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 Wednesday, March 31, 2004 

Climb for fun time

RUNNERS from throughout the state will face the challenge of their lives when they tackle Warburton's Martyrs Rd.

The inaugural Warburton Up and Running event will see participants take on the hill on Saturday, April 3, and compete in an 10km fun run along walking tracks to Warburton East on Sunday, April 4.

Warburton Up and Running organiser Jesse James said the idea for the event came after a friend went to the infamous Baldwin St Gutbusters race in Dunedin, New Zealand.

``When he came back he thought Martyrs Rd was as steep as Baldwin St, and he was right. We thought it would be a great idea to run a similar event that would bring people to Warby,'' Mr James said.

With no pre-registration, he said numbers for starters in the race were still unknown but the group's webpage had received plenty of hits.

``We've had a lot of response to the website with much interest from serious runners and of course we are delighted that Tourism Minister John Pandazopoulos is coming to present the winning trophy,'' he said.

The Saturday event will include a series of novelty and competitive races up Martyrs Rd, one of the steepest residential streets in the world, and back down again a distance of 350m each way.

The prize for the fastest male and female is a trip to Dunedin to take part in the next Gutbusters.

The Sunday event is a 10km fun run with the route following the Yarra River.

Interested competitors can contact the website at

Gembrook State Labor MP Tammy Lobato donated $10,000 to the Warburton Advancement League to help fund the event.

Ms Lobato said the event had the potential to be an annual tourist drawcard for Warburton.

``This event has generated a lot of local support with people throughout the community volunteering to assist,'' Ms Lobato said.

Article from the Lilydale Express.
Posted at 16:19     [Perma-Link]

Pumped to perform


AN IMPORTANT component of sporting performance is the ability of an athlete to sustain strenuous physical activity, called aerobic capacity.

This becomes increasingly significant to participants of endurance sports, such as triathlon, distance running and even Australian Rules football.

Aerobic capacity is most commonly measured in an exercise-testing laboratory using specialised equipment to determine the volume (V) of oxygen (O2) an athlete is able to use when exercising at maximal effort (that is, VO2max).

Oxygen used by the body during exercise is like petrol used by a car. When a car runs out of petrol it will stop. So will athletes when they can't provide muscles with fuel.

The maximum volume of oxygen an athlete is able to use during exercise is a critical variable in the performance of endurance sports.

Tests of VO2max are an excellent tool to predict sporting performance.

The advantages of physiological testing to coaches and athletes are many and provide the key to optimising fitness and performance. It can:

* Accurately measure fitness.

* Identify physiological strengths and weaknesses.

* Determine effectiveness of training methods.

* Quantify fitness improvements.

* Determine training thresholds.

* Eliminate guesswork from the training program

A higher VO2max is an advantage to many sports, particularly those that are endurance-based -- that is, involving prolonged continuous exercise for 90 minutes or more -- as oxygen is required in order to provide energy for the working muscles.

Therefore, greater availability of oxygen equates to greater potential energy available during exercise.


Different sportspeople require different engines to drive their performance. So when it comes to VO2max, the results from most sports vary.

The following are results from elite participants in various sports:

AFL: VO2max 58. Women's basketball: VO2max 50. Cross-country skiing: National team VO2 max 75+. Cycling: Male track endurance VO2max 80; male track sprint VO2max 65; male road VO2max 75; female road VO2max 73. Hockey: Male VO2max 60. Marathon running: Male VO2max 80+; female VO2max 65. Middle-distance running: male VO2max 75; female VO2max 65. Netball: VO2max 50.

The highest VO2max results recorded have come from elite cross-country skiers, with one world-class skier reported to have a VO2max of 94.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 11:42     [Perma-Link]

The miler with the lion heart

by Jill Lesley Norton Hickson

Staveley Frederick Norton, Hickson, AM, Businessman, sportsman, 1915-2004
As a young man Staveley Frederick Norton (``Dick'') Hickson, was the ``Queensland miler'', a fine all-round sportsman and prize-winning scholar.

He continued as a frontrunner throughout his life. A real estate agent and valuer specialising in industrial and commercial property and motel broking, he retired only in 1995, aged 80, as chairman of Debenham Tewson and Hickson Ltd. Before this he had chalked up a considerable list of achievements in real estate, commerce, tourism, manufacturing, and economic research.

It was his high personal standards, however, that set him apart, his particularity about such things as shiny shoes and clean fingernails, not to glorify oneself but as a mark of respect to others. There was only one way of doing it, the proper way.

He would look at you with such an open, steady gaze that there was no mistaking his honesty and sincerity. These things went not just to good manners but to the vital question of human decency.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald website
Posted at 11:40     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, March 29, 2004 

Time running out for Ross to secure spot

Sprinter Josh Ross is set to have his career boosted with offers from Nike on the table and an impending management deal on the horizon. Ross has been working hard at clinching a place on the Australian athletics team that will compete at the Athens Olympics and has just finished two weeks training with the national relay team. He is, however, keen to resume his own training regime in an effort to shave valuable seconds off his time for the 100m and qualify for Athens.

"I think I lost a bit of strength in that training. I didn't do much individual training while I was there, (but) I needed a break anyway," he said. It will be that strength Ross will work on in the coming week as he incorporates hill climbs into his routine. "It gives you the strength you need, it's good for the last part of the race," Ross said.

The Australian men's 4x100 metre relay team are ranked 14th in the world but are far from assured of a start at Athens. Athletics Australia head coach Keith Connor said the side would wait until the athletes are again at full strength before racing again .

"They'll need to position themselves a little higher than that. We'll be sending them to Europe in early July before the July 24 cut off date when they're all running at a maximum," he said.

Ross' next outing on the track will be in defence of his Stawell Gift. However, this time he will race off one metre when as opposed to his handicap of seven metres in 2003. He remains confident of a strong showing in the race, despite the massive difference in handicap, and said victory was not out of the question.

"It's possible, the way I'm running I should be right up there with them," he said.

From there Ross will travel to Japan in May where he will have more chances of making the crucial 10.21 it takes for an individual berth into the Olympic team. But for now he has a management contract to consider.

"It's just to look after the commercial side of things. I haven't signed anything yet but I probably will," Ross said.

Nike have also shown interest in the 23-year-old from Gilleston Heights.

"They just got in contact with me and asked if I had anyone supplying my shoes yet and I hadn't so they sent me a few pairs of spikes to try on,"he said.

Posted at 22:48     [Perma-Link]

Heiner brings it home for the Illawarra

Illawarra Academy of Sport runner Madeline Heiner has continued her outstanding form, recording the fastest time this year for the 3,000 metres at the recent NSW State Youth Championships at the Sydney Athletics Centre.

The BlueScope Steel scholarship holder flew home in 9min 42.38sec, the fastest in Australia at under 20 level this year. "If I had done that time two weeks ago I would have qualified for the under 20 world cross-country in Belgium," Heiner said after the race. "Pity I didn't decide to race it sooner!"

Heiner's time beat her previous personal best by 25 seconds. "It was virtually my first 3km, other than a few club meets, so I did a massive
PB," she said.

The Wollongong athlete recently booked herself a ticket to Grosseto, Italy, after qualifying for the 2004 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships from 13-18 July, where she will compete in the 1500m.

Her fellow BlueScope Steel scholarship holder Madeline Tyler also performed well at the State Championships in the under-18 pole vault. Tyler, from Wollongong, placed second with a height of 2.80 metres.

Patrick Boyd
Illawarra Academy of Sport

Posted at 22:25     [Perma-Link]

Elliott: I'm here to review Athletics Australia, not investigate it

Herb Elliott is heading a review of the performance and operation of Athletics Australia. Here, he tells Chris Wilson why the situation isn't as dire as been suggested.

Can you remember Australian athletics in such a state?

Most sports seem to go through cycles of peace and war - that's too strong a word - peace and disturbance. I think athletics has probably been through a number of cycles like this. The sport is not in a serious state but the sport is in a state where it can improve.

What's your role?

It's not really as an opinion-maker, it's just to create an environment that encourages people to put in submissions and to make sure each submission is respected and considered.

What's the major reason for discontent in athletics?

I don't want to pre-empt the review. My opinion doesn't matter. It's really a matter of the people out there involved in the sport.

Is it too much to expect Australia to compete with the world powers of athletics?

I don't think so. We have the talent in our country to perform at the highest level in the world as we've done in the past and as we are doing in some aspects of the sport right now with Jana Pittman and Benita Johnson. Certainly at the junior level we have a pretty high profile in world sport. I don't see any reason why we should bow down.

Why the trouble converting junior performances into the senior ranks?

That's one of the things the review is looking at. The pathways from the very first time a kid has the opportunity to be involved in track and field to the high performance area. How smooth is that pathway? How simple is it? The whole spectrum has to be reviewed.

What is the review structure?

The working groups will make recommendations under the headings of Development, High Performance and Governance. They will go to the Steering Committee whose job is to bring each of those three arms into some sort of balance and try to match it with our budget. We've got a lot of work to do in a very short time [July 31]. We've got interest from a wide range of people who can contribute to the process with their experience and intellect. In the governance, ex-AFL chief Wayne Jackson. In high performance, former Australian swimming coach Don Talbot. In development, former AFL premiership coach David Parkin.

There's been criticism of your appointment to the Steering Committee because of your seat on the Athletics Australia board.

What they probably had in mind when they made that criticism was this is an investigation similar to soccer. It's not that at all. It's a review of the sport by the sport because we don't have any serious problems.

You don't think the problems are serious?

Not serious in the sense of total system failures, corruption and all those sorts of things that involve serious investigations.

AA's $1.3m debt is serious.

As an AA director, I can tell you that there were some extraordinary reasons for that financial result. But the fact of the matter is AA is running at a small profit and not in any debt. It's balance sheet is not negative so it's not a serious issue. The seriousness was that it came as a surprise and that shouldn't happen.

Complete article at The Ballarat Courier
Posted at 11:43     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, March 28, 2004 

No easy fix for athletics - interview with Keith Connor, Athletics Australia's head coach

Five months from the Athens Olympics, MIKE HURST talks to Athletics Australia's head coach, Keith Connor.

Chairman of Athletics Australia's Olympic selectors David Culbert has described the domestic A-series as the worst ever which is particularly distressing in an Olympic year. Some observers believe there is a coaching crisis preventing full development of the talent.

There are simply not enough talented and motivated coaches spending sufficient time with talented and motivated athletes and this is the root cause of most of the current frustrations.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 13:54     [Perma-Link]

Olympic Flame heading to land Down Under

When the Olympic torch relay arrives Down Under on its whirlwind global tour, all the big names in Australian sport will be there. To be lit today at the ancient temples where the modern Olympics were born in 1896, the flame will travel through Greece and five continents, touching down in Australia on June 4.

Australia's 400m Olympic champion turned model, Cathy Freeman, will be the first to take hold of the flame. Other sporting greats such as Dawn Fraser, Herb Elliott, Ron Clarke and Betty Cuthbert will also run with it. More recent sporting heroes such as swimmer Susie O'Neill (who is expecting her first child in mid-May) will run with the flame, while the Oarsome Foursome will row it along Melbourne's Yarra River and equestrian gold medallist Gillian Rolton will ride with it.

About 140 people in Sydney and 130 in Melbourne will run with the torch, about 50 per cent of them ordinary Australians, including some from the Greek community. And the first torch-bearer of the 1956 relay, Con Veremis of Cairns, will be flown to Sydney to run a leg. The torch relay will pass through the Greek areas of Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney and Lonsdale St in Melbourne on June 5, when festivities will be held.

The Australian Olympic Committee said it was confident the torch relay would not be overshadowed by controversies surrounding venue roofs or construction delays in Athens. "The Australian Olympic Committee is confident the Games will go ahead and go ahead successfully," secretary-general Bob Elphinston said yesterday. "The venues, certainly those that are finished, are quite magnificent."

