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 Sunday, February 29, 2004 

Chicago trips attract elite runners to national capital

The opportunity for athletes to enhance their careers in a leading international marathon has led to huge interest from elite athletes in the lead up to the 2004 New Balance Canberra Marathon.

The first Australian or NZ male and female finisher in April's annual marathon in the national capital will win a trip to the Chicago Marathon, an initiative first introduced by race sponsor New Balance in 1999. The Chicago Marathon is one of the fastest marathons in the world with the men's and women's world record times being set in that city in recent years.

New Zealander Shireen Crumpton, who last year won the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, is one of the leading female contenders who will travel to Canberra. Crumpton has narrowly missed breaking the 2 hour 40 minute barrier at the past two Gold Coast events and will be trying to emulate last year's Canberra winner, Nyla Carroll, a fellow New Zealander who ran 2:38.56 in Canberra last year, the fastest female time in Australia in 2003.

Commonwealth Games silver medalist Krishna Stanton has flagged her interest in trying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Canberra but a slow comeback from a stress fracture has reduced the likelihood of her participation. If she runs, it will be a bonus for the event.

Victorian June Petrie, third ranked Australian in 2003 after her win in a marathon in Taiwan, may be Crumpton's major threat. She recorded a personal best of 2.43.39 in Taiwan.

Other female contenders include Queenslander Helen-Verity Tolhurst, the current Australian marathon champion; Victorians Danielle Florens, second in the 2003 Melbourne Marathon; Belinda Dennett, fourth in Canberra last year; Emma Jackowski, second in Canberra in 2002; and Serena Gibbs, who will be making her marathon debut; and Sydney's Jenny Wickham, who also will be making her debut.

Three time men's winner Gemechu Woyecha will again be amongst the favourites for the men's crown but he will be challenged by members of the new "28 Racing Team", including Daniel Green, Martin Dent and Damon Harris - all of whom have run under 2 hours 21 minutes in the past two years - Erwin McRae and 2002 Australian champion Jeremey Horne. Victorians Alan Chilton and Tyler Coady, Wollongong's Rob Battocchio, Queenslander Brad Smith and Sydney's Gregory Graves and David Criniti will add plenty of depth to the race.

The New Balance Canberra Marathon will be held on Sunday 18 April. Entry forms are now available at www.canberramarathon.com.au.

Dave Cundy
RACE DIRECTOR
New Balance Canberra Marathon
26 February 2004
Posted at 18:59     [Perma-Link]

Benita Johnson off to Athens

VIS’s Benita Johnson is the first Australian on the plane to Athens, after achieving automatic qualification on day two of the Telstra Olympic Team Athletics Trials.

Pint sized Johnson won her first national title over 10000 metres, in Olympic B qualifying time, clocking 31:49.97, after already achieving the A standard at the World Championships in Paris last year. Behind Johnson were Haley McGregor in second (32:20.49) and Jackie Gallagher in third (33:40.05).

Complete article at Athletics Australia
Posted at 09:45     [Perma-Link]

Stars in eyes for Hayes, Westcott

The saying goes that success breeds success so when you've got Herb Elliott, Steve Moneghetti and even the Prime Minister in your camp, things are looking up. Especially when you're a young wannabe marathon runner.

Any time Sydneysider Shane Hayes feels he needs some direction, he can pick up the phone and ask Moneghetti or Elliott for advice. The two Olympic greats are Haye's mentors in Prime Minister John Howard's talent identification program for marathon runners.

Spurred on by his backbencher and former ultra marathon runner Pat Farmer, Mr Howard launched the mentoring program to help aspiring distance runners make the elite levels.

Note: The age has a typo - it is Shane Hayes, not Shane Hayne
Complete article at The Age
Posted at 09:40     [Perma-Link]

Moneghetti - Front-runner looks after pack

Steve Moneghetti has ruled himself out of competing in Athens, but he will play a vital role.

At 41, the marathon legend is leading our national team at the world cross-country championships in Belgium next month.
But Moneghetti has no plans to continue, instead looking forward to his demanding but exciting role as athlete liaison officer.

"I did it in Manchester at the Commonwealth Games and I was the only one and I found it really stressful and difficult because you're answerable to so many athletes," he said.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 09:23     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, February 27, 2004 

Triumphant Troop focused on marathon

The national 10,000 metres title on Thursday, Mount Bogong on Sunday. Such is Lee Troop's "twin peaks" program as he relentlessly pursues two objectives this Olympic year - to break Robert de Castella's long-standing national record in April's London marathon and to finish in the top 10 in the Olympic marathon in Athens.

The second goal is not much easier than the first: only de Castella, Troop's mentor Steve Moneghetti, Derek Clayton and Lisa Ondieki have achieved the feat. Ondieki is Australia's only Olympic marathon medallist.

Troop broke away from Andrew Letherby midway through last night's 10,000 race at the Australian championships to win by 50 metres in 28 minutes 32.43 seconds. He ran the last 15 laps with a painful stitch in his side.

Troop said he is about to start his taper towards London. He has been logging 230 to 240-kilometre weeks of training and has not been on a track since the Zatopek 10,000 last December.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 08:17     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, February 26, 2004 

Treadmill exploits set new records

ULTRA marathon runners Dave Taylor and Georgina McConnell have been officially notified that they have achieved entry into the Guinness Book of Record for their treadmill exploits at Wests Illawarra last November.
Taylor, 52, of Lake Heights, smashed the previous longest seven-day distance travelled on a treadmill, 453.85km set by Briton Rory Coleman.

Taylor stopped at 460km in four days, nine hours.

His first 48 hours on the treadmill established a new world record of 239.94km.

McConnell, 60, of Lake Conjola, set a new world record of 151.48km for the longest distance travelled on a treadmill by a female in 24 hours.

Article from the Illawarra Mercury.
Posted at 13:40     [Perma-Link]

Track master Eli shows way

By ADAM WYLEY

ELI Melky made sure he led the way in the Centralian Sports Fun Run-Walk on Saturday morning.

He was one of the few competitors who knew the course.

Melky, the president of the Alice Springs Running and Walking Club, won the event in 14min 09sec.

And not one of the almost 100 competitors got lost.

The new 2km course looped around the CBD and through Todd Mall.

Competitor and ASRWC committee member Loie Sharp said: ``Eli was a bit worried that competitors would go the wrong way, even though we had witches' hats and kids from The Dingo Pack dressed in orange marshalling jackets to mark the way.''

Competitors -- young and old, fast and slow -- made their way through the mall.

Senior competitors had to walk two laps (4km) and junior competitors ran one lap (2km).

Top form

Gayle Connell was the first woman over the line in 18min 03sec, followed by Kerry O'Neil in 18min 10sec, and Belinda Anderson in 19min 36sec.

Carolyn Chalmers was in top form taking out first place in the walking division in 27min 49sec. Gavin Breen finished second in 29min 46 sec.

Sam Page led the juniors home over the 2km loop in 7min 32sec, with second and third place going to Matthew Higgins in 8min 36sec and Ben Hopkins in 8min 45sec.

Sharp said: ``It was great to see 12 youngsters trotting around the loop. Junior ranks are ever-increasing in Alice with the success and achievements of The Dingo Pack.''

The second event in the 2/4km series will be held at 7am this Saturday.

Register at Centralian Sports before 5pm Friday or from 6.30am Saturday morning.

Competitors who enter both competitions will bein the running to win a television set to be drawn in a raffle at the end of the race.

Entry fees are $1 for juniors, $3 for members and $5 for open competitors.

Article from the Centralian Advocate
Posted at 13:37     [Perma-Link]

Energised by Running

JOHN Rynehart is a disciplined fun-runner.

Mr Rynehart, 27, has missed only two days of exercise since he began training for the Southern Health Walk-Run Classic, on Sunday March 21, hitting The Tan in the city whenever possible.

He is feeling far more energised since he began exercising regularly.

``I am running that little bit further each time, and I'm finding the going much easier when it comes to tackling the final hill around The Tan,'' Mr Rynehart said.

