - Like architects building a skyscraper, forty running event directors worldwide continue to erect a day: World Run Day - The Global Fitness and Charity Challenge. The November 11th event, in its third straight year at www.runday.com, again asks runners to run and donate to their own favorite charity. On-line early bird registration is provided at www.active.com for only $9.99 plus shipping and handling. Registrants are mailed the colorful event t-shirt, and instructed to post their results on the event web site. They mail their donations directly to their charity of choice.
World Trade Center-related charities are high on the minds of runners this year; but several hundred other charities need support and are listed together at the event web site.
Additionally, the "virtual runner" can once again connect with runners worldwide by running his or her own favorite course and donating any amount to a charity. Event locations as varied as Atlanta, London, Santiago, and Malta dot the landscape this year to raise money for various charities worldwide. Last year's event included less than 500 participants, prompting World Run Day creator Bill McDermott of New York to boost participation. Once a well kept secret, this year he's enjoyed collaborating with over 40 passionate event directors worldwide (since January), to host the unique event.
" This running event is the true vehicle for an international day of charity!" said McDermott, who also serves as a runner/webmaster and PR spokesperson for World Run Day. " I've also taken the liberty to highlight a brigade of rock stars who inspire this day with their music and charitable giving. We really hope they don't mind," he remarked.
As we're surrounded by new charitable events and rock performances almost weekly since the World Trade Center attack, World Run Day will quietly assume the global stage on November 11th. And as images of Sting, Eric Clapton, U2, and others tune-up their guitars for the virtual rock concert, runners are hoping for their day in the sun as well. Even the oft-badgered "bandit runner" can start a Brand New Day or Change The World on this day. They need not register, but more importantly - run and donate on
And how do runners erect a day? A foundation of creativity piled high with compassion generally works. Adding a colorful event t-shirt doesn't hurt either! Every single runner can participate in this international day of charity. Additional organizations, be they running organizations, schools, or municipalities, are requested to join 40 other event directors in the hosting of a World Run Day event. Interested parties may contact World Run Day headquarters in New York City at firstname.lastname@example.org . The website www.runday.com captures the essence of the
third annual event with explanations of purpose, charity listings, listings of group events, and inspirational music. Advertising of the event has spread worldwide by using the most respected running-related magazines on the face of the earth and financed by World Run Day.
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Freeman returns to trainingOlympic 400 metres champion Cathy Freeman returned to the training track today, ending a one-year break from athletics and turning her back on thoughts of retirement and motherhood.
"At one stage I even wanted a child, I thought I wanted a child," the she told reporters. "I thought I wanted to retire (but) I absolutely do not want to retire," the 1997 and 1999 world champion added.
Freeman, 28, admitted she was eight kilograms over her racing weight as she began preparations for the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. She opted not to defend her world title in Edmonton this year.
"I certainly have no doubts that she can get back to number one in the world," Freeman's coach Peter Fortune said, adding that one of her biggest motivating factors would be proving wrong the people who had written her off.
Freeman, probably Austalia's most prominent Aboriginal sports figure, became a symbol of reconciliation between black and white Australians when she lit the flame at the opening ceremony for last year's Sydney Olympics.
"I've become more ballsy and I'm really interested to see just how much better I can become," Freeman said. "My level of ambition has probably heightened. There's less chance of me getting burned out now." Freeman is happy to be back in training, but said she would be even more pleased when she lost some weight. "I feel and look good when I'm fit, I feel more indestructible that way," she said. "It's like getting back into a comfortable pair of slippers, I feel like I'm home again. I'm really excited at my potential and at the possibility of doing things I've never done before. Ultimately, I want to be the best in the world again. I've done it before and I think I can do it again. It won't be easy but that's why I'm doing it."
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