The torch relay will be the first global relay in the modern Olympics. It will pass through five continents and 35 cities.

Posted at 13:47     [Perma-Link]

Four Corners, Drug Taking and Crikey!

On Monday 22nd March 2004, the ABC-TV station played a documentary item on Drugs in Sport called "Tarnished Gold".

The full transcript is available at the ABC Website, although here is the inital opening remarks :

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT, REPORTER: Four years ago, Australia celebrated its greatest ever sporting event. The Sydney Olympics were seen as the friendliest, most successful Olympics ever. Australia played its part too in helping to beat the drug cheats.

PROFESSOR KEN FITCH, WADA MEDICAL & RESEARCH COMMITTEE: It's one of the major notable achievements in the breakthroughs in drugs in sport.

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: But the drugs haven't disappeared, they've just become harder to detect. And for some sportsmen who've taken the latest drugs, it's cost them everything.

DR MICHAEL ASHENDEN, FORMER AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SPORT SCIENTIST: In the middle of the night when their body cools down slightly, the blood becomes thicker and the heart stops beating and they die.

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: This year in the run-up to Athens, Australia's elite athletes are straining every sinew to attain the Olympic ideal - faster, higher, stronger. If they're going to have a chance of winning, they want to know that they're competing on a level playing field. But since the Sydney Games, there's evidence that Australia has pulled back from the fight against drugs in sport.

On Tuesday, the day after the program aired, the media website Crikey posted their take on the documentary
Posted at 00:07     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, March 27, 2004 

The transcript of this weeks Four Corner's program 'Tarnished Gold' is on their website at
Complete article at
Posted at 23:59     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, March 26, 2004 

Johnson now aims at Carlsbad 5k

Benita Johnson flew out from Brussels to the United States yesterday for what should be an epic road race in San Diego, California on Sunday (28 March).

Johnson, 24, who stunned her more-fancied African rivals by trouncing them all in Saturday's IAAF World Cross Country long course race in Brussels, will meet several of them again at the USA race.

Causing the biggest shock in the century-old history of the Championships, Johnson became the first Australian to win the event.

Now, the newly-crowned title-holder will step down in distance to 5km to tackle Werknesh Kidane again, as well as other leading Ethiopians, who couldn't match her pace over eight kilometres in Brussels.

The significance of Johnson's success is still reverberating around the world's distance-running community after punching a massive hole in the almost constant ascendancy of African stars.

In recent years only Britain's Paula Radcliffe has consistently shown she can take on and defeat them in road running and cross country contests.

"Paula Radcliffe has been a great role model by showing us we can break the African dominance."

But there is still plenty of respect, particularly for those with whom she will again lock horns in the Carlsbad 5km next Sunday.

"I have immense respect for the Ethiopians - they've beaten me many times before."

Both Carlsbad champions will be returning this year. On the women's side, Berhane Adere, Ethiopia, PR - 14:51, who tied the world best set by Deena Drossin in 2002 at Carlsbad. For the men, Dejene Berhanu, Ethiopia, PR-13:14, who placed 11th in the World XC Championships Short Race last weekend in Brussels.

In fact many of the top finishers from Brussels will feature in the Carlsbad starting line-up -

Benita Johnson, Australia, 1st Long Race, 27:17 (Gold Medal)Ejegayehu Dibaba, Ethiopia, 2nd Long Race, 27:29 (Silver Medal), 10th Short Race, 13:23
Isabella Ochichi, Kenya, 5th Short Race, 13:18
Sally Barsosio, Kenya, 10th Long Race, 28:08
Haley McGregor, Australia, 17th Long Race, 28:41, 27th Short Race, 13:58

Abdullah Hassan, Qatar, 4th Short Race, 11:44
Dejene Berhanu, Ethiopia, 11th Short Race, 11:56

PA International for the IAAF

Article from the IAAF website
Posted at 13:26     [Perma-Link]

Benita Johnson headlines Carlsbad

With past Carlsbad 5000 champions, World champions and runners fresh from last weekend's World Cross Country Championships in Belgium, the 19th Carlsbad 5000, set for Sunday, March 28, promises to be another memorable affair at the world's fastest 5K road race.

Stephen Cherono is no longer in the field, but world cross country champ Benita Johnson is.

Complete article at
Posted at 13:23     [Perma-Link]

Group trains for long walk

POUNDING tracks and traversing trails are all in a weekend's work for four people.

The Walking with Dinosaurs team will be trekking the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker across rugged terrain from Wheelers Hill to Mt Donna Buang from Friday to Sunday in aid of charity.

Group leader Judy Mraz said her troops were looking forward to the strenuous 48-hour event.

The trailwalker is expected to raise $1 million in donations for Oxfam Community Aid Abroad, an agency working to alleviate poverty overseas.

``We've been training since the beginning of October and have built up our fitness week by week,'' Ms Mraz said.

``I figure we have walked over 500km in training we'll be there at the end, I'm sure.

``The team is excited and looking forward to the event after the huge commitment we have put in.''

Ms Mraz said about $1200 had been raised by the group so far, with more money coming in every day.

People could donate after the walk as well, she said.

Oxfam Trailwalker began in 1981 as a military training exercise in Hong Kong and has raised nearly $40 million for poor communities around the world.

The event is held annually in Hong Kong, Britain, Sydney and Melbourne.

This year more than 360 teams of four will take part in the endurance experience. Each team has to pledge a minimum of $1000 to take part in the event.

The trail winds through some of Melbourne's most diverse bushland. Starting in Wheelers Hill, it passes through the Corhanwarrabul Wetlands, the Churchill and Lysterfield national parks and then via Belgrave to the 1000 Steps and Kokoda Memorial Track and along the Warburton Trail.

The grand finale is the climb to the top of Mt Donna Buang, rewarding successful competitors with panoramic views of Melbourne.

Article from the Free Press Leader.
Posted at 13:21     [Perma-Link]

Hikers set wheels in motion

By Tim King

TIM Reid's mates knew he was tired when he began veering off the path on a gruelling night walk.

Mr Reid was trudging a 65 km route to prepare for a 100 km charity sponsorship walk late this month with his partner Chris Floyd and Ford Campbellfield workmates, Matthew Sullivan and Daniel Westerman.

Mr Reid said they were already tired after long days at work when they started the trek at 9pm.

They did not finish the ordeal for another 20 hours.

``That was pretty tough,'' he said.

``About three in the morning I started falling asleep as I was walking and walked off the track, and Chris would pull me back again.

``I did that probably a dozen times and we decided to stop for a power nap, probably 15 minutes. I was fine after that.''

Mr Reid, of Kensington, said they had also heard wombats crashing along paths ahead of them on other night training walks for the Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2004 trek, from this Friday until Sunday.

His team and up to 1500 other sponsored entrants will have 48 hours to walk or run the trek's 100km course from the Jells Park Tea House in Wheelers Hill to the 1250m summit of Mt Donna Buang, Warburton. Mr Reid's team will leave at 11am on Friday.

Each four-member team has to pay a $400 entry fee and raise at least $1000.

The fundraiser has raised almost $40 million for poor communities worldwide.

Oxfam Trailwalkers events are held annually in Hong Kong, Britain, Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Reid said Ford Australia paid his team's entry fee and the team had so far raised $1800 from friends, family and workmates.

He and his fellow Ford engineers have e-mailed workmates for sponsorship, helped by Ford corporate citizenship manager Gail Rodgers.

Ms Floyd has gathered support at her Melbourne workplace, employment consultancy SensWide Services.

Mr Reid and his team-mates began training about eight weeks ago.

They have completed a 65km and two 40km walks along the Melbourne route, and five 20km treks around Albert Park and the Botanic Gardens.

``We pulled up OK we were very sore,'' Mr Reid said.

``You have to take breaks to let your joints and knees recover.''

Mr Reid said they got varied responses from people who found out about the mammoth charity walk.

``Some people think you are crazy,'' he said.

``Others think it's tough, but it's a pretty good challenge.''

Anyone interested in sponsoring Mr Reid's team team number 141 can do so at or phone Mr Reid on 9359 8433.

Article from the Hume/Moreland Observer
Posted at 13:18     [Perma-Link]

Stepping out for Oxfam

WHILE most of Kingston winds down at the weekend, four Don Tatnell Leisure Centre members are pounding the pavement training for the Oxfam Community Aid Abroad Trailwalker.

The team members Vanessa Jones, Margie Simmons, Heather Robinson and John Hudson have been walking up to 80km each weekend in preparation for the team challenge.

Oxfam trailwalkers will trek 100km in less than 48 hours from Wheelers Hill to Mt Donna Buang, via the Dandenongs.

Ms Jones said she had questioned her sanity after registering in the event a second time.

``I didn't walk for a week after last year's walk,'' she said.

``I had the biggest blister in the world.''

Last year, the team finished the event in 36 hours, raising $3000 to support Oxfam's work.''

Ms Jones said the team aimed to match last year's total, but hoped to finish in less than 30 hours.

Last year 249 teams finished the walk, raising $700,000 for the charity.

The Oxfam Trailwalker is on March 26 to 28

Article from the Mordialloc Chelsea News.
Posted at 13:17     [Perma-Link]

The mad minute with Soraya Young


More at home wielding a microphone than a hiking stick, Melbourne singer Soraya Young is about to subject herself to 48 hours of torture in the name of charity.

Q.Normally you'd be spending this weekend on stage, but this Saturday you'll embark on a 100km hike up Mount Donna Buang in the Yarra Valley. What's this in aid of?

A.It's all for the benefit of Oxfam Community Aid Abroad. I'm part of a team of four and we've been sponsored to walk 100km in 48 hours non-stop.

Q.That's a noble cause, but you could have just chosen to donate money. Why have you decided to participate?

A.It's healthy to do this kind of thing and being able to do something good for the community is a bonus.

The money goes towards social justice and community aid in more than 30 countries. If you can do something to help, why wouldn't you?

Q.Hiking 100km across two days non-stop with short breaks for food and the odd catnap sounds like a gruelling affair.

A.Yes, it is gruelling. In our training we've probably clocked up about 350km. Other teams probably train a lot more, but that's all I can manage with my schedule.

Q.Your fitness regimen defies the stereotypical image of a petite and delicate songbird.

A.I keep fit. I like a lot of variety. I do Thai boxing, triathlons, running. I'm an energetic person, I have to do something to get my `yeahs!' out.

Q.So will you be singing to your teammates to spur them on during the event?

A.I don't know about that. I might be humming. Ask me at 99km, but I don't think so.

Q.The event originated in Hong Kong in 1981 as a military training exercise for the Queen's Gurkha Signals Regiment. Doesn't that scare you?

A.All sorts of people get over here to do this event. The Gurkhas come over here and do it in something like 11 hours. They actually run it. But it's nice scenery. The fact it's a military exercise doesn't intimidate me. The reason we're doing it is to raise funds for Oxfam, to help other people. I don't feel intimidated by that.

Q.Dehydration, exhaustion, leeches and blisters are just some of the hazards you've been told to expect during the hike.

A.Yes, but there definitely won't be any pictures of me being taken. While we were doing a training walk, we had giant yabbies come out onto the trail, so that was a bit unpleasant. The hardest time for me will be night time.

Q.Are you scared of the dark?

A.Yes, I am. I don't like spiders or walking into spider webs, but I'll cope.

Q.How's the singing career going?

A.Really good. I released an EP and single last year and I'm putting the finishing touches to an album which will be released around June-July this year.

* Donations to Soraya's effort in the Oxfam Trailwalker can be sent by logging on to

Article from MX.
Posted at 13:16     [Perma-Link]

Run for their lives

by Karen Heinrich

The Oxfam Trailwalker is a labour of love for four soldiers from one of the world's poorest countries, writes Karen Heinrich.