Changing his mental attitude towards exercise has helped him develop a disciplined-approach to fitness.

``By exercising in the morning I don't allow myself to get home after work and begin to make excuses as to why I shouldn't go for a run,'' he said.

``I'm hoping to exercise six days a week leading into the event. It might also be time to introduce some variety maybe boxing or bike riding might help to spice up my routine.

``There is little doubt I will be fitter and stronger at the end of preparing for the fun run. The challenge will be to continue with the same enthusiasm after the event is over,'' he said.

For more details on the fun run, go to www.southernhealth.org.au/2004walkrun

Article from the Waverley Gazette.
Posted at 13:36     [Perma-Link]

Deek in town for festival launch

by Craig Baxter

AUSTRALIAN marathon-running legend Robert de Castella will visit Townsville for the launch of the sixth annual BHP Billiton Townsville Running Festival next month.

Townsville Road Runners president Brian Armit said de Castella would be joined at the March 25 launch by his former coach, Pat Clohessy.

Armit said the club was delighted to have secured the attendance of the former marathon world champion and world-record holder and dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

``It's outstanding,'' Armit said. ``He's a legend and an Australian icon.''

Armit said de Castella and Clohessy would attend a breakfast function at Tobruk Pool and host an evening instructional seminar for runners of all standards.

``So many people who run as a hobby and for fitness say they'd love to have a go at a marathon, but they only ever say it when the event is on and it's too late,'' Armit said.

``This seminar will be an opportunity for people who would like to have a go at a longer distance to learn how.

``I couldn't think of anyone better to inspire you to have a go than Deek.''

The Townsville Running Festival -- incorporating the Tony Ireland Holden Townsville Marathon, adidas Townsville Half Marathon and Townsville Fun Run (10km) -- will be held on Sunday, August 1.

Armit was confident the festival would continue its recent growth.

``In 2000 we had 285 entrants in total and last year 525,'' he said.

``This year we hope to be up around the 650 mark.''

Article from the Townsville Bulletin
Posted at 13:35     [Perma-Link]

Robbie serious

ERINA long-distance runner Matthew Robbie will aim for a top-three place at the Telstra A Championships at Sydney Athletics Centre, Homebush, tonight in the under-20 5000m event.

Twelve months ago the under-20 state champion was just running for fun when he won the Ourimbah campus of Newcastle University fun run but he has now turned his attention to serious competition.

The 19-year-old, coached by Robert Beardslee at Tuggerah, has set his goals high and wants to go all the way to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in two years.

At the NSW championships two weeks ago, the enthusiastic runner won the under-20 5km run in a time of 15min 47sec and will need to get down to around 15min 13sec to be a threat for national team honours.

Article from the Daily Telegraph
Posted at 13:33     [Perma-Link]

Russell to make run for Athens

By MIKE GANDON

WOLLONGONG runner Russell Dessaix-Chin is gearing up for the most important race of his career against the cream of Australian distance running in the 10,000m Olympic trial at Homebush tomorrow night.

With Craig Mottram the only qualifier so far with a B standard time of 27 minutes 50 seconds contesting the 5000m on Saturday night, positions in the Australian Olympic team are up for grabs provided the A or B qualifying time can be achieved in the race.

The Olympic A standard is 27:49 and the B standard is 28:06 for the 10,000m.

Dessaix-Chin will be once again mixing it with a class field, similar to the one he encountered in his first grand prix meet in Melbourne last week.

There he raced over 5000m, performing strongly in an international field to record a personal best time of 14:18.91, but Mottram blitzed the field to win in 13:25.

``I was pretty happy after the race but I was also a bit disappointed with my race tactics midway through,'' Dessaix-Chin said.

``I was close to Scott (Westcott, of the ACT) at about 2km and then when he started to pull away I didn't put it on the line and try to stick with him.

``He ended up running 13:52, which was close to the 14:00 I was confident of running. But another PB, I can't complain about that I guess, I have had an awesome track season so far this year."

Dessaix-Chin will once again have Westcott to contend with tomorrow night, as well as a host of quality athletes such as Lee Troop and Andrew Letherby, who have already been chosen in the Australian Cross Country team.

Dessaix-Chin acknowledges that his chances of running an Olympic qualifier are slim, preferring to concentrate on running quickly enough for selection in the team for the World Cross Country titles in Belgium next month.

Fellow Illawarra athlete Barry Keem also was down to race tomorrow but has opted out for urgent treatment to an injured foot.

Keem will undergo a cortisone injection this week before his next big race in Rotterdam.

Article from the Illawarra Mercury
Posted at 13:30     [Perma-Link]

Olympians told to step up

The message could not be clearer for Australia's elite athletes - perform now under pressure and book a berth in the Olympic track and field team.

Excuses are out.

Athletics Australia tightened the selection criteria in the wake of last year's world championships, where Jana Pittman's stunning gold in the 400m hurdles could not obscure a substandard overall team effort.

AA chairman of selectors David Culbert said what he was looking for at the four-day trials starting tomorrow at Sydney Olympic Park could be summed up in one word - "performance".

In most instances that means a top-two finish inside the tough A qualifying standards.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 12:32     [Perma-Link]

Pittman & Johnson to miss out on Athens team - for now

World champion hurdler Jana Pittman will be missing from the Australian Olympic team when it is announced on Monday, and so will Australia's fastest man, Patrick Johnson. But that doesn't mean they won't be competing in Athens.

Injuries mean the two will be absent from this week's Olympic selection trials in Sydney, and given they have failed to race in their respective events this year, the pair will almost certainly be missing when the track-and-field team is named on Monday.

However, Pittman and Johnson have until July 4 to prove to the selectors that they deserve seats on the plane to Athens. Their credentials are clearly the best of any athletes in the country but the selectors want proof, although Pittman is the reigning 400-metre hurdles world champion.

"It's up to selectors to determine whether they will put her name forward but it's unlikely," chairman of selectors David Culbert said. "She hasn't run [in the 400m hurdles] since the world championships [in August]."

Complete article at The Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 12:28     [Perma-Link]

Athletics runs into dead end

Peter Burge is still angry. It has been more than a year since he walked away from the sport he loved to start a new life and "get a real job".

At 29, the long-jumper should have been coming into the best years of his career. Instead you'll find him on the rugby fields of Sydney in his role as fitness coach for the Australian Rugby Union's high-performance area.
Burge's story since he finished sixth on that unforgettable night at the Sydney 2000 Games, when his good friend Jai Taurima won the silver medal, is one of many that sing the same tune and end the same way, with some of our best athletes checking out after Sydney.

The Australian track and field team for Sydney numbered 86 (44 men and 42 women). The selection trials for this year's Athens Olympics begin at Homebush tomorrow, with the early forecast for team size at 40, if that.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 12:25     [Perma-Link]

Official enemy behind the lines

Nic Bideau has filled many roles in 30 years in athletics but has never been in much danger of being voted Mr Popularity by the people who run the sport.

And in so far as the average sports fan would know much about him at all, he is widely viewed as the villain who threatened to derail Cathy Freeman's Olympic dream. Now he's making waves again, a long-standing feud with officials escalating to something approaching all-out war -- although it is a curious conflict where the enemy is invited behind your own lines.

That's what Athletics Australia seems to have done by appointing Bideau as a coach to two international teams, even though he has publicly accused the board of directors of wrecking the sport and demanded they all resign.

Even chief executive Simon Allatson uses the word "bizarre" in relation to the situation.

But at least it proves Bideau commands respect for his experience and nous -- and that attracts little argument.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 12:21     [Perma-Link]

Dreams on the line as trials start

The world's fastest man for 2003 will not be competing. Nor will the best woman in the world for 2003 in the 400 metres hurdles. Patrick Johnson is out of the 100m with a season-ending hamstring injury; Jana Pittman will participate in the special women's 4 x 400m relay on Sunday, if at all.

But as Carl Lewis, the world's most famous athlete, once said of the futility of boycotts - once the gun goes off, people forget about who isn't there and start watching who is.