Their motto - Certa cito - means swift and sure, and at 9am today a crack team of four Nepalese Gurkha soldiers will show us what it's all about when they set out on a 100-kilometre run through rugged and mountainous bushland in the Dandenongs.

Save for water, chocolate and soup stops, the men, who serve in the British Army, will not stop running for 11 hours, and expect to cross the finish line shortly before 8pm. It's tough and simple all at once for the legendary Gurkhas, renowned as the world's most tenacious soldiers.

The run, called the Oxfam Trailwalker, originated in Hong Kong in 1981 as a military training exercise for the Queen's Gurkha Signals Regiment, which has fought in nearly all of the world's major wars in the past 186 years and has earned Britain's highest number of service honours, including 13 Victoria Crosses.

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

Deek wants his sport to get serious

by Craig Baxter

LEGENDARY marathon runner Robert de Castella says Australian athletics needs to take a leaf out of swimming's book in order to improve its standing on the international scene.

In Townsville yesterday to launch the sixth annual BHP Billiton Townsville Running Festival in August, de Castella said athletics should not be satisfied with an ``ad hoc'' structure which had continued to produce rare gems such as world 400m hurdle champion Jana Pittman and new world cross country champion Benita Johnson but seen slim medal tallies at major championships become the norm.

``It's not good enough,'' de Castella said. ``It's too ad hoc with the occasional hard-working and talented athlete coming through and carrying the sport.

``The challenge now is to actively put in place the systems where quantity comes through, like in swimming.

``Swimming has an excellent system in place, starting off at grass roots level with large participation numbers and from there identifying talented and motivated kids and supporting them.''

Canberran de Castella -- voted world marathon runner of the 1980s after a career which included victory at the 1983 World Championships and 1982 and 1986 Commonwealth Games -- was joined at the launch by his former coach Pat Clohessy, now working with the University of Queensland club in Brisbane.

De Castella said the Townsville Running Festival -- highlighted by the Tony Ireland Marathon -- appeared poised to continue its significant growth of recent years.

``I'm most impressed, you've got all the fundamentals in place, a great climate, good course and efficient organisation,'' he said.

The Townsville Running Festival -- also incorporating the adidas Townsville Half Marathon and Townsville Podiatry Centre 10.5km Fun Run -- takes place on Sunday, August 1.

Article from the Townsville Bulletin.
Posted at 13:08     [Perma-Link]

Running proves a family affair

by Craig Baxter

RUNNING is very much a family affair for the McGinnitys of Thuringowa.

Peter and Lee McGinnity and their children Laurel, 14, Madeline, 12, and Lachlan, 10, have had each other for company in training in preparation for tomorrow afternoon's Townsville Podiatry Centre Fun Run and Walk.

``We run about three times a week and always do the (Townsville) Road Runners event on a Saturday if we can,'' Mrs McGinnity said.

``My daughter Laurel and I have been running together for about 12 months and the rest of the family joined in this year when the other kids got a bit bigger.

``Road Runners also has a children's run which allows the whole family to take part.''

Mrs McGinnity, a teacher at Ryan Catholic College, said she had been first to fall victim to the running bug.

``I just used to go out and run on school cross-country day and a friend at school belonged to Road Runners and said `how about coming along','' she said.

``Now Laurel and I do about eight kilometres in a session while Peter goes with Madeline and Lachlan and they do about three or four kilometres.

``It's a sport that doesn't cost a lot of money, there are a wide variety of places around Townsville to run and the family can actually do it together.''

The Fun Run and Walk will consist of a 7.3km senior course and a 3.8km course for juniors, both following the Ross River bikeway.

The event will start and finish at the Weir School with the starting time 4.30pm.

Entry fees are $8 for adults and $5 for children with proceeds aiding the Heart Foundation.

Article from the Townsville Bulletin.
Posted at 13:07     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, March 24, 2004 

Johnson Committed To Balmoral

Newly-crowned World Cross Country champion Benita Johnson has confirmed she is a definite starter for May's Balmoral Road Races.

Johnson, who scored the biggest-ever shock in the history of the IAAF event when she won the world title at the weekend, is talking about racing over 5,000 metres at Balmoral Castle where her main rival will be training partner Sonia O'Sullivan.

"I'm looking forward to returning to Balmoral for the meeting," said Johnson, 24, who will be making her third appearance at the Grampian venue.

Last year, the Australian finished second over five miles to world 10,000m title-holder Berhane Adere of Ethiopia.

This year's programme has been revamped and will feature international races over one mile and 5,000 metres for both men and women, as well as the BUPA Great Caledonian Run around its traditional 10 kilometre course in Balmoral Castle.

"This is Olympic year and switching from five miles to 5,000 metres is more realistic given this is one of the distances at the Games in August," said race spokesman Matthew Turnbull.

Turnbull, who was in Brussels on Saturday when Johnson ran amok against the normally dominant African stars, added: "Both Benita and Sonia are more than happy to race over 5,000 metres, a distance which they both have proven records over."

Article from
Posted at 13:02     [Perma-Link]

Heathmont fun run

A HEATHMONT fun run will aim to celebrate and commemorate the Anzac spirit.

Supported by Maroondah Council, Croydon and Ringwood RSLs and the Ringwood Athletics Club, the Lest We Forget Run will be held on May 2 at 8.55am at HE Parker Reserve, Heathmont.

The 8km run will be along the banks of the Dandenong Creek toward Wantirna Rd and then on the opposite side back to HE Parker Reserve.

Councillor Paul Denham said the run was a wonderful concept that united Australians.

``A one-minute silence, followed by the reveille, and a simultaneous race start will occur throughout the country,'' Cr Denham said.

Entry: $18, $13 concession, $55 family. To register phone 9298 4380.

Article from the Maroondah Mail
Posted at 12:45     [Perma-Link]

Elliott denies conflict over review

By Len Johnson

Herb Elliott has denied claims of a conflict of interest after it was confirmed yesterday that he would head a review into Australian athletics.

Elliott is a member of the Athletics Australia board and also is a board member of companies associated with Athletics Australia chairman Andrew Forrest.

The former mile great asserted his independence in the review, despite critics such as Ron Clarke, sprinter Lauren Hewitt and Athletics Australia chief selector David Culbert.

"I don't operate as a mouthpiece for anyone," Elliott said.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 12:41     [Perma-Link]

AFL identities help put Herb on track

by Ron Reed

FOOTBALL identities Wayne Jackson and David Parkin have agreed to help former champion miler Herb Elliott investigate the state of Australian athletics.

The retired AFL chief executive and the four-time premiership coach will be put to work immediately as Elliott attempts to identify the sport's problems.

The Australian Sports Commission and Athletics Australia yesterday confirmed Elliott would chair a comprehensive review in the wake of a flood of criticism.

Elliott, an AA board member, rejected suggestions that his appointment constituted a conflict of interest, saying: ``People who say that don't know me or the way I work. I'm not a mouthpiece for anybody.''

Elliott's contemporary, champion distance runner Ron Clarke, told the Herald Sun last week that it was a case of the administration investigating the administration.

``I've never seen that work. That's what you do when you don't want a result,'' he said.

Elliott will chair a steering committee, which will also include another AA director, Ken Roche, Athletics Tasmania president Brian Roe, Australian Institute of Sport director Michael Scott, Olympic gold medallist Glynis Nunn-Cearns and Melbourne lawyer Stephen Spargo.

The committee will oversee working parties dedicated to development, high performance and governance, with Parkin sitting on the first one and Jackson the third.

Parkin has been involved in a number of Sports Commission projects,while it is Jackson's first such involvement.

Elliott said he hoped to present the findings to the ASC and AA by July 31, but doubted if any further action would be taken until after the August 13-29 Olympics.

The 1960 Olympic 1500m gold medallist said he did not believe the sport was ``dead on its feet'', as Clarke and others had suggested.

But there were some ``systemic problems'', on which Elliott declined to elaborate.

He said all stakeholders -- athletes, coaches, sponsors, media and parents -- would be invited to make written and spoken submissions.

``Hopefully that will highlight the problems and also suggest the solutions,'' he said.

``We are hoping to make the sport more attractive to young people and develop a pathway that keeps them interested from juniors through to high performance.

``The pathways are disjointed with huge gaps.''

Sports Commission chief executive Mark Peters said it was important to recognise the co-operative manner of the review.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 12:38     [Perma-Link]

Marathon champion launches festival

RUNNER, Robert de Castella, and his coach, Pat Clohessy, will launch the Townsville Running Festival tomorrow at the Tobruk Pool.

The Townsville Road Runners Club will be conducting a training seminar at Jupiters Casino tonight at 7.30pm, in which de Castella and Clohessy will be attending.

The seminar will include video's of de Castella's great marathon triumphs, some motivating and inspiring words from both the Road Runners' guests, and training tips for long distance running.

The sixth BHP Billiton Townsville Running Festival will be held on August 1 at Tobruk Pool, and prizemoney has been increased to $10,000, with cash prizes for all placings, records and marathon teams.

The Running Festival consists of three long distance races run in tandem.

The three races are The Tony Ireland Holden Townsville Marathon, the adidas Townsville Half Marathon and the Townsville Podiatry Centre 10.5km Fun Run.

All courses have a common start/finish point and a common course route, but with staggered start times.

The different start times will provide the slower runners with company during the latter portion of the 42.2km marathon.

Article from the Townsville Sun.
Posted at 12:35     [Perma-Link]

Olympian joins athletics review

OLYMPIAN Glynis Nunn-Cearns yesterday was added to the committee to look into the troubled Athletics Australia.

The committee will be headed by Olympic gold medallist Herb Elliott, with fellow AA board member Ken Roche also named, along with Athletics Tasmania president Brian Roe, Australian Institute of Sport director Michael Scott, Nunn-Cearns, and Melbourne lawyer Stephen Spargo.

Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp announced the review earlier this month in the wake of calls for the board to resign following revelations it had debts of $1.3 million.

It was a response to the deepening crisis within the sport, evidenced when sprinter Lauren Hewitt called for chief executive Simon Allatson's resignation and Victorian coach Nic Bideau asked for the entire AA board to resign.

The recent Olympic selection trials were overshadowed by in-fighting within the sport when distance running coach Said Aouita threatened to quit the country because he was sick of the squabbles with Victorian coaches and athletes.

Elliott said the review

would look at the concerns of all parties involved.

``The time is now right to review the pros and cons of the past four years and decide how the sport goes forward in the next four years,'' Elliott said.

Australian Sports Commission chief executive Mark Peters dismissed comparisons with soccer's Crawford Report.

``It would be wrong to think of this review as similar to the Crawford review of soccer, because athletics has few, if any, of the entrenched problems that soccer faced,'' Peters said.

``Rather, substantial work already has been done to improve the structure and administration of athletics and the review being chaired by Herb Elliott will consolidate this work and identify areas for improvement.''

Article from The Mercury
Posted at 12:34     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, March 23, 2004 

Benita Johnson - World Cross Country Champion

The early hours of Sunday 21st March (Australian time) heralded a new era in Australian distance running, with the historical performance of Benita Johnson, winning Australia’s first medal (of any colour) in the 32nd World Cross Country Championship in Brussels.

Johnson’s result is one of the greatest ever by an Australian athlete – The world cross-country championship is the most competitive distance race in the world because each country can send up to six representatives, whereas there is a limit of three per nation at the world track and field championships and Olympics.

Dominating a class field of 97 competitors from all corners of the world, Benita ran strongly and assertively for the whole 8km race, making a decisive move at the beginning of the last lap and going onto win by a 12 second margin in a time of 27.17.

Coach Nic Bideau summed up the achievement: "It's fantastic. She beat the superstars, world record-holders, Olympic medalists".

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 12:24     [Perma-Link]

Ethiopians end Kenya's domination

By Len Johnson

Kenenisa Bekele was acclaimed king of Brussels' Royal Park on Sunday, easily winning the men's 12-kilometre long race at the world cross-country championships to complete a third consecutive short-race/long-race double at the titles.