The 2004 Australian championships and Olympic team trials will be about winning places in the team to compete in Athens later this year and the competition for those places will assume life-or-death significance for the competitors between today and Sunday afternoon.

The rest can please themselves, or have until July 4 to see if they can clinch a spot later in the process.

Complete article at Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 12:16     [Perma-Link]

National body under microscope

Athletics Australia faces further scrutiny, with talks between it and the Australian Sports Commission over the direction of the sport to be held following this week's national championships.

An ASC source said that while the commission had regular discussions with all sports, the talks with Athletics Australia would be conducted at a senior level and would cover a broad range of issues, including athlete development, financial management of the sport, links with other bodies such as Little Athletics and participation rates, particularly in schools.

Athletics Australia chief executive Simon Allatson said last night he had no knowledge of such a meeting.

The ASC source said, "Nobody is hiding from the fact that there are big problems within the sport", confirming no date had been set for the talks.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 12:12     [Perma-Link]

Athletics Season culminates in Sydney

Australia’s track and field talent will be battling it out in Sydney this week (26th - 29th february), for the Telstra Olympic Team Athletics Trials – as they vie for selection to the 2004 Olympic Games team.

Complete article at Athletics Australia
Posted at 12:06     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, February 25, 2004 

Athletics Australia says track stars will be back

Athletics Australia says it expects to be back in the international spotlight next year.

The organisation has been criticised by several of Australia's leading athletes for the lack of world-class international athletes competing in this season's domestic athletics series. The athletes claim the lack of competition is hampering their efforts to qualify for the Athens Olympic Games.

Athletics Australia chief executive Simon Allatson says the Australian season comes at a bad time for European athletes but does not expect the trend to last. "That I don't think is going to be an ongoing situation for us," he said. "Over the next few years we'll obviously see more athletes coming down here, particularly Commonwealth Games athletes coming down here to try and get used to the Melbourne conditions before the 2006 Games.

Mr Allatson says financial constraints were not the only reason the organisation struggled to attract world-class athletes to Australia this summer. He says the timing of this year's Olympic Games made the task almost impossible.

"Clearly we didn't have the financial capacity to make the sizeable payments that attracting international athletes does require, but clearly that's not the only reason, timing did play a role," he said.

Mr Allatson says just as athletes came to Australia in the lead-up to the Sydney Games, they are opting to stay in Europe in the lead-up to the Athens Games in August. "Just about every athlete in the world wanted to come down here to acclimatise and get used to Australian conditions," he said. "That's clearly not the case in 2004 when the focus is on Europe, not down in this part of the world."
Posted at 01:39     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, February 24, 2004 

Collectors who'd give anything to be in your shoes

Kicks, sleds, sneakers or trainers - no matter what you call them, a new tribe in Sydney has set its eye on sports shoes, and is happy to fork out for the fetish.

With a firm nod towards Japanese pop culture, "sneaker freakers" search factory remainder bins, online stores and use eagle-eyed friends to find unique, "limited edition" designs.

"I'm always dealing with shoes, collecting them and giving them away," says Andy Dunne, who has a collection of more than 300 pairs of sneakers at his home in Avoca, on the Central Coast.

"I like to get my sneakers and keep them away for a couple of years, then bring them out when everyone's trashed theirs. They might be five or six years old, but suddenly everyone wants them."

A search through the online auction website eBay turned up hundreds of fanatics. By last night 20 bids had been placed on a pair of Nike Air Jordans, reputedly worn by Michael Jordan. The highest bid was $1300, with five days still to go before the auction ends.

Complete article at The Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 13:27     [Perma-Link]

Melbournians hit the track for Peter Mac

The Flemington Racecourse will open its gates to the public once again on Sunday 29 February 2004 when it hosts the Peter Mac Classic to be held around the Racecourse and Maribyrnong River.

The beer marquees have been replaced with water stations for the Peter Mac Classic Run/ Walk for Cancer and walkers and runners alike are keen to hear the starting pistol.

"We have had overwhelming support for the event so far and expect up to 2000 participants to hit the track for Peter Mac on Sunday," said Peter Mac's Manager of Community Relations and Fundraising, Michelle Trevorrow.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 12:45     [Perma-Link]

Australian World Cross Country Team Announced

Athletics Australia is pleased to announce initial selections for the Australian Team contesting the World Cross Country Championships, to be held in Brussels, Belgium 20-21st March 2004.

The team will be led by the Australian distance legend Steve Moneghetti, who’s selection means he will represent Australia in his 12th World Cross Country team. Moneghetti is an automatic selection following his win in the Australian Cross Country Championships last year.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 12:44     [Perma-Link]

Time to run for fun

GET on your running shoes and get on track for the annual Knox Community Fun Run/Walk on Labour Day, Monday, March 8.

The event is a 9km run and 5km run or walk, using the bike paths that follow the Dandenong Creek.

The event starts at Waverley Christian Fellowship, corner High St Rd and Cathies Lane, Wantirna South, at 9am for warm-up aerobics.

There are several categories people can compete in: male and female under-14, under-18, 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-plus.

Prizes include vouchers for sports shoes for the first male and female across the line in the 9km run, gym memberships for the first across the line in the 5km run and for the walkers, spot prizes.

Trophies will be awarded to winners of each category.

Entry forms are available on the website www.wcf.org.au/events or by phoning 9871 8300.

The closing date for fax/postal registrations is March 1.

Money raised through the event will go to charity. Registration on the day will include a $5 fee.

Article from the Knox News
Posted at 12:43     [Perma-Link]

Tilt at world title

GEELONG flyer Craig Mottram is one of just two Australian runners who will compete in the world indoor athletics championships in Budapest next month.

Mottram will line up in the 3000m against the world's best middle distance runners, including world 5000m champion Haile Gebreselassie.

The Ethiopian last week clocked an astonishing 7mins 29secs for the 3000m.

Mottram's national record is 7mins 37.30secs.

Mottram and 400m runner Casey Vincent are the only two Australians appearing on the track at the championships on March 8.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser
Posted at 12:38     [Perma-Link]

Mona makes a comeback

He Says it is by accident, but marathon legend Steve Moneghetti is out of retirement again.

Australia's distance-running legend will lead our national team at the world cross-country championships in Brussels next month.

It is not the first time Moneghetti, 41, has come back from retirement for a cameo appearance, but he said yesterday his reasoning was for the good of the sport. "This time I can tell you honestly, this was a complete accident," he said.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 12:37     [Perma-Link]

`Retired' Mona to lead team

by Jenny McAsey

DISTANCE running champion Steve Moneghetti just can't give the game away.

At 41 he is still as fit and fast as a whippet and will lead Australia's team to the world cross country championships in Belgium next month.

Moneghetti, a three-time Olympian who finished seventh in the 1996 Olympic marathon and 10th at the Sydney Games, officially retired from the sport in 2001.

But he has continued to train twice a day near his home in Ballarat and has lost little of the speed that made him a leader of Australian distance athletes.

He won the national cross country title last August, giving him automatic qualification for the long-course event at the world cross country titles on March 20-21.

National cross country team coach Nic Bideau said Moneghetti had never stopped running and was still committed to the sport.

``He was training with us at Falls Creek (Victoria) in January and he showed then he was not far off the best we have got,'' Bideau said.

``He says now that he probably shouldn't have announced he was retiring from the sport, but just said he was cutting back and not aspiring to compete at the same level.''

Bideau said Moneghetti could still beat most Australian distance runners, apart from young gun Craig Mottram, who holds the Australian 3000m and 5000m records.

``Steve is exceptional. He is a great talent and sadly missed. And it is a shame we haven't got a young guy coming on the rise like he was 20 years ago,'' Bideau said.

Mottram will join Moneghetti in the team for the long-course (12k) event at the world cross country titles, along with Lee Troop and Andrew Letherby.

Mottram's main event however will be the short-course race, which is on first.

Female athletes Georgie Clarke, Benita Johnson and Haley McGregor were all named to contest both the short- and long-course events in Belgium.