Bekele led Ethiopian teammates Gebre Gebremariam and Sileshi Sihine by almost 20 seconds to a clean sweep of the medals and victory in the teams race, ending 18 years of Kenyan team domination.

Among the vanquished was Steve Moneghetti in 30th place. But the 41-year-old veteran says his 11th, and last, world cross-country had also been as satisfying as any of the other 10.

Australia finished fifth, the highest team placing in Moneghetti's 20-year involvement in the championships.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 12:15     [Perma-Link]

Ethiopian crosses off long race

ETHIOPIAN running sensation Kenenisa Bekele completed his third successive world cross country title double as he won the men's long race.

Of the Australians, Craig Mottram was 13th in 37:10, Lee Troop 21st (37:43), Steve Moneghetti 30th (38:01) and Brett Cartwright 37th (38:15).

Kenya's Edith Masai won the women's short race after Australia's Benita Johnson pulled out, though she would not reveal whether it was to do with her celebration after winning the long race with a few of the stronger Belgian beers.

Article from MX
Posted at 12:12     [Perma-Link]

Local boys on top

GEELONG runners Craig Mottram and Lee Troop were the highest placed of six Australians in the men's long course race at the World Cross Country Championships in Belgium.

Mottram was 13th in the 12km race in 37mins 10secs, with Troop 21st in 37mins 43secs. Of the other Australians competing, Steve Moneghetti was 30th, Brett Cartwright 37th, Andrew Letherby 45th and Shane Nankervis 92nd.

In the women's short course race Sarah Jamieson was 15th, Haley McGregor 27th and Anna Thompson 33rd.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser
Posted at 12:10     [Perma-Link]

Lucky 13 for Mottram

by Scott Gullan

VICTORIAN Craig Mottram continued Australia's impressive showing at the world cross-country titles in Belgium, finishing 13th in yesterday's 12km long-course race.

Newly-crowned women's champion Benita Johnson bypassed the short-course race while she soaked up her historic victory in the 8km race a day earlier.

The Australian men's team finished fifth with Mottram leading the way in 37min 10sec from Lee Troop (21st), Steve Moneghetti (30th) and Brett Cartwright (37th).

In the women's 4km short-course race, Australia's best-placed runner was Sarah Jamieson in 15th place (13:40). Hayley McGregor came home in 27th place and Anna Thompson was 33rd.

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele won his third successive world title in the men's race, while Kenya's Edith Masai took out the women's event.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 12:09     [Perma-Link]

Running great to launch festival

TOWNSVILLE Roadrunners will launch the sixth annual BHP Billiton Townsville Running Festival on Thursday with special guest Rob de Castella.

The former world champion marathon runner will invite runners from Australia and around the world to come to Townsville in August to participate in the annual running festival, which includes the Townsville marathon.

The event began in 1999 with the concept of packaging three existing long-distance races into one event.

Event organiser Brian Armit said the festival was the only marathon in regional Queensland of its kind and attracted all levels of runners from the north, interstate and from overseas.

``While the marathon is an event for serious runners, the combination of distances allows for progression from fun run to the marathon,'' Armit said.

``The fun run also allows the less serious and younger family members to compete.''

Publicity for this year's event has also extended to all Pacific Island nations to coincide with their attendance at the Oceania Games half-marathon in Townsville in December.

Townsville Enterprise conventions and events manager Sandra Garvin said the festival was a great event for the city.

``Someone like Rob de Castella coming to launch this year's running festival shows the calibre of the event,'' Garvin said.

This year's festival will see the incorporation of the Australian Defence Force inter-service marathon championships and prizemoney for the event has increased to $10,000 with cash prizes for all placings, records and marathon teams.

In addition to the launch of the festival a training seminar with de Castella and coach Pat Clohessy is scheduled for tomorrow night.

The seminar will include videos of de Castella's marathon triumphs, addresses from the guests and training tips to assist those wishing to take up long-distance running.

De Castella is the only Australian runner in the top-10 marathon finishers at three straight Olympics and dominated the sport throughout the 1980s. He was voted the world's best marathon runner for that decade.

The training seminar will be held at Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino at 7.30pm.

Tickets ($10 for adults and $5 for students) can be bought at the door.

Article from the Townsville Bulletin.
Posted at 12:06     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, March 22, 2004 

Cross-Country: Johnson stuns rivals

Former breakfast television pancake maker Benita Johnson became the first Australian to win a world cross-country medal when she was a shock winner of the women's long race in Brussels yesterday.

The 24-year-old finished well clear of Ethiopian duo Ejigayehu Dibaba and last year's champion Werknesh Kidane to become the first non-Ethiopian medallist of the championships.

Earlier the Ethiopians had swept the medals in both the junior women's race and the men's short race where Kenenisa Bekele won his third successive crown in the event and set himself up for a double for the third consecutive year when he runs the long race today.

Johnson was delighted at breaking the Ethiopian monopoly and finally gaining a medal in an event in which she had previously finished fourth, fifth and sixth.

"I wanted the crowd to hear a different anthem to the Ethiopian one as they had heard it enough," she said. "I wanted the organisers to go scrabbling through the tape box to find an Australian one."

Johnson, once a top junior hockey player, stuck with the leading group from the start and refused to be shrugged off as Kidane and Dibaba - the elder sister of the world 5000m champion Tirunesh - turned on the pace from the halfway mark.

Bekele, meanwhile, stormed home well clear of compatriot Gebre Gebremariam with another Ethiopian Maregu Zewdie filling third in the 4km race.

Kenya's dreadful day looked to be set for a boost when Bekele was led at the bell by Eliud Kirui, but that was as good as it got for them.

Even worse for Kenya was the sudden emergence from the pack of their former 3000m steeplechaser Stephen Cherono - he now runs for Qatar under the name Saif Saaeed Shaheen - and two of his team-mates including another former Kenyan Abdullah Ahmad Hassan - the former Albert Chepkurui - as the bell sounded.

Salt was added to the wound as the Qataris edged Kenya for team silver.

Article from the Telegraph.
Posted at 13:09     [Perma-Link]

Fifth place finish for Australia's cross country team

Australia has finished fifth in the team classification of the long-distance race at the men's world cross country championships in Brussels.

The race was won by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

But Australians Craig Mottram (13th), Lee Troop (21st), Steve Moneghetti (30th) and Brett Cartwright (37th) secured enough points to give Australia fifth position overall.

Ethiopia won the team's event from Kenya, Eritrea and Morocco.

Bekele confirmed his status as the world's outstanding distance runner with a commanding victory.

Complete article at the ABC website
Posted at 13:06     [Perma-Link]

Johnson wins cross-country gold

Benita Johnson has upset the heavily favoured Ethiopians, winning Australia's first world cross-country medal of any colour in the women's long course event in Brussels.

The 24-year-old former under-20 hockey international had finished in the top six in the short course event in the last three championships but had confessed chirpily on Friday that Australia was a great place for a holiday but not necessarily for cross country runners.

She belied her own words by dominating the eight-kilometre event from the halfway stage on a muddy course, made even more treacherous by heavy rain which had pelted down during the men's short-course race.

Complete article and audio file at the ABC website
Posted at 12:09     [Perma-Link]

Johnson gives Ethiopians a dose of Advance Australia Fair

So you thought Jana Pittman was Australia's only big gold medal hope in athletics at the Athens Olympics? Think again.

Distance runner Benita Johnson has shot into calculations after a stunning victory at the world cross-country championships in Brussels.

Johnson powered away from Ethiopian duo Ejigayehu Dibaba and defending champion Werknesh Kidane to win the eight-kilometre race in Brussels on Saturday in 27 minutes and 17 seconds. The 24-year-old won by 12s.

Left in her wake were the cream of the world's female distance runners, who now have every reason to fear her in the Olympic 10,000 metres in August.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 09:27     [Perma-Link]

They also serve who do not compete in the half marathon - rain, hail or shine

By Heather Quinlan

Only one thing is more amazing than 4000 runners turning up for a race just after dawn on a wet, cold Sunday in May - and that's when all the race marshals arrive with smiles on their faces.

This 100-per-cent roll-up happened at The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon last year, when some of the worst wintery conditions - including torrential rain as the starting gun was fired - were experienced.

The volunteer marshals are mostly from running clubs and they fulfil their roles without any of the glory associated with competing in a major event, like achieving a personal best or even beating the person who starts next to you. Their reward is usually a muffin and a cuppa, a race T-shirt and a warm "thank you" from the organisers for taking on vital jobs, such as setting up roadside barriers, manning drink stations or directing runners.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 09:26     [Perma-Link]

Family runs can end in the odd quarrel

By Heather Quinlan

The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon is well known for its high standard of running - and maybe now its running battles.

For example, Bill Jessop of Picnic Point has demanded his wife Gina perform better in the race this year, while Gina thinks Bill should be getting out of bed for early morning runs like she does.

The Quarrells of Narrabeen have no arguments with each other, but Jo and Darren desperately want to win the under-34 husband-and-wife team category and beat off the verbal challenges of several other couples they know. Race day, May 23, will be their sixth wedding anniversary, after all.

Husbands and wives are proving to be the half marathon's hardiest team members, despite overall team numbers decreasing in 2003 due to the extraordinarily fast lodgment of entries in a restricted field of 4000.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 09:25     [Perma-Link]

Sydney race holds key to McCann's Athens spot

by Heather Quinlan

A few months ago, Australia's pre-eminent distance runner Kerryn McCann had lost sight of where her legs and feet could take her.

Heavily pregnant with her second child, McCann wondered whether her stellar career was drawing to a close.

Did she have it in her to qualify for a third Olympic Games, with only six months to produce the required times and a new baby and young son to raise?

The question of Olympic selection will be answered next month when Athletics Australia announces its Games team but there is no doubt in McCann's mind that she can make the side.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 09:25     [Perma-Link]

Benita's gold lifts Games chances

by Jenny McAsey

JUST hours after she became Australia's first medallist at a world cross-country championship, Benita Johnson predicted she would translate her success on to the track at the Athens Olympics.

The diminutive Johnson, 24, took on the might of Africa's distance runners in a field of 100 in Brussels on Saturday, storming home to win by more than 50m on a hilly 8km course, regarded as one of the hardest in the 32-year history of cross-country championships.

Her emphatic victory in 27min 17sec, ahead of Ethiopia's Dibaba Ejegayehu and Werknesh Kidane, came in the midst of heavy rain which made the course muddy and slippery.

``It gives me a lot of confidence going into Athens. I really do believe I can get a medal there in the 10,000m,'' Johnson said yesterday. ``I should be at a new level and even fitter for Athens. It will be a tough race, but I believe I can be right up there.''

Past winners of the world cross-country title include dual Olympic 10,000m champion Derartu Tulu, of Ethiopia, and 2000 Games 5000m silver medallist Sonia O'Sullivan, of Ireland. Johnson trains with O'Sullivan, who is the partner of her coach, Nic Bideau.

``The people who win this race generally go on to do great things that year,'' Bideau, who has coached Johnson for two years, said. ``This is one of the hardest races to win -- there are Olympic and world championships medallists all over the place. Today Benita can say she is the best female distance runner in the world.

``She is champion in a sport that everyone in the world does, or has done, at some stage in their life. Everyone has run the school cross-country race and she is the best at it.''

Mackay-born Johnson, who took up distance racing seriously only in 1997 after success as a junior hockey international, is proving to be one of Australia's steeliest athletes.

She holds the national 2km, 3km, 5km and 10km records and has written herself into the record books again as the first Australian to stand on the podium at the cross-country championships, revered by the world's best distance runners.

``To win Australia's first ever medal and make it a gold one is a good start for our country and hopefully other Australian runners can look at that and say we can beat these Africans and do well on the world stage,'' Johnson said.