More athletes will be added to the cross country team after the national Olympic selection trials which begin in Sydney on Thursday.

Marion Jones' first race in Europe in nearly 18 months ended in a rare defeat.

The Olympic sprint champion was edged out by Kim Gevaert over 60m in Birmingham.

Article from The Australian
Posted at 12:35     [Perma-Link]

Mona makes comeback

by SCOTT GULLAN

HE SAYS it is by accident, but marathon legend Steve Moneghetti is out of retirement again.

Australia's distance running legend will lead our national team at the world cross-country championships in Brussels next month.

It is not the first time Moneghetti, 41, has come back from retirement for a cameo appearance, but he said yesterday his reasoning was for the good of the sport.

``This time I can tell you honestly, this was a complete accident,'' he said.

It all started when the athletics governing body only picked a skeleton team for last year's world cross-country titles.

This outraged Moneghetti who, as a result, entered the national cross-country championships in August.

Despite supposedly retiring after the Sydney Olympics, Moneghetti won the race and gained automatic selection to the world championships.

``I was really pissed off that they didn't take a 12km team (last year),'' he said. ``So I thought this is a chance to make myself available and we'll try and shore up a team in the 12km. It is really important for distance running, so I put my hand up.

``I'm out of retirement only to support the team. I'm supporting an Australian distance running team because someone needed to send a message to Athletics Australia.''

He has been surprised at just how well he was still running.

``I didn't think I would be running this well either. I am not training as hard, but I thought my performances would go down quicker than they have,'' he said.

The door could be slightly ajar for an even bigger comeback at the Athens Olympics, with Moneghetti believed to soon be running a major international marathon.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 12:33     [Perma-Link]

Moneghetti running on, but not to the Olympics

Steve Moneghetti is adamant he will not be running in the Olympic marathon in Athens later this year, despite plans to run in an April marathon that could put him in the position of being a qualified contender.

Moneghetti has been named in Australia's team to contest the world cross-country in Brussels next month. He was an automatic selection for the 12-kilometre long-course race after winning last year's national cross-country title in Melbourne.

It will be Moneghetti's 11th world cross-country team - achievement enough for a 41-year-old who is in "active retirement" - but more remarkable still if it opens the door to a fifth Olympic marathon.

Moneghetti says that door is shut and he is not letting much light through whatever chink there is, saying he does not think he will qualify for Athens and he has no intention of taking someone else's spot, even if he does.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 12:32     [Perma-Link]

Matt's hoping for a leg-up to Athens

Fearful of even tougher times ahead, Matt Shirvington will compete under an injury cloud in the 100m at the Telstra Australian athletics championships running at Homebush from Thursday through to Sunday.

The nationals double as the major Athens Olympic team selection trials. Only those who have achieved the Olympic A-standard in their event at last August's Paris world championships or at Sydney Olympic Park this week – and place first or second in the nationals – will be automatically selected.

Shirvington won five national 100m titles in a row until Patrick Johnson stopped his run last summer. Then right leg hamstring injuries stopped both men this summer. Shirvington has not competed since hurting himself in Canberra on January 31, holding out brilliant Maitland newcomer Josh Ross who appears to be his main rival for the national title.

Complete article at The Daily Telegraph
Posted at 12:28     [Perma-Link]

Athletes rue lack of top competition

Australia's leading athletes say they are struggling to achieve qualifying times for the Athens Olympics because of a lack of world-class opposition this summer.

Sprinter Lauren Hewitt, distance runner Craig Mottram and hurdler Kyle Vander Kuyp have criticised Athletics Australia (AA) for not bringing international athletes out for the domestic series.

Hewitt says a high level of competition is needed to push Australia's athletes to perform.

"We've been used to having some international competition come out to Australia and they really did enjoy coming out here, and unfortunately they haven't actually worked hard to get these athletes coming back out here," she said.

Complete article at The ABC
Posted at 12:22     [Perma-Link]

Running, the best therapy

Ultra-marathon runner Michael Grayling was 22 when doctors told him he had six weeks to live.

The Heathmont man had testicular cancer which spread to his lymphatic system and that year his body almost shut down as he endured "11 months of hell".

His weight plummeted to around 40 kilograms and seven months have been wiped from his memory as he was reduced to a coma-like state. More than two decades later the photographic technician has participated in 61 Relay For Life events and in the past five years, raised thousands of dollars for cancer research.

Michael is also race director of the Bogong to Hotham - an arduous mountain race in the Victorian Alps.

Complete article at the Warrnambool Standard
Posted at 12:18     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, February 23, 2004 

Cross-country crusade

Three Geelong athletes will head the Australian chase for a first cross-country medal at the world championships in Brussels, Belgium, next month.

Lee Troop, Craig Mottram and Georgie Clarke have been named in an initial 11-strong team to take on the world's best on a grass-covered, undulating 2km circuit in a prelude to the Athens Olympics.

Mottram will join Troop and Steve Moneghetti in the men's 12km long course and said he was on track to better his fifth placing at the 2002 championships in the 6km short course.

"Australia's never won a medal there and it would be great to bring one back,'' Mottram said yesterday.

Complete article at Geelong Info
Posted at 08:54     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, February 20, 2004 

Bideau tirade at AA board

Prominent coach and manager Nic Bideau has turned up the heat on the troubled Australian track and field administration by demanding the board of directors resigns.

In a stinging letter to Athletics Australia chairman Andrew Forrest and board members, Bideau says the way the domestic meetings have been run this season -- in an Olympic year -- "cannot be accepted". He also claims the season has been so poorly organised that it will "most certainly" cost some athletes the chance to go to Athens.

"We feel that if this is the very best the board of AA can lead us to, then in fairness to the athletes, these people should step aside and allow other people who may be better equipped to lead the way to the all-important 2006 Commonwealth Games and beyond to accept this responsibility," the letter says.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 07:58     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, February 19, 2004 

Powerbar to Help race Directors/ Training Groups

A message from Powerbar:
"PowerBar® offers superior nutrition based on proven sports science - our products have been conceived and developed by athletes and scientists to be convenient and balanced sources of energy and appropriate nutrition to help active people perform at their best.

Our current sponsorship plan focuses largely on three core sports - one of which is the sport of running.

As a result of a recent product sampling review, we have PowerBar product available to help support upcoming running events across the months of March, April & May.
"

If you are a race director of an event that will be held during February, March or April, or the organiser of large (20+) training sessions and would like FREE! Powerbars, then please email info@coolrunning.com.au with your contact details. If your event is listed in the CoolRunning Calendar or Clubs listings, we will forward to our contact at Powerbar.

More information on Powerbar is available from their website at www.powerbar.com.au
Posted at 00:56     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, February 18, 2004 

Strickland left 'indelible mark'

Shirley Strickland de la Hunty left an indelible mark on the Australian athletics scene according to Olympic great Herb Elliott.

Complete article at news.com.au
Posted at 23:57     [Perma-Link]

Shirley Strickland - a True Icon

The death of Australian Olympic great Shirley Strickland de la Hunty was the passing of an Australian icon, former Olympic teammate Marjorie Jackson-Nelson said.

Jackson-Nelson, who won gold in the 100 metres and 200 metres at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, and is now South Australian Governor, said De la Hunty's feats were inspiring.

"I think it's sad to hear about the passing of someone who was a true amateur," she said on Tuesday. "I know it happens to all of us, but she was a true Australian icon."

Complete article at The Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 23:56     [Perma-Link]

Self Transcendence Running & Fitness festival, Melbourne

The date of the Self Transcendence Running & Fitness festival in Williamstown, Victoria has been moved from 30th May to the new date of Sunday 16th May 2004. All other details are unchanged. No reason has been given for the change.
Posted at 23:51     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, February 17, 2004 

Athletics legend Shirley Strickland dies

Australian sport is in mourning after the death of Shirley Strickland de la Hunty, one of the nation's track greats. As Shirley Strickland, she won more Olympic medals than any other Australian athlete - three gold, a silver and three bronze - in a career which spanned three Olympics. Strickland also won three gold and two silver medals at Empire Games, the forerunners to the Commonwealth Games.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) announced that Strickland de la Hunty died today in Perth, aged 78.

"Shirley was a legend of the track, one of our greatest-ever Olympians," Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said today. "We extend our deepest sympathy to Shirley's family," he added. "When she finished running, Shirley made a significant contribution to sport as a coach and an administrator."

Strickland's Olympic career began in 1948 in London where she won bronze medals in both the 100 metres and the 80 metres hurdles and a silver in the 4x100 metres sprint relay. She won her first Olympic gold in the hurdles four years later in Helsinki, adding a bronze in the 100 metres. Strickland took time out from athletics to have a baby in 1955 but returned to her best form a year later.

At the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, Strickland became the first female athlete in history to retain her Olympic crown when she again won gold in the hurdles. She also won gold in the sprint relay in Melbourne.

Strickland featured in the opening ceremony at the Sydney Games in 2000 as part of a parade of great female athletes who carried the torch inside the Olympic Stadium.

After retiring from competitive sport, she worked as an assistant manager with the Australian Olympic team and taught maths at schools, before lecturing at university.

West Australian Olympic Council executive director Tania Sullivan says Strickland would have wanted to be remembered for her strong commitment to the community. "The environment, education, her contribution to the Olympic movement and finally her Olympic achievements - she was a very genuine and a very humble lady," she said.

Strickland is survived by four children and 15 grandchildren.
Posted at 19:10     [Perma-Link]

Johnson beats Tulu for Chiba hat-trick

by Len Johnson

Benita Johnson yesterday won the Chiba International cross-country race for the third year in a row. In terms of whom she beat, it was easily the biggest of the three victories.
The Australian, who travelled to Japan after winning the 5000 metres at the Melbourne Track Classic last Thursday night, pulled away from dual Olympic 10,000 champion and triple world cross-country champion Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia in the last 1000 metres to win by almost 100 metres.

The victory augurs well both for Johnson's chances in next month's world cross-country in Brussels, where she will run the long-course race (eight kilometres) for the first time, and the Olympics later in the year, when her primary goal is the 10,000.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:05     [Perma-Link]

Kids Marathon gets support from World Champion

Former world triathlon champion and 2002 Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist Jackie Gallagher has thrown her support behind the inaugural Kids Marathon, to be held in conjunction with the annual New Balance Canberra Marathon on Sunday 18 April.

The Kids Marathon is a new concept where young people will run the first 40km of the marathon distance in small increments over as many as ten weeks leading up to the Canberra Marathon, then on race day they will complete the final 2.195km of the marathon journey along the real marathon route.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 12:58     [Perma-Link]

Johnson beats African great

by Jenny McAsey

AUSTRALIA's premier female distance runner Benita Johnson claimed the prized scalp of dual Olympic champion Derartu Tulu in a race in Japan yesterday.

Johnson easily beat Tulu, who won Olympic 10,000m gold medals in 1992 and 2000, over a 6km cross-country course in Chiba.

The quietly spoken Johnson, 24, is not easily excited. But her coach, Nic Bideau, said she was elated to have finally beaten Tulu, the Ethiopian considered one of the greatest distance runners.

Johnson led all the way and won by nearly 100m in 18min 38sec. The victory indicates she is a strong chance to win a medal in the 8km event at the world cross-country championships in Brussels on March 20-21.

Bideau said he believed only one person -- England's Paula Radcliffe -- was capable of beating Johnson at the moment.

``Benita is on track to medal at the world cross-country,'' Bideau said.

``She has been fourth, fifth and sixth in previous years so she is always a contender, but this year we have targeted the (8km). She is just getting better and better.''

Johnson has qualified for the world indoor championships in Budapest on March 6-7 but won't compete there, concentrating instead on the cross-country race.

Her training partner, Craig Mottram, is likely to run at both championships. Athletics Australia will this week announce a small team, consisting of six to eight athletes, for the world indoor championships.

Dmitri Markov, world champion pole vaulter in 2001, will be in the team. He will be joined in the event by either Paul Burgess or Viktor Chistiakov.

The pair vaulted at the WA state championships in Perth late yesterday with the agreement that the one who jumped higher would win a berth to Budapest.

Others expected to be named on the team include in-form 400m runner Casey Vincent, Mottram, triple jumper Andrew Murphy and long jumper Bronwyn Thompson.

Article from The Australian
Posted at 12:57     [Perma-Link]

Novice Training Group for the Canberra Half Marathon

The ACT Cross-Country Club is planning to conduct a Novice Training Group for the Canberra Half Marathon which will be held on 23rd May 2004. The training group will commence training on 20th March after an information night on Wednesday 17th March.

More details on the information night and a registration flyer will be available at the end of this week (20th Feb). Details will also be available on the ACT Cross Country Club website www.canberrarunner.com.au

Runners who may be interested in a training group are requested to contact myself.

Thank you,

Ken Eynon kene@incanberra.com.au
For ACTCCC
Posted at 01:04     [Perma-Link]

Heat and long delays await our Athens Olympians

It will be easily the biggest team to leave Australia and its members will be heading for a weather hot spot and the most security-conscious Olympic Games in history.

The Australian Olympic Committee chairman, John Coates, has revealed that latest indications point to a team of 475 athletes for the Athens Games, which begin on August 13, assisted by about 300 support personnel, including 123 coaches and 68 medical staff.

It will be our second-biggest Olympic team, exceeded only by the 630 who competed in Sydney four years ago when Australia had automatic qualification to all events. The AOC sent 292 athletes to Barcelona in 1992 and 424 to Atlanta in 1996. Australia finished fourth on the medal table in Sydney, and Coates said the aim was for another top-five finish in Greece.

Global unease about terrorism has put the Athens organisers and the AOC into security overdrive. The Greeks are spending $1 billion ($300 million was the budget for Sydney) on security, including mobilising 10,000 troops and taking expert advice from Australia, the US and Israel.

Complete article at The Sydney Morning Herlad
Posted at 00:02     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, February 15, 2004 

Lewis hoping to run from the bottom to the top

Does Tamsyn Lewis's bum look big in this? This is not a loaded question and the answer had better be yes.

The 800-metre runner told The Sunday Age several months ago she was desperate to increase the size of her bottom.

And now, through hard work and good eating, she has done it. Lewis hopes that the strength of her bigger butt will lead her to faster times.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 18:59     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, February 14, 2004 

Melbourne Grand Prix may lose top ranking

Six years ago the Melbourne grand prix was a big show, boasting the likes of US sprint queen Marion Jones and one-time 5000m and steeplechase world record-holder Moses Kiptanui.

A year later the great Namibian 200m runner Frankie Fredericks set an Australian all-comers record of 19.92sec at Melbourne's Olympic Park track.

In 2000, Kenyan Noah Ngeny, who went on to win the 1500m gold medal at the Sydney Olympics, was a featured athlete.

The Melbourne meet has long been Australia's premier event on the domestic calendar, earning the coveted Grand Prix II status from the International Association of Athletics Federations.

But tonight, when the annual meet returns to Olympic Park, the event's prized international status which confers extra international rankings points for athletes as well as credibility for Athletics Australia is being questioned.

The IAAF is likely to conduct a thorough review this year to assess whether the event is meeting the required standards.

Respected local athletics official, Brian Roe, has been appointed as the IAAF's technical delegate to scrutinise the meet and report back to the organisation's Monaco headquarters.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 09:25     [Perma-Link]

Athletes up in arms over Melbourne Telstra A Series

High-level angst is brewing over the performance of the board of Athletics Australia after a crowd of just 3500 attended the Melbourne A Series meet on Thursday night.

The annual Olympic Park competition has been the showcase event on the domestic calendar for the past 10 years and has featured some of the world's best athletes, including sprint supremo Marion Jones.

This week, the international athletes taking part were mainly from New Zealand and Tanzania and there were no high-profile overseas names to draw crowds and provide strong competition for aspiring local athletes.