In Brussels, she didn't fear either the dreadful weather or the dominant Africans, including defending world champion Kidane.

``It was very tough, it was cold, windy, wet and muddy, but I really believe in those sort of conditions, the fittest person is going to win. I wasn't fazed by it at all,'' Johnson said.

``I have had a lot of questions today about whether I believed I could win and I truly believed going into it that I could.

``I had beaten every one of the girls in the race individually over the last year, so just because there were a handful of Africans there to race doesn't mean they can't be beaten. I am the fittest I've ever been, so I just had to relax and make my move when I felt I could get a break.''

Johnson finished fifth last year in the short course (4km) race at the championships, the third time in succession she had finished in the top six. But she recalled how, after running third, she had been pipped just before the line by two Kenyans.

``That memory had been haunting me for a long time and I wasn't going to let it happen this time,'' she said.

``I have had a lot of disappointments at world cross in the last few years, missing medals, and I wasn't going to miss a medal this year.''

Johnson ran with the lead pack for the entire race at the Parc Van Laeken, but made her move at the final 2km loop.

``They don't particularly like the hills, so going into the final lap, there was a steep hill and that is where I made my first move because I could sense the Ethiopians were tiring.

Article from The Australian
Posted at 09:20     [Perma-Link]

Stunning Benita

Australian Benita Johnson has scored a stunning victory at the world cross-country championships to rocket into gold medal calculations for the Athens Olympics. Johnson powered away from Ethiopian duo Ejigayehu Dibaba and defending champion Werknesh Kidane to win the 8km race in Brussels yesterday in 27min 17sec. The 24-year-old Queenslander won by a clear 12 seconds. Left in her wake were the cream of the world's female distance runners, who now have every reason to fear her in the Olympic 10,000m in August. No Australian had previously won a medal of any colour at the annual world cross-country championships.

Article from The Advertiser
Posted at 09:19     [Perma-Link]

Johnson victory rivals Monna

Queenslander Benita Johnson has won the women's world eight-kilometre cross-country title in Belgium, the greatest performance by an Australian distance runner since Steve Moneghetti won bronze in the marathon at the 1997 world championships.

The Brussels long-course event is rated one of the world's toughest to win, ranked behind only the Olympic Games and the world track-and-field championships.

Johnson, who dedicated her win to Moneghetti, pulled away decisively from defending champion Worknesh Kidane of Ethiopia and Kidane's teammate Ejagayou Dibaba in the final lap on the 2000 metres loop. "I'm just so thrilled to win," she said.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 09:18     [Perma-Link]

Book Review

The Measure of Success: A Personal Perspective, Ron Clarke, Lothian Books, $34.95

While Jack Brabham was collecting world titles, Ron Clarke was breaking world long-distance running records - 19 of them. This plain-speaking tale is about growing up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, the importance of family (his brother, legendary Essendon captain Jack ``the architect'' Clarke, being an important presence in the book), and thrill and heartbreak on the world's great arenas - especially the 1968 Olympics in high-altitude Mexico City. But it is also about the idea of community and Clarke's generosity towards society's unsung heroes such as Diane Tribe-Bailey and her work with autistic children. His measures of success are family and philanthropic deeds, without which the life of the long-distance runner is indeed lonely.

Article from the The Age
Posted at 09:17     [Perma-Link]

Benita grabs world cross-country title

by MIKE HURST, Athletics writer

AFTER a long, hot summer back home -- during which her coach turned a blow-torch on Athletics Australia -- Benita Johnson ran into a gale-force winter storm in Belgium yesterday and forged a historic victory at the world cross-country championships.

In the 32-year history of the event, and dating much further back to even before the IAAF bestowed the world title, no Australian had won a medal of any colour.

Now Queenslander Johnson, 24, waif-like at 48kg and 166cm, has redressed the discrepancy saying: ``I reckon gold is a good place to start.'' Johnson's breakthrough first world crown on the muddy hills of Brussels' royal garden Parc Van Laeken came with team captain Steve Moneghetti on the verge of tears as he watched and cheered.

Moneghetti, who ran overnight in his 11th and probably last world cross-country race, had never cracked a coin in this event, just like his fellow greats including Ron Clarke, Derek Clayton, Rob de Castella and Lisa Ondieki.

They are in good company, as Johnson pointed out to The Daily Telegraph: ``Haile Gebrselassie [arguably history's greatest distance runner] hasn't ever won before. It's such an achievement.'' The world cross-country is the most competitive distance race in the world because each country may send up to six representatives, whereas there is a limit of three per nation at the world track and field championships and Olympic Games.

With discontent simmering still after Athletics Australia's $1.3million loss last financial year -- and an Australian Sports Commission review of AA now under way following Johnson's coach, Nic Bideau's call for the AA board to resign -- the gold medal shines like a beacon for the sport.

Referring to AA board member and review chairman Herb Elliott's unfortunate claim that he hadn't seen any world-class results from Bideau's coaching, Bideau retorted yesterday: ``Tell Herb Elliott when you see him, that's a world-class performance!'' Bideau added: ``Only Ethiopia and Australia won [Ethiopia swept the medals in the 4km men's short-course, led by Kenenisa Bekele, and junior girls races]. She beat the superstars, world record-holders, Olympic medalists.

``And she didn't just beat them, she thrashed them. She won by 70 metres.'' Australia, with Haley McGregor 17th, Anna Thompson 26th and Georgie Clarke 55th among the four scoring members, placed sixth in the 8km women's long-course race. Had Victorian Olympian Natalie Harvey (28th yesterday) not switched allegiance to Britain last month, it would have been Australia for the team bronze medal instead of Britain.

``This has really fired up Australian distance running and shown that we can beat these Africans,'' said Johnson, whose training partner, Geelong's Craig Mottram, was the first non-African finishing a highly creditable ninth in yesterday's short-course race.

Mottram, due to race the 12km overnight, might yet compete for Britain. His father is English and his mother a Scot.

``It's not as crazy as it sounds,'' he said. ``It is a definite possibility.'' But Johnson said she was ``determined to make the organisers search through their tapes to find Advance Australia Fair''.

``Ethiopians won everything else today. It was something different to listen to. It's been hard with some of the stuff [controversy] going on in Australia. We want to lift the sport.

``I honestly thought I could win the race. But doing it is another matter.

``I really believe there's a lot more to come. I can getter fitter and faster for the Olympics and I can get on the [medals] dais for the 10,000m.

``I think I've come on in leaps and bounds since the [track] world championships in Paris last August [where she took 50sec off Ondieki's national 10,000m record-finishing eighth] but the breakthrough was winning bronze in the world half-marathon championship in October [on debut].

Article from the Daily Telegraph.
Posted at 09:14     [Perma-Link]

Johnson primed for Athens gold

AUSTRALIAN Benita Johnson has scored a stunning victory at the world cross-country championships to rocket into gold medal calculations for the Athens Olympics.

Johnson powered away from Ethiopian duo Ejigayehu Dibaba and defending champion Werknesh Kidane to win the 8km race in Brussels yesterday in a time of 27 minutes 17 seconds.

The 24-year-old Queenslander won by a clear 12 seconds.

Left in her wake were the cream of the world's female distance runners, who now have every reason to fear her in the Olympic 10,000m in August.

``I've always believed in myself and my ability. I've beaten all of those girls in the last 12 months,'' said Johnson.

``I just had to beat them individually and run a smart race.''

No Australian had previously won a medal of any colour at the annual world cross-country championships, prompting Johnson's coach Nick Bideau to rate her performance as unequalled in her country's proud distance running history.

``[Robert] De Castella and [Steve] Moneghetti were the best we've ever had and they were never able to win this,'' he said.

Johnson ran with the lead group for the first 6km before making her move on the hill at the start of the final lap with 2km to go.

She continued to surge ahead and crossed the finish line more than 50m ahead of silver medallist Dibaba.

The only other runner in the top 10 not to hail from either Ethiopia or Kenya was eighth-placed Canadian Emilie Mondor.

``The number one thing is I know I can beat the Africans. [British marathon world record holder] Paula Radcliffe was a great role model for that,'' said Johnson.

``Mentally, I think a lot of runners from other countries just don't think they can beat them.

``I wanted the crowd to hear a different anthem to the Ethiopian one as they had heard it enough.

``I wanted the organisers to go scrabbling through the tape box to find an Australian one.''

Johnson's next competitive outing will be a 5km race in Carlsbad, California on March 28 as her focus shifts towards the Olympic 10,000m.

World 400m hurdles champion Jana Pittman remains Australia's best chance of track and field success in Athens, but Johnson now deserves to be ranked alongside pole vaulter Dmitri Markov as the other leading hopes for Olympic gold in the Games' showpiece sport.

Article from The Mercury
Posted at 09:13     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, March 21, 2004 

Benita Johnson wins IAAF World Cross Country Championships

Brussels, Belgium - Benita Johnson won Australia’s first ever medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships here at Parc Van Laeken, and then declared that her stirring performance to take the women’s long race title helped to show distance runners from around the world that the Africans are not unbeatable.

"I just didn’t want to hear the Ethiopian anthem again," the 24-year-old from Queensland said. "I was determined to make the organisers search through their tapes to find 'Advance Australia Fair'."

Johnson produced a performance of rugged courage, forcing the pace in the final two-kilometre lap of the 8km race to break away from her last remaining challengers, Ethiopia's defending champion Werknesh Kidane and her team mate, Ejegayehu Dibaba, to come home around 70 metres clear in 27:17, with Dibaba taking the silver medal in 27:29, five seconds clear of the fading Kidane.

Ethiopia took their third team medal of the day, with Kenya claiming silver ahead of an exultant team from Britain, who just 48 hours before the championships had lost their team captain, and seemingly any hope of a medal, when two-time champion Paula Radcliffe withdrew with a hamstring injury.

"Paula has shown us the way to beat the Africans," Johnson said. "It is really important that people from the rest of the world believe that they can beat the Africans. The Africans all train really hard, and we just have to train just as hard. Anyone can win the race if they have it up here," Johnson said, tapping her finger on the side of her head.

Coached by Nick Bideau, the partner of former champion Sonia O'Sullivan, Johnson's gold medal is the culmination of three years of solid progression against the world’s best distance runners at the World Cross. Last autumn, the Australian won bronze at the IAAF Half-marathon World Championship, but it has been at cross-country that Johnson has shown her greatest consistency.
"I’ve had sixth, fourth and fifth place finishes," she said. "Last year, I was about 20 metres from my first world medal… Losing there was huge motivation for me here."

And Johnson’s determination was written all over her face as a leading group of a dozen women set off in the midst of a gale-force rainstorm around the former royal gardens. Prominent in the leading group with Dibaba, Kidane and Johnson were Kenya's Alice Timbilili, Lorna Kiplagat, running for the Netherlands, Canada’s Emilie Mondor and Britain’s Kathy Butler. After heavy overnight rain and the day's two previous races, the course was becoming increasingly sticky in a number of places, a factor which Kidane found discomforting, but which Johnson relished. "I grew up in Mackay, and did lot of my training as a kid on the beach and on sand hills," she said. "You learn how to run well when the going's not so good."

With the halfway mark passed in 13:47, Kidane was working hard at the front. "I felt I had to take the lead because the pace was not fast and I needed to break up the field," last year’s World silver medallist at 10,000m explained. But with the leading group down to four with a lap to run, the decisive move was Johnson's as the leaders started their long uphill slog away from the grandstands. "I felt with the steep hill going into the last lap that the two Ethiopians girls were starting to tire," Johnson said.

"I was tired too, but I thought I had to give it a go. I was hurting real bad, but I really wanted that medal." By the time Johnson had crested the rise at the far side of the course, the gap to Kidane was 10 metres and growing. "It was really tough. It was a good cross-country course, really heavy with some hard hills, a true test of who is the fittest distance runner on the day."