In some events, the fields brought together by AA were embarrassing for a meet that has been given the coveted Grand Prix II status by the sport's international governing body, the IAAF.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 09:05     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, February 13, 2004 

Injuries take shine away

by Scott Gullan

A FORMER Australian head coach once said about Cathy Freeman's importance to our Olympic team: If Cathy Freeman catches a cold, athletics gets pneumonia.

For the past two Olympic Games, Freeman was it as far as medal expectations went.

In Sydney, thankfully, long jumper Jai Taurima and pole vaulter Tatiana Grigorieva produced lifetime best performances to win silver medals. Four years on, two of those are gone and the third, Grigorieva, has had a frustrating battle with injury and is a long way from her best.

Luckily for new head coach Keith Connor, he has another Freeman . . . Jana Pittman has slipped straight into the void left by her idol.

Her stunning performance in winning the world 400m hurdles championship in Paris last year ensured the 21-year-old would start favourite in Athens provided she overcomes recent injury concerns.

While there is a small bunch of possible Taurimas, the depth and size of Australia's assault on Athens is way down compared with four years ago. After Sydney, we lost 41 of our team of 86 athletes to retirement. At best, our Athens squad will number 40. The field is where we are most likely to pick up another medal.

Pole vaulter Dmitri Markov has finished in the top six at the past two Olympics and ended 2003 ranked No. 3 in the world. A major positive for the former world champion is he has started the Australian season injury-free and is in great form.

Shot-putter Justin Anlezark is the other big chance after producing a career day out in Paris, finishing fourth.

In women's field events, long jumper Bronwyn Thompson finished No. 10 in the world last year and should be a certain finalist.

On the track, distance pair Craig Mottram and Benita Johnson are easily our two best. Both are young and on a rapid rise but the problem they face is their event, the 5000m, is the toughest going around given the number of brilliant Africans they face.

The unknown is Patrick Johnson who is carrying a hamstring injury. He finished last year as the fastest man on the planet and if he can reproduce that 9.93sec 100m performance then he'll win a medal.

The selection trials are in Sydney from February 26-29.

Article from the Courier Mail
Posted at 11:31     [Perma-Link]

Legend's words of wisdom inspire Mottram but not enough

by Len Johnson

A letter from distance great Ron Clarke provided inspiration for Craig Mottram in his 5000 metres race at the Melbourne Track Classic last night but it could not push him to his goal of a national record.
Running on his own after the first five laps, Mottram could not achieve the required pace. He won by more than 100 metres in 13 minutes, 25.77 seconds but missed all his goals, the first of which had been to better his record of 13:12.04.

``I felt good for five laps behind Clinton [Mackevicius , the pacemaker], but as soon as he pulled out I felt it get harder,'' Mottram said.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald website
Posted at 11:16     [Perma-Link]

Mottram up in slow time

A DISAPPOINTED Craig Mottram was unable to deliver on a pledge to smash his own national 5000m record last night but still scored a convincing victory at the A-Series meet at Melbourne's Olympic Park.

Mottram received a letter of encouragement from Australian distance-running legend Ron Clarke yesterday morning, stressing that the fourth kilometre was the most crucial one in any 5000m race.

Ironically, that was where Mottram ran out of steam last night as he clocked 13mins 25.97secs, more than 13 seconds outside the Australian record he set two years ago.

Queenslander Andrew Letherby was second in 13:45.23.

``That was slower than we would have liked but it was a hard hit-out,'' said Mottram, who claimed in the lead-up that the 13-minute barrier was not out of the question.

``I felt really good for the first five laps when I was following (pacemaker Clinton Mackevicius) and as soon as he pulled out it was always going to be a long run from there.

``I just didn't have it and I'm disappointed but the big goal is Athens in August.''

It was a big night for Nick Bideau's stable of athletes, with world championships finalist Benita Johnson winning the women's 5000m in 15:23.68 and Alastair Stevenson and Georgie Clarke claiming the 1500m races.

Stevenson's time of 3:37.49 was his second personal best in the space of nine days and put him right in the frame for a spot in the Athens squad.

Article from the Townsville Bulletin
Posted at 11:11     [Perma-Link]

Athletes rally with Athens in mind

by AUSTRALIA'S track and field hopefuls can smell the Olympics getting closer. With the selection trials just two weeks away a number of the new breed posted personal best performances in Melbourne last night, reflecting their determination to win a berth on the team to Athens.

Casey Vincent (400m) was dominant, edging closer to breaking the 45-second barrier that would put him in medal contention in Athens. He recorded a personal best of 45.30sec -- his third Olympic A qualifier in three weeks.

``I'm happy to PB but I want to go under 45sec. When I do that you'll see me doing handstands around the track,'' Vincent said after running in front of his home-town crowd at Olympic Park. ``I'm ready to go 44sec and that would put me right up there at the Olympics.''

But for the second successive competition the best performance came from a javelin thrower. Oliver Dziubak, a virtually unknown athlete from Western Australia, emerged from obscurity to break his previous best by a massive seven metres, recording an Olympic A qualifier of 82.79m.

It is certainly catching among the javelin fraternity. In Canberra, NSW-based Will Hamlyn-Harris smashed his personal best by 4m.

Two weeks ago it looked like Australia might not send a javelin thrower to Athens. Now two young athletes have put the selectors on notice that they intend to be on the plane to the Olympics. That put a smile on the face of Athletics Australia head coach Keith Connor last night.

``Now we're starting to see some good performances coming through,'' Connor said.

Alistair Stevenson (1500m) was the third young athlete to beat his previous best performance. Stevenson staged a tense duel with Youcef Abdi before surging in the home straight to win in 3min.37.49s and raise hopes that he can qualify for Athens.

But it wasn't just a night for the young guns. Commonwealth champion shot putter Justin Anlezark risked serious injury by competing but defied the pain of an injured finger to record a world-class throw of 20.49m.

He then promptly put his shot back in his kit bag and retired for the night.

``Tonight I wanted to psychologically prove to myself that if I am injured and if I go to the Olympics and something happens -- touch wood -- then I can still perform with a sore finger or whatever. I could have done more damage if the shot slid onto that finger, but it was good to do it.''

Long jumper Bronwyn Thompson continued her good form at the Olympic Park track when she leapt to her first Olympic A qualifer.

She won the event last night with a jump of 6.72m, in the same pit where she set a national record of 7m two years ago.

New sprint sensation Joshua Ross is not running slick times but proved he has the mental strength to handle the pressure of competition.

In the absence of Matt Shirvington and Patrick Johnson through injury, Ross grabbed the opportunity and won the 100m, 200m sprint double. It was his first 100m win on the domestic circuit, doing so in 10.65sec. He won the 200m in 20.87sec ahead of Adam Miler.

Georgie Clarke ran the fastest 1500m by an Australian this season but more importantly it was her best performance since 2000, when she emerged as a teenage distance running prodigy and made the Sydney Olympic team.

The diminutive Clarke wasn't making any predictions last night but was ecstatic to finally be running near her best again after a three-year battle with a range of injuries and bone problems common to young distance runners as their bodies mature.

``I'm coming back. I had a lot of problems and I struggled for a while there but I think it was the usual teenage blues that everyone goes through,'' said Clarke, 19.
Jenny McAsey

Article from The Australian
Posted at 11:10     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, February 12, 2004 

Is this man value for money?

by SCOTT GULLAN

"He doesn't even speak to me.'' said National 800m champion Tamsyn Lewis.

"When we were over in Europe, he didn't come to say hello to us once. We were sitting in the same room having breakfast and nothing.'' said National 5000m champion Craig Mottram.

The man they are both talking about is national distance coach Said Aouita. The man who 18 months ago was appointed, to much fanfare, as the saviour of the sport in Australia; the guru to guide the likes of Lewis and Mottram to Olympic success.