Johnson came into the race straight from the Australian Olympic track trials in Melbourne, where she won the 10,000m, and clearly is at the top of her form. "Our country’s never won a medal at the World Cross before," she said, "and I reckon gold is a good place to start."

Steven Downes for the IAAF

Australian Summary

Women's Long Course
1st Benita Johnson 27:17
17th Haley McGregor 28:41
26th Anna Thompson 28:57
55th Georgie Clarke 30:07
84th Kylie Risk 32:04

6th Australia 99 pts

Men's Short Course
9th Craig Mottram 11:51
25th Michael Power 12:06
101st Alastair Stevenson 12:54
103rd Michael Shelley 13:00
115th David Ruschena 13:17

12th Australia 238 pts

32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships - Full Results

21 March 2004 - 6.38am
Brussels, Belgium. 20-21 March 2004
Courtesy of

Women's Long Course Cross Country
1   Johnson Benita  AUS 27:17 
2   Dibaba Ejegayehu  ETH 27:29 
3   Kidane Werknesh  ETH 27:34 
4   Timbilili Alice  KEN 27:36 
5   Erkesso Teyba  ETH 27:43 
6   Kiplagat Lornah  NED 27:56 
7   Jepkorir Eunice  KEN 27:59 
8   Mondor Émilie  CAN 28:01 
9   Domongole Fridah  KEN 28:03 
10   Barsosio Sally  KEN 28:08 
11   Butler Kathy  GBR 28:13 
12   Jevtic Olivera  SCG 28:18 
13   Yelling Liz  GBR 28:25 
14   Maury Margaret  FRA 28:29 
15   O'Neill Kate  USA 28:37 
16   Tulu Derartu  ETH 28:39 
17   McGregor Haley  AUS 28:41 
18   Tisi Patrizia  ITA 28:45 
19   Dahmani Zahia  FRA 28:46 
20   Ngotho Jane  KEN 28:47 
21   Sampaio Helena  POR 28:48 
22   Damen Louise  GBR 28:48 
23   Ritter Susanne  GER 28:53 
24   Chébili Rkia  FRA 28:56 
25   Newberry Kathy  USA 28:56 
26   Thompson Anna  AUS 28:57 
27   McGregor Katie  USA 28:57 
28   Harvey Natalie  GBR 28:58 
29   Yelling Hayley  GBR 29:00 
30   McKiernan Catherina  IRL 29:04 
31   Schwabe Annemarie  USA 29:05 
32   Stallwood Rebecca  CAN 29:06 
33   Klilech-Fauvel Fatiha  FRA 29:07 
34   Kipchumba Irene Kwambai  KEN 29:09 
35   Daunay Christelle  FRA 29:15 
36   Bak Justyna  POL 29:20 
37   Ichikawa Yoshiko  JPN 29:20 
38   O'Neill Laura  USA 29:27 
39   Deemay Josephine  TAN 29:31 
40   Rosa Analía  POR 29:38 
41   Ejjafini Nadia  BRN 29:38 
42   Aboulahcen Mounia  BEL 29:40 
43   Kuma Eyerusalem  ETH 29:41 
44   Recio Teresa  ESP 29:46 
45   Asahssah Malika  MAR 29:48 
46   Habtemariam Nebiat  ERI 29:51 
47   Aguilar Alessandra  ESP 29:52 
48   Ryan Rosemary  IRL 29:53 
49   Dias Ana  POR 29:59 
50   Yvelain Fatima  FRA 30:00 
51   Wahbi Kenza  MAR 30:01 
52   Sato Yumi  JPN 30:02 
53   Notagashira Miho  JPN 30:05 
54   Plá Judith  ESP 30:06 
55   Clarke Georgie  AUS 30:07 
56   Smolders Anja  BEL 30:08 
57   Rosa Mónica  POR 30:08 
58   Zambrano Maria  CAN 30:09 
59   Hailu Alemtsehay  ETH 30:12 
60   Machado Olga  POR 30:13 
61   Piedra Amaia  ESP 30:16 
62   Offergeld Kim  BEL 30:17 
63   Rody Kristina  CAN 30:17 
64   Ogoshi Kazue  JPN 30:20 
65   Izem Hafida  MAR 30:23 
66   Lopes Elisabete  POR 30:26 
67   Looper Antje  NED 30:26 
68   de Croock Stephanie  BEL 30:27 
69   Curley Pauline  IRL 30:27 
70   Mills Stephanie  CAN 30:28 
71   Byrne Jolene  IRL 30:31 
72   Montane Silvia  ESP 30:40 
73   Labrecque Lisa  CAN 30:42 
74   Kamangila Faith  ZIM 30:43 
75   Britton Fionnuala  IRL 30:43 
76   Debaets Corinne  BEL 30:49 
77   Nadym Drissia  MAR 30:52 
78   Ros Beatriz  ESP 30:55 
79   Austin Molly  USA 31:00 
80   Verthé Sylvie  BEL 31:11 
81   Joseph Restituta  TAN 31:27 
82   Joseph Emeliana  TAN 31:43 
83   O'Sullivan Niamh  IRL 31:48 
84   Risk Kylie  AUS 32:04 
85   Vieira Maria Lúcia Alves  BRA 32:13 
86   Apaza Rosa  BOL 32:19 
87   Maldonado Zenaida  PUR 32:54 
88   Monterroso Elsa  GUA 33:21 
89   Orlova Olesia  KGZ 33:23 
90   Díaz María  PUR 33:42 
91   Rendazza Regina  ISV 33:49 
92   Kirgizbaeva Veronika  UZB 35:37 
93   Hamilton Lisha  ISV 35:42 
94   David Ruth  ISV 38:12 
95   Witty Rachel  ISV 38:24 
96   Motorina Anna  TKM 40:06 
 Soud Kanbouchia  MAR DNF 
 Hussein Hawa  TAN DNS 
 Chikwakwa Catherine  MAW DNS 
 Yoshimatsu Hisae  JPN DNS 

Teams Event
1 Ethiopia 26
2 Kenya 30
3 Great Britain & N.I. 74
4 France 90
5 United States 98
6 Australia 99
7 Canada 161
8 Portugal 167
9 Spain 206
10 Japan 206
11 Ireland 218
12 Belgium 228
13 Morocco 238
14 Virgin Islands 373

Men's Short Course

1   Bekele Kenenisa  ETH 11:31 
2   Gebremariam Gebre-egziabher  ETH 11:36 
3   Zewdie Maregu  ETH 11:42 
4   Hassan Abdullah Ahmad  QAT 11:44 
5   Shaheen Saif Saaeed  QAT 11:44 
6   Kirui Eliud Kibet  KEN 11:45 
7   Songok Isaac Kiprono  KEN 11:45 
8   Zaman Sultan Khamis  QAT 11:50 
9   Mottram Craig  AUS 11:51 
10   Kaouch Adil  MAR 11:56 
11   Birhanu Dejene  ETH 11:56 
12   Suárez Alejandro  MEX 11:56 
13   Boukensa Tarek  ALG 11:57 
14   Garcia Carlos  ESP 11:58 
15   Tahri Bouabdallah  FRA 11:58 
16   Cragg Alistair Ian  IRL 11:58 
17   Sullivan Kevin  CAN 11:58 
18   Morrison Paul  CAN 11:59 
19   Chebii Abraham  KEN 11:59 
20   Muneria Kiplimo  KEN 12:00 
21   Songok Boniface Kiprotich  KEN 12:01 
22   Al-Ameeri Abdulaziz Abdelrahman  QAT 12:03 
23   Saadoun Ali Al-Dawoodi  QAT 12:05 
24   Es-Saadi Ridouane  BEL 12:06 
25   Power Michael  AUS 12:06 
26   Moussaoui Samir  ALG 12:06 
27   Chopa Damian Paul  TAN 12:07 
28   Ouerdi Zouhair  MAR 12:09 
29   Adelo Hussan  ETH 12:10 
30   Ezzine Hamid  MAR 12:11 
31   Awel Mohamed  ETH 12:12 
32   Kibowen John  KEN 12:12 
33   Gary Robert  USA 12:12 
34   Nicolas Benoit  FRA 12:14 
35   Pusterla Umberto  ITA 12:15 
36   Watson Luke  USA 12:17 
37   Graffin Andrew  GBR 12:19 
38   Khaldi Mohamed  ALG 12:20 
39   Waldeselassie Amanuel  ERI 12:21 
40   Teixeira Mário  POR 12:22 
41   Bourgeois Joël  CAN 12:23 
42   Willis Nicholas  NZL 12:23 
43   Bourfaa Noureddine  ALG 12:23 
44   Caliandro Cosimo  ITA 12:23 
45   Damião Manuel  POR 12:23 
46   Rebenciuc Sandu  USA 12:23 
47   Borms Wim  BEL 12:24 
48   Cordes Jared  USA 12:24 
49   Jiménez Antonio David  ESP 12:25 
50   Abdallah Ali  ERI 12:25 
51   Ezzine Ali  MAR 12:26 
52   Hayden Ryan  CAN 12:26 
53   Wójcik Rafal  POL 12:27 
54   Marofit Mourad  MAR 12:27 
55   Maduro José  POR 12:27 
56   Nyasango Cuthbert  ZIM 12:27 
57   Naïli Ahmed  ALG 12:28 
58   Connor Ian  USA 12:29 
59   Blanco José Luis  ESP 12:30 
60   Festa Isaiah  USA 12:30 
61   Manirazika Egide  BDI 12:31 
62   Coolsaet Reid  CAN 12:31 
63   Piedra Byron  ECU 12:32 
64   Connolly Robert  IRL 12:32 
65   Perrone Lorenzo  ITA 12:33 
66   Silva Rui Pedro  POR 12:33 
67   Munthali Francis  MAW 12:34 
68   Sekletov Aleksandr  RUS 12:35 
69   Kifletsion Habtai  ERI 12:36 
70   Benz Thomas  SUI 12:36 
71   Martínez Antonio Manuel  ESP 12:36 
72   Viciosa Isaac  ESP 12:37 
73   Vögeli Daniel  SUI 12:37 
74   Crepaldi Gianni  ITA 12:38 
75   Zahraoui Abdelhalim  MAR 12:38 
76   Cantin Jayson  CAN 12:38 
77   Pimentel Licinio  POR 12:39 
78   Van Den Velde Stijn  BEL 12:39 
79   Margeirsson Sveinn  ISL 12:40 
80   Benhari El-Mokhtar  FRA 12:40 
81   Abraham Aléxis  FRA 12:40 
82   Jenni Walter  SUI 12:41 
83   Ninga Mussa Mohamed  TAN 12:42 
84   Pilaluisa Cesar  ECU 12:42 
85   Buc Boštjan  SLO 12:43 
86   Shapovalov Pavel  RUS 12:43 
87   Birchall Robert  GBR 12:44 
88   Ficagna Celso  BRA 12:45 
89   Bandi Philippe  SUI 12:45 
90   Buck Rees  NZL 12:45 
91   Vermeiren Johan  BEL 12:45 
92   Orlov Aleksandr  RUS 12:46 
93   Baddeley Andrew  GBR 12:46 
94   Ghoulam Nabil  FRA 12:46 
95   Saifeldin Khamis Abdullah  QAT 12:49 
96   Iwamizu Yoshitaka  JPN 12:50 
97   Morales Jonathan  MEX 12:50 
98   Gurkin Aleksey  RUS 12:51 
99   Ribeiro Pedro  POR 12:52 
100   Chancusig Edgar  ECU 12:53 
101   Stevenson Alastair  AUS 12:54 
102   Nieves Néstor  VEN 12:56 
103   Shelley Michael  AUS 13:00 
104   Desmedt Frederic  BEL 13:01 
105   Adhanom Abrha  ERI 13:03 
106   Akkas Halil  TUR 13:03 
107   Cedazo Yair  MEX 13:03 
108   Martínez Víctor  AND 13:06 
109   Mächler Michael  SUI 13:06 
110   Bagrev Denis  KGZ 13:08 
111   Arias Richard  ECU 13:09 
112   Hernandez Cayetano  MEX 13:09 
113   Gallardo Sergio  ESP 13:12 
114   Tesfay Micxhael  ERI 13:14 
115   Ruschena David  AUS 13:17 
116   Van Rooy Rom  BEL 13:18 
117   García Perez Miguel Ángel  VEN 13:19 
118   Margeirsson Björn  ISL 13:20 
119   Sinitsyn Alexandr  KAZ 13:21 
120   Awadah Hussein  LIB 13:23 
121   Rogart Stephen  TAN 13:24 
122   Sansa Josep  AND 13:24 
123   Stucki Pius  SUI 13:26 
124   Almassri Nader  PLE 13:27 
125   Greaux Alexander  PUR 13:28 
126   Labiche Antoine Simon  SEY 13:29 
127   Iñiguez Moisés  MEX 13:29 
128   Irmatov Nozimjon  TJK 13:31 
129   Nemec Dario  CRO 13:31 
130   Aliyev Aazam  UZB 13:33 
131   Kifleyesus Misgina  ERI 13:45 
132   Tonchinski Uladzimir  BLR 13:50 
133   Santivañez Beltran Mario Jorge  BOL 13:55 
134   Gafarov Fikret  AZE 13:56 
135   Ndayisenga Jean-Berchmans  BDI 13:57 
136   Marie Ronny  SEY 13:58 
137   Arngrímson Sigurbjörn Arni  ISL 14:02 
138   Nurmuradov Serdar  TKM 14:22 
139   Escajadillo Vladimir  PER 14:43 
 Athamna Noureddine  ALG DNF 
 González Freddy  VEN DNS 
 Pangiso Kelvin  ZIM DNS 
 Gidabuday Julius  TAN DNS 