Instead, Aouita's appointment has only served to divide the sport at a time when it was already on its knees. The distance-running fraternity has been reduced to an us-against-them mentality. Athletics Australia and head coach Keith Connor are sticking by their man, pointing the finger at athletes and coaches for not embracing the great Moroccan.

It has even become a NSW-Victoria issue with Aouita and Connor claiming the most resistance has come from the likes of Melbourne-based Nick Bideau, the coach of Mottram and the star of the women's ranks, Benita Johnson.

Whatever slant you take, it is questionable what AA has got from its $100-$150,000-a-year investment.

At the Olympic trials in Sydney in two weeks, only four athletes -- Suzy Walsham, Emily Morris, Melissa Rollison and Debbie Savage -- will be competing under the Aouita banner.

Many -- including Commonwealth Games medallist Youcef Abdi and Susie and Michael Power -- have tried his program, only to have moved on after a couple of months.

He has had several funded camps overseas in South Africa, Arizona and Mexico for his own handful of athletes, while others have had to make do with a drive up to the mountains and Falls Creek. Many coaches who agreed to adopt his strategies, based around more short work than the traditional miles-in-the-legs theories, have now dropped off, including many from NSW.

Bideau said rather than be a consultant as everyone understood would be his role, Aouita arrived and simply wanted to take over coaching the best athletes.

"We figured the national distance-running coach should be there to support, encourage, assist, arrange things, communicate and liaise,'' he said. "His view of it is he is going to coach the best runners and come up with a training program that everyone is going to follow. When he was told that we had our own system, he just basically said, 'OK, it's us against them'.''

Communication has been the major sticking point. There are several examples of athletes having spoken only once, if that, to Aouita.

"It's frustrating,'' Mottram said. "When I was injured (for seven months), I didn't hear from him once. So you just have to look after yourself, do what's best for me.''

Lewis, who is meeting with Connor and Aouita after tonight's Melbourne Track Classic, described the situation as "ridiculous''. "I was injured in Paris (last year's world championships) and I haven't heard from him,'' she said.

AA chief executive Simon Allatson yesterday admitted to being concerned about several issues surrounding his national distance coach. "He was brought in to offer an alternative view and it has been a major disappointment that he hasn't been embraced,'' he said.

THE AOUITA FILE

AS AN ATHLETE

1984 Olympic gold 5000m

1988 Olympic bronze 800m

World records in 1500m, 2000m, 3000m, two miles and 5000m

1987 5000 world champion



AS A COACH

Coached Olympic gold medallists Brahim Boutayeb (Morocco, 1988 10,000m), Khalid Skah (Morocco, 1992 10,000m); Venuste Niyongabo (Burundi, 1996 5000m).

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 13:33     [Perma-Link]

Spat adds spice to distance races

by Len Johnson

With Jana Pittman and new javelin star William Hamlyn-Harris injured and shot putter Justin Anlezark nursing a sore middle-finger on his throwing hand, the spotlight of tonight's Melbourne Track Classic could swing back to an Olympic Park tradition - middle and long-distance running.
Fortunately, the prospects in the longer track events look tantalising - and that was before the radio tit-for-tat between 800 metres runner Tamsyn Lewis and Athletics Australia head coach Keith Connor this week over the role of national distance coach Said Aouita.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:32     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, February 11, 2004 

Dessaix-Chin rarin' to take on the best

By MIKE GANDON

WOLLONGONG distance runner Russell Dessaix-Chin will compete in the men's 5000m race at the Melbourne Telstra A-Series meet on Thursday night.
Dessaix-Chin completed a perfect lead-in to this prestigious event by running two 1500m races at the state championships in 40 degree heat at Homebush on the weekend.

He ran a personal best time of 3min53.09sec in the final where he finished seventh and also ran a 3:53 in his heat.

``My coach Ken Green was very happy with my performance in the 1500m at state so I'm looking forward to the 10,000m in Melbourne,'' Dessaix-Chin said yesterday.

This will be the biggest event of Dessaix-Chin's elite running career.

He will be racing the likes of 3000m World Cup winner and Australian record holder Craig Mottram, as well as many of Australia's finest distance runners, some of whom are vying for selection in this year's Olympics.

Victorian athlete Mark Tucker is also down to race, and will put up a strong challenge at the front of the pack, having run the fastest 5000m in Australia in the past six months.

Also competing will be some of the Tanzanians who have been training in Australia for the past year.

Dessaix-Chin is feeling confident about his chances of running a significant personal best time in the race, as he has had a dream start to the summer track season.

A week after arriving back in Wollongong from an elite distance running altitude camp in Falls Creek, Victoria, he competed in an invitational 1500m race in Sydney and ran a personal best time, smashing his old mark by seven seconds.

This was followed up by a solid third place in the NSW 5000m championships two weeks ago, in his fastest 5km time ever of 14:26.

After the Melbourne race Dessaix-Chin will have two weeks of light training in preparation for the Olympic trials in Sydney this month where he hopes to run quick enough in the 10,000m to put him in line for selection in the Australian team to compete at the world cross country championships in Belgium at the end of March.

Article from the Illawarra Mercury
Posted at 17:37     [Perma-Link]

Pittman out of Olympic trials

World champion 400m hurdler Jana Pittman will not be able to compete at the Olympic selection trials after injuring her thigh in a training run last week.

Pittman last night was diagnosed with a strained quadriceps muscle in her right leg and advised not to race for at least three weeks. The national track and field championships, which double as the trials, will be held in Sydney from February 26-29.

Pittman said last night she was upset and frustrated but confident the setback would not affect Olympic selection or long-term preparation for the Athens Games in August.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 03:38     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, February 07, 2004 

Culbert: throw caution to the wind

Athletics Australia's chairman of selectors David Culbert has encouraged Olympic hopefuls to follow the lead of 1500m runner Alastair Stevenson and lay it on the line at next week's Telstra-A Melbourne Grand Prix.

With the Olympic trials just three weeks away, Thursday night's IAAF meeting at Olympic Park is one of the last chances for athletes to clinch a qualifying time for Athens.

Stevenson and his coach Nick Bideau have informed the selectors that they will be making an all-or-nothing assault on the A-qualifying time of 3min 36.20sec.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 13:32     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, February 06, 2004 

Stevenson beaten by the wind

by Emily Power

COLD and blustery conditions at Olympic Park last night foiled national 1500m champion Alastair Stevenson's first bid for a place in the Athens Olympic team.

Australia's finest middle-distance runner Craig Mottram punished himself for his mate and training partner, helping Stevenson clock 3min 38.83sec, 0.83sec outside the Olympic B qualifying time.

The invitation-only race, part of the State League competition, was the first 1500m event Mottram had run in more than two years.

A 5000m Olympian, Mottram faded in the final 300m, leaving Stevenson to chase the qualifying time alone in the home straight.

Mottram finished eighth in his heat of the 5000m in Sydney 2000, and has been conditioning himself for his pet event with coach Nick Bideau at Falls Creek.

``That's the first 1500m I've run in 2 1/2 years,'' Mottram said.

``I've just come off five weeks of altitude, doing a lot of longer miles, and that was a bit of a shock to the system, but it was well timed and well executed.''

Stevenson will continue his push for an Olympic 1500m berth in the Telstra A- Series meeting at Olympic Park tomorrow week, but he will have to improve on his time without Mottram's presence to spur him.

Mottram is the only Australian to qualify automatically for the 5000m at Athens, and he will be focusing on fine-tuning himself for the distance at the A-Series meeting.

Stevenson has until the end of July to run the Olympic A qualifying time of 3min 36.20sec.

Victoria's Georgie Clarke won the 1500m women's event from Benita Johnson and Hayley McGregor.

Johnson filled a similar role for Clarke as Mottram did for Stevenson, but the 19-year-old Clarke couldn't lift, running 4min 12.22sec, almost seven seconds outside the Olympic qualifying time.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 14:08     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, February 04, 2004 

1500 state league races a highlight

THE duel between World Cup 3000m champion Craig Mottam and Australian 1500m champion Alastair Stevenson in an invitation 1500m race conducted the Athletics Victoria State League finals (Tuesday 3rd February) provided the highlight of the night.