Teams Event
1 Ethiopia 17
2 Qatar 39
3 Kenya 52
4 Morocco 119
5 Algeria 120
6 Canada 128
7 United States 163
8 Spain 193
9 Portugal 206
10 France 210
11 Italy 218
12 Australia 238
13 Belgium 240
14 Eritrea 263
15 Switzerland 314
16 Mexico 328
17 Russia 344
18 Ecuador 358

Benita @ IAAF World Cross Country Champs

Benita’s complete results at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships:
2001 6th, 2002 4th, 2003 5th, 2004 1st [2001-2003 short course, 2004 long course]

Australia’s Top-10 finishers

Australia’s Top-10 finishers at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships:
1st Benita Johnson 2004
4th Steve Moneghetti 1989
4th Benita Johnson 2002
5th Benita Johnson 2003
5th Jackie Perkins 1989
5th Craig Mottram 2002
5th Susie Power 1993 [junior race]
6th Benita Johnson 2001
6th Steve Moneghetti 1992
6th Rob de Castella 1981
6th Rob de Castella 1983
8th Craig Mottram 2001
8th Krishna Stanton 1987
9th Craig Mottram 2004
9th Suzy Walsham 1989 [junior race]
9th Melissa Rollison 2002 [junior race]
10th Rob de Castella 1982

Posted at 11:02     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, March 20, 2004 

Cathy Freeman Tribute Dinner

A Cathy Freeman Tribute Dinner is organised for next month, and all interested parties are invited to be a part of it - the details are:

Event: Cathy Freeman Tribute
Date: Wednesday 21st April, 2004
Venue: The Palladium at Crown, L1 Crown Towers, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank, Melbourne
Time: 7.00pm for 7.30pm
Dress: After five
Tickets: $99.00 per person, or $990 per table of 10
Bookings: From Ticketmaster7 from Monday 22 March, phone 136-100

Phone your friends and coordinate a table of 10 & then call ticketmaster7 to make your booking. Get yourself organised so that you don't miss the opportunity to be a part of this great celebration.

Cathy Freeman will get the farewell function her career achievements warrant at a tribute dinner to be hosted by Eddie McGuire at Crown Casino next month. The dinner, on Wednesday, April 21, will offer Freeman's friends, fans and sponsors the chance to say "goodbye" after a career spanning almost 15 years and crowned by her gold medal in the 400 metres at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Freeman drifted into retirement just before last year's world championships in Paris with the acknowledgement that she no longer had the drive and will to succeed at the highest levels of the sport. She had two heavy defeats at the hands of the Mexican runner Ana Guevara,
who is favoured to succeed her as Olympic champion in Athens later this year.

"My heart's not in it," Freeman said at the time. The announcement of Freeman's retirement came after a realisation that a lack of motivation meant her goal of defending her Olympic title in Athens was unattainable.

The tribute function will honour Freeman's career, which started, at senior level, with a gold medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games and effectively ended with another relay gold medal in The 4 x 400 metres at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.
Posted at 23:40     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, March 19, 2004 

Lest We Forget time of year

Athletics Australia and the RSL invite you to get involved in the annual "LEST WE FORGET RUN" on Sunday May 2nd 2004. This National fun run commemorates the ANZAC spirit and will be held at over 60 locations worldwide. This run (walk) is designed to remember admirable Australians - relatives, pioneers or members of the Armed Services who served to give us the lifestyle we enjoy today."

The Lest We Forget Run will be held simultaneously across Australia - In capital cities, regional centres, country towns, plus various military bases across Australia.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 15:32     [Perma-Link]

World Cross Preview

This weekend, a team of Australian athletes will contest the 32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Brussels, Belgium (20/21 March 2004). Read on for Australian team competition times and event previews.

Saturday 20th March 2004:
- 13.30/11:30pm AEST: Seniors Men’s Short Race (4 Km): AUSSIES IN ACTION: Craig Mottram (V), Michael Power (V), David Ruschena (V), Michael Shelley (Q), Alastair Stevenson (Q)
- 14.10/12:10am Sunday AEST: Seniors Women’s Long Race (8 Km): AUSSIES IN ACTION: Georgie Clarke (V), Benita Johnson (V), Haley McGregor (V), Kylie Risk (T), Anna Thompson (V)

Sunday 21st March 2004:
- 14.05/12:05am Monday AEST: Women’s Short Race (4 Km): AUSSIES IN ACTION: Sarah Jamieson (V), Benita Johnson (V), Haley McGregor (V), Anna Thompson (V)
- 14.45/12:45am Monday AEST: Seniors Men’s Long Race (12 Km): AUSSIES IN ACTION: Brett Cartwright (S),Andrew Letherby (Q), Steve Moneghetti (V), Craig Mottram (V), Shane Nankervis (V), Lee Troop (V)

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 15:31     [Perma-Link]

Club kicked goals, we're the winners


THE Rotary Club of Lindfield and its erstwhile president, Stewart Grant had two wins last week. In both cases we will be the beneficiary.

Early Sunday morning Andrew Humpherson blew the starter's gun on the annual Lindfield fun run.

More than a thousand runners and spectators gathered to the dulcet tones of Century 21's Craig Marshall.

When not selling houses, this man and his team bob up at just about anything at the heart of our community.

Supported strongly by Chatswood Classic Cars and a host of local businesses, we set off on the 5km run.

The experts had already gone off on their 10km sprint.

The event has clearly damaged my standing with local residents I was easily overtaken by children chatting about all the ``old people running''.

Then what's a bloke supposed to do when barely managing to run up a hill between two breathless ladies pushing prams, and one says: ``any self respecting politician would at this point offer to take over!''

But again, there they were SES volunteers, St John Ambulance and Rotarians lined the streets, cleared traffic and tended to everything from watering guide dogs to resuscitating the weary.

Every dollar will be reinvested in community projects, especially in support of young people.

The second goal Rotary kicked last week represents two years of hard work.

Ku-ring-gai councillors unanimously endorsed a motion put by Elaine Malicki that the development application for KYDS Ku-ring-gai Youth Development Service be approved.

KYDS is the much needed, and overdue, brainchild of Rotary.

To be based at Lindfield Library, it will provide professional counselling to young people in trouble.

Which kids? Our kids.

If you are looking at your 10-year-old and turning the page thinking this can never happen to you, think again.

Drug use alone by teenage children is close to being the majority experience of parents. For a number of those it will begin a spiral of detachment, disengagement and severe family disruption.

More than a few North Shore families have brutally and suddenly been ripped from school cadet parades and rugby matches to rave parties, truancy, the science of hydroponics and a sense of utter helplessness.

KYDS now needs money. Sunday's fun run is a good start.

But the real test of our community will be the extent to which business and individuals can get behind this badly needed service. Rotary believes in us.

We should now show them that we also believe in them.

Article from the North Shore Times
Posted at 15:29     [Perma-Link]

Games officials didn't care

by Ron Reed

AUSTRALIA'S greatest distance runner, Ron Clarke, knowingly risked his life trying to win an Olympic gold medal, which you would think might have elicited a little sympathy or concern from the powers that be -- or were.

Apparently not.

``... not one Olympic official, be they members of the IOC, the Australian Olympic Federation or the Victorian Olympic Council, nor any official of the International Athletics Federation, at the time or since then, has ever consoled, commiserated, queried or even spoken to me about my experience in Mexico City,'' Clarke says in a new book.

The Melbourne-born champion, who now lives in Queensland and is running -- so to speak -- for mayor of the Gold Coast, makes his disillusionment with the Olympic system clear in his autobiography, The Measure of Success.

And after launching it yesterday, he told this column that he continued to worry about it.

Asked if the movement was in good shape, he said: ``It is if you judge it by being rich. But it's in bad shape if you judge it by its ethics and credibility.

``The new president, Jacques Rogge, is a good one, but they've had some really bad ones and some awfully shonky deals.

``When you've got a self-elected body you're going to get deals done and people who shouldn't be there.''

Of the potential for corruption, he said: ``The main problem is the money available now. It's huge. They're richer than the UN and think they're more important.''

Clarke, who set 19 world records but has often been criticised for his failure to win at the Olympic or Commonwealth Games, remains angry about the circumstances surrounding his ill-fated attempt at the 10,000m in 1968.

Mexico City is 2380m above sea level, which gave athletes from high-altitude countries a big advantage.

Well beforehand, he says in the book, he was startled to hear Ethiopian marathon star Abebe Bikila's coach issue a quietly spoken but ominous warning.

``An Olympic athlete will always do his utmost, but few of them will have any idea of what the lack of oxygen can do to those who who are not used to altitude,'' said the coach, Onni Niskanen.

``Sudden -- blackout. There will be those who will die.''

Says Clarke: ``To say I was concerned would be a gross understatement. I believed my potential wouldn't be fulfilled unless I won an Olympic gold. Yet to try for it, I would have to overcome insurmountable odds, even risk my life.''

He says officials, internationally and in Australia, refused to take the issue on board because they didn't want any criticism of the wisdom of staging the Games at such an unsuitable venue.

The story of the race is well known. Exhausted, Clarke finished sixth and collapsed unconscious, starved of oxygen.

Years later, he was shocked to discover he had a faulty heart that required surgery. He has no doubt it was caused by that race.

``Without question, my problem came about as a direct result of the ignorance of the International Olympic Committee,'' he says.

Clarke, who turned to athletics after an unsuccessful attempt to join his older brother Jack in the Essendon football team, is 67 and perhaps one of his triumphs is that he is still here to tell his tale of sport, business, life and love.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 11:58     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, March 18, 2004 

Lack of depth shows work needed


THE state track and field championships produced an interesting mix of excellence but lack of depth in some events.

A handful of athletes performed close to, or up to, national medal standard.

Graham Hicks was a standout in the discus, showing the form that gave him the national silver medal two weeks earlier.

The sprinting of Melissa Kay and Morgan Whiley was exciting and both can achieve more in the next few years.

They both possess an ability to perform on the day, which must help them take the next step and press for national selection, maybe for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

It's a pity some of our best athletes were missing, mainly through injury.

Having Simon Bresnehan, Shaun Bailey, Tao Baker and Nic Davidson there would have stiffened up the men's sprints, and North-West athletes Emma Marshall and Madelin Poke would have improved the women's ranks.

Tasmania's throwing stocks, on a weekly basis, have slipped since Hicks went to Victoria, along with hammer thrower Justin McDonald.

There are plenty of very promising younger athletes coming along, but getting them to take the next few steps won't be easy.

* * *

IT'S that time of year when the excitement of the track and field titles gives way to the fun run season.

First cab off the rank in the major fun runs is the Round the River Run on April 18.

The runs of 10km and 5km start at Lindisfarne and Kangaroo Bay respectively and finish at Wentworth Park.

There is also a 2.5km run for younger competitors.

Entry forms will be about in the next week or so and the run is an ideal start to a busy time, which includes the famed City to Casino Fun Run in May.

* * *

THE final round of Athletics South interclub competition provides a chance to have fun, but athletes can get lucky with good prizes available in some events.

Competition starts at 1pm and among the many events planned is a three-hour decathlon.

There are 120m and 300m handicap races and ``nominated time'' events, such as the Gary Sayer 100 yards, in which the winner is the person who can best nominate their winning time.

A similar formula is planned for the high jump.

Article from The Mercury
Posted at 14:07     [Perma-Link]

Jackie misses out

GOLD Coast triathlete cum distance runner Jackie Gallagher missed the Olympic A-qualifying time for the marathon by just 40 seconds in Japan on Sunday.

Gallagher, a former triathlon world champion now coaching the sport, took three minutes off her best in clocking 2hrs 32min 40sec which moved her to sixth on the Australian all-time list.

She finished ninth in the Nagoya Women's International Marathon won by Japan's Reiko Tosa.

The former world triathlon champion and 2002 Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist is head triathlon coach at the AIS in Canberra.

The 36-year-old retired from a successful triathlon and duathlon career in 2000 and made her marathon debut in 2002 in Boston.

Article from the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Posted at 14:03     [Perma-Link]

Elliott to front shake-up

OLYMPIC great Herb Elliott has reportedly been chosen as the man to shake up the embattled Athletics Australia (AA), five months out from the Athens Games.

Elliott, arguably Australia's greatest track athlete, is a board member of AA and a former deputy chairman of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).

ABC television reported last night the 1960 gold medallist would head an ASC review into track and field's governing body.

Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp announced the review earlier this month in the wake of calls for the board to resign and following revelations it had debts of $1.3 million.

It was a response to the deepening crisis within the sport, evidenced when sprinter Lauren Hewitt called for chief executive Simon Allatson's resignation and Victorian coach Nic Bideau asked for the entire AA board to resign.

The recent Olympic selection trials were overshadowed by in-fighting within the sport when distance running coach Said Aouita threatened to quit the country because he was sick of the squabbles with Victorian coaches and athletes.

By the end of the trials, former world record holder Aouita had shifted his attack to Australia's head coach Keith Connor, accusing him of being a control freak.

Article from the Townsville Bulletin.
Posted at 14:01     [Perma-Link]

Canberra marathon entries close

Runners from around Australia and overseas have responded to the call for entries for next month’s New Balance Canberra Marathon, inaugural Kids Marathon and the Marathon Eve 5km and 10km Fun Run.

Entries are flooding into the race office this week as participants take advantage of the final opportunity to lodge postal or faxed entries which close this Friday 19 March.

Based on entries received to date, all indications are that the size of the marathon field will be the largest since 1985.

There has been plenty of interest from both experienced and novice runners with almost one third of the marathon entrants making their debut over the 42.195 km distance.

The marathon is on Sunday morning 18 April with the fun run on Saturday afternoon 17 April. The Kids Marathon will also be held on Sunday morning. There are no late entries for the Kids Marathon so children have their final opportunity to enter this Friday.

Late entries will be accepted for all other events but entry will only be available on race weekend.

Entry forms for all events are available at

Dave Cundy
17 March 2004
Ph: 02 43427611

Posted at 13:38     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, March 17, 2004 

Arthur puts foot in it - Veteran wins tough race for third time


VETERAN Paul Arthur struggled to get out of bed on Monday morning after another marathon effort at the weekend.

Arthur, 36, won the gruelling six foot track marathon in the Blue Mountains for the second year running and third time overall.

The 47km torture test is regarded as the toughest off-road marathon in Australia and one of the hardest in the world.

``I'm struggling to do anything today,'' said Arthur, who returned to the spotlight with a gutsy win in last year's Sydney marathon.

``The older you get the harder it gets but it's all worth it when you win a race as hard as that.

``It's without doubt the toughest race I've ever been in.''

Arthur, of Chittaway Bay, first hit the national scene in 1994 when he won the Sydney City to Surf.

That win proved he had what it took to compete at the top level.

``The hills in the six foot track marathon make Heartbreak Hill look like an ant hill,'' Arthur said.

``The first 15km is downhill and the rest is uphill, it's very tough.

``At times it's hard to breathe.''

Arthur is focused on retaining his Sydney marathon title.

He also said representing Australia at a major competition before he hung up the joggers was a goal.

``The Olympics is out of reach but I'm looking at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, that's not out of the question if I keep fit and focused,'' he said.

Article from the Central Coast Express.
Posted at 09:46     [Perma-Link]

Madeleine ready to go the distance

THE ``Southerners'' from the Illawarra Academy of Sport are bragging again about their success on the national stage -- and justifiably so.

Distance runner Madeline Heiner -- a scholarship holder at the IAS -- has been named in the Australian team for the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Grosseto, Italy.

Heiner, from Mangerton, was among the 38 athletes selected for the Australian World Junior team.

Article from the Daily Telegraph
Posted at 09:37     [Perma-Link]

Athletics gag call is no joke

EMBATTLED Athletics Australia chief executive Simon Allatson admitted he has called for a gag on athletes who 'air the organisation's dirty laundry' following weeks of criticism from disgruntled athletes and industry figures.

Allatson said he is in talks with AA's Athletes Commission in a bid to restrict what athletes say to the media and wants to penalise those who publicly criticise AA and its governing methods.

The moves follow outbursts from several athletes led by sprinter Lauren Hewitt who called for Allatson's head after the Olympic trials two weeks ago.

Gold Coast hammer thrower Aaron Fish, who copped a two-year ban last week for refusing a drug test last year, also weighed in this week and claimed Allatson had 'no idea' when it came to money.

But Allatson, who took the top job at AA in 1999, said he was dismayed by Fish and the way he and other athletes are allowed to air their grievances to the media and the public - with no recourse for punishment.

He urged athletes to approach AA with any problems before going public.

"It is very easy to come out to the media and complain about 'X' issue when a simple phone call to us would sort that problem out straight away," said Allatson.

"I don't know of any other sport where athletes are in the position to openly criticise their governing body with little or no consequences - I don't think it does the sport any favours to have its dirty laundry aired in a public forum.

"There is a level of maturity amongst athletes that has to be developed, and I am not just referring to Aaron's case. There have been a number of athletes who have conducted themselves in a mischievous and inappropriate way recently."

Allatson's plans for a media muzzle enraged Hewitt who snapped back at the CEO in defence of free speech and accused him of double standards.

"The only reason Simon wants to enforce this sort of thing is because there have been criticisms directed at him," said Hewitt, who claimed she only made her case to the media after her complaints fell on deaf ears at AA.

"If criticisms are directed elsewhere he tends not to have a problem with it."

Backed by a large percentage of the Australian team, Hewitt initially approached AA board of directors chairman Andrew Forrest before meeting Athletes Commission co-chair Lee Naylor.

"I told them we weren't happy with the way things were going and that a lot of athletes had a problem with the way money was being spent," said Hewitt .

"I was basically ignored. Nothing was done. The only response I got back from Simon was that he felt we were being 'too passionate' about what goes on at AA."

"After that it got out to the media. I didn't mean to be controversial but I just felt so strongly about this.

"I was speaking for a lot of athletes. We all feel there is not enough money going into grassroots level athletics.

"There is not a lot of money going anywhere. That is our major problem. Where is the money going?"

In a boost to Hewitt's cause, distance-running legend Ron Clarke has thrown his support behind moves to shake-up AA and attacked Allatson's proposal to halt an athlete's right to free speech.

The Gold Coast mayoral candidate accused Allatson of having 'thin skin' amidst the recent stream of criticisms.

"I don't believe in gagging of any kind," said Clarke.

"If someone says something defamatory then sue them but if the criticism is warranted then that person has a right to be heard. If an organisation is so thin-skinned that they can't handle criticism then they shouldn't be in the positions."

Article from the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Posted at 09:34     [Perma-Link]

Magnus Qualifies For World Half Marathon

Running in a cold 6 degrees and rain Magnus Michelsson placed 9th in a time of 63m29s in the 26th annual Inuyama Half Marathon, held near Nagoya in Japan on Sunday 29th of February.

Magnus had run a personal best 10,000m time of 29m33s on the Homebush Track just 62 hours earlier and has sounded a warning to the other Athens Marathon qualifiers.

The winner of the half marathon, Tomohiko Sumi, ran 63m13s after the lead pack had run together until the last kilometre. In a tight finish where the last 60m was on a muddy baseball field, Magnus was accidentally elbowed by one of the five runners who finished together in the space of a few metres.

The lead pack had consistently run under 3 minute kilometre pace with times of 14:45 (5k), 29:51 (10k) and 44:52 (15k).

Magnus said afterwards that he felt reasonably good for the whole race and the result helped justify being away for his wifes birthday.

Magnus has recovered well from the run and says that he is in the best condition of his running career.

Posted at 00:06     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, March 15, 2004 

Gallagher's marathon miss

JACKIE Gallagher, a triathlon world champion now coaching the sport, missed the Olympic A-qualifying time for the marathon by just 40 seconds yesterday.

Gallagher, 36, took three minutes off her best in clocking 2hrs 32min 40sec which moved her to sixth on the Australian all-time list. She finished ninth in the Nagoya international race won by Japan's Reiko Tosa. --MIKE HURST
Article from the Daily Telegraph
Posted at 13:22     [Perma-Link]

Athletes warned of fines: Hewitt

by Sharon Mathieson, Len Johnson with AAP

Athletics Australia is considering fining athletes who continue to criticise the sport's beleaguered administration, according to Lauren Hewitt.
The sprinter said AA's chief executive, Simon Allatson, had called for athletes to be punished for bringing the sport into disrepute, adopting a similar policy to that used by most football codes. Allatson would not comment on the plan yesterday, saying it was Sunday and not a day to be talking to the media.

``Simon has now come out and said athletes should be fined if they speak out to the media,'' Hewitt said. ``I find that quite ironic. He was trying to relate it to the AFL football and cricket clubs. They're under contract and not allowed to say anything negative about their sport, which is fine, but they're on a minimum of $30,000 a year.

``It's a little bit different than a couple of physios and a couple of airfares from Athletics Australia.''

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:16     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, March 11, 2004 

Athletics a rabble says Games bigwig

by Mike HURST

THE chairman of Australia's Olympic selectors has written a scathing commentary on the demise of athletics that has landed like a letterbomb at the sport's headquarters.

David Culbert, a dual (1988-92) Olympic long jump representative and finalist, wrote the damning critique to Andrew Forrest, chairman of AA's board of directors.

The Daily Telegraph has obtained a copy of the letter -- a passionate plea for change -- which was also sent to the six state athletics association presidents who have the collective power to dismiss the board.

Culbert is annoyed his letter has been leaked but it has caused further major waves in the sport in the countdown to the Athens Olympics.

In particular, Culbert said he was disturbed that the domestic grand prix series had been degraded in value to competitors and spectators in the four years since the Sydney Olympics.

``The sport's demise is most evident in Melbourne, the historical domain of a vibrant and passionate athletics scene, where the