Mottram, undefeated in Australia since February 2002, ran aggressively for the first 3 laps of the race to assist Stevenson in a bid to achieve the Olympic A qualifying time (3:36.20), and in the process left himself vulnerable to defeat.

Simon Lewin led the first 700m to set up a 1.55 first 800m with Mottram being tagged by Stevenson. Another lap in 58sec had the pair at 1200m in 2.54.06 and the Olympic qualifying time looking likely.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 17:31     [Perma-Link]

Stevenson's best is short of passage to Athens

By Len Johnson

Alistair Stevenson got a personal best but missed the Olympic qualifying time he was seeking in a 1500 metres race at Olympic Park last night.

Competing in an invitation race at the Athletics Victoria State League finals, Stevenson was paced first by Simon Lewin and then by his training mate Craig Mottram.

Stevenson was on target when he passed through 1200 metres in two minutes 54 seconds. But the pace of that lap had already dropped a fraction and when the pair struggled to keep it going over the next 100 metres the chance of a qualifying time passed.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 17:19     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, February 03, 2004 

Brighton Bay Run/Walk - Sunday 15 February 2004, 8 am

The scenic views from Brighton's Beach Road will provide the perfect backdrop for more than a thousand runners and walkers taking part in the 2004 Brighton Bay Run/walk.

The Brighton Bay Run is a 5 and 10 km run and a 7 km walk to be held on Sunday 15 February at 8.00 am.

Held on a fast flat course that starts and finishes at the Trevor Barker oval in Sandringham, the Brighton Bay run is a great summer event for runners looking at setting a new personal best or for general fitness and health enthusiasts to enjoy an active Sunday morning among the luxurious seaside landscapes in Brighton.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 13:08     [Perma-Link]

Runner needs Athens miracle

by JAY CLARK

GEELONG distance runner Mark Tucker has suffered a huge setback in his quest to qualify for the Athens Olympics in August.

Racing in the 3000 metre event at the weekend's Telstra A-Series in Canberra, Tucker pulled out of his race with one kilometre to go after being passed by a group of eight runners.

The 5000 metre specialist said he was not injured but was simply struggling for motivation.

``It was more of a pride thing,'' Tucker said yesterday.

``I led early but after I was passed I just made a split-second decision to step off the track.

``I wasn't feeling good physically or mentally.''

The disappointing result couldn't come at a worse time for the 24-year-old, who must shave a further 12 seconds off his 5000m personal best time of 13:21 to qualify for Athens.

``It's going to take an absolute miracle or an amazing turnaround (to qualify),'' he said.

``Everything will have to go right from here on in.''

Tucker said he has been frustrated with his form for the past three weeks and was considering consulting a sports psychologist to help him get back on track.

Fellow locals Richard Jeremiah and Rowan Louis finished well off the pace in the same race.

Jeremiah crossed the line five seconds slower than his personal best in 8:08.03 while Louis finished well back in 8:57.39.

Meanwhile, Highton wheelchair athlete Richard Colman finished fifth in the 100m, fifth in the 200m, fourth in the 400m and eighth in the 1500m.

The consistent performance comes on the back of an exceptional showing at the ``Summer Down Under'' carnival in Sydney, where he qualified for the Athens Paralympics with a 200m time half a second outside the world record.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser
Posted at 13:06     [Perma-Link]

800m and 1500m Too Tough

Georgie Clarke has slammed the International Associations of Athletics Federations, saying the women's Olympic 800m and 1500m qualifying times are unrealistic. Clarke's comments come on the back of her fifth placing in the women's 800m event at the Telstra A-Series meet in Canberra on the weekend.

Clarke clocked 2:06.36, six seconds outside the Athens qualifying time of two minutes flat, which she described, like the 1500m time, as way too tough.

"They (Athens qualifying times) are a lot tougher than Sydney,'' Clarke said yesterday. "For Athens we have to run three seconds faster than Sydney, which doesn't sound like much but over 1500 metres it's huge. Basically we have to set Australian records to qualify,'' she said.

Athletics Australia chairman of selectors Dave Culbert sympathised with Clarke but said all Olympic sports were feeling the pinch of stringent qualifying requirements.

"The track event qualifiers are very, very tough but part of the reason is because there are greater restrictions on the numbers of athletes competing at Athens,'' he said. "And it's not just athletics, it's all sports because there is only so much infrastructure to support the athletes. Sydney was bursting at the seams,'' he said.

No Australian woman has yet qualified for the 1500m, with less than a month to go before the national championships in Sydney.

Complete article at Geelong Info
Posted at 00:16     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, February 01, 2004 

Highlights of Canberra Telstra A-Series

Athletics Australia has a good roundup of both Day one and Day two competitions.
Posted at 14:47     [Perma-Link]

Athletics limps into Olympic year

AUSTRALIAN athletics is in trouble, with the domestic season looming as an inadequate lead-up to the Athens Olympics.

The A-series competition is being run at modest venues with a handful of spectators, lacks international competitors and is without television coverage. We also have the situation where Australia's 800m queen Tamsyn Lewis has not had contact with national middle-distance coach Said Aouita. Lewis is being coached by Sebastian Coe, while Aouita is coaching Debbie Savage and Suzy Walsham.

The problems begin with the fact that Athletics Australia has no money to import international athletes our athletes abroad for vital competition. The lack of sponsors, apart from Telstra, is a genuine concern

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 14:39     [Perma-Link]

Relieved Pittman returns to track

Jana Pittman is only too happy to admit she is no 100m runner. In Canberra last night she was sluggish out of the blocks to finish seventh in the sprint, a race she rarely runs, but all that mattered was her suspect hamstring and knee had survived the strain.

Pittman pulled out of last week's A Series meet in Brisbane because of leg soreness and the problem was diagnosed as a misalignment of her pelvis. After manipulation treatment Pittman showed she was back on course with her Olympic preparation. She opted not to run her signature 400m hurdles last night but got back into the swing of racing with a 100m dash.

"I'm pleased with that, what it means is my knee is better if I can run flat out," Pittman said. "It's a good sign. I'm ready to run."

Complete article at The Weekend Australian
Posted at 13:46     [Perma-Link]

Canberra a launch pad for Athens - AIS track fast gaining reputation for speed

World champion Jana Pittman gave a simple explanation for why Australia's best athletes had gathered in Canberra this weekend to chase their Olympic dream.

Pittman said the Australian Institute of Sport track had a well-earned reputation for helping athletes reach the A-qualifier times or distances they need to make the Olympics.

"Canberra is the fastest track in Australia, so if anyone is going to run times, this is the place," Pittman said "My training partner Rebecca Wardell from New Zealand is here trying to get her Olympic qualifier too. Canberra is brilliant, there is no better place to race or train."

Chairman of selectors for Athletics Australia, David Culbert, agreed the AIS track enjoyed a history as a launching pad for Olympic selection.

Complete article at the Canberra Times
Posted at 13:42     [Perma-Link]

Vincent fights back

ONLY the strong survive. Casey Vincent's left arm, the one that took so long to heal after he tore his pectoral muscle from the bone three years ago, bears a bold tattoo with that message.

It is Vincent's creed. The 24-year-old 400m runner has been through some desperate times, only to emerge last weekend with a comeback run that has him on course for the Athens Olympics.

At the A Series meet in Brisbane, he shocked training partners Patrick Dwyer and Clinton Hill, beating them in an Olympic qualifying time of 45.41sec to set up a ferocious rivalry between the trio when they race again in Canberra.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 13:37     [Perma-Link]

Telstra A Series - Melbourne - Group Booking Discount

For anyone planning to attend the Telstra A series Athletics at Melbourne's Olympic Park on Thursday 12th February 5.30pm (7.00pm main program), please find attached information on ticket prices.

Please note that groups of runners can coordinate to get a group booking discount (free tickets depending on the size of the group).

Download more information here
Posted at 12:17     [Perma-Link]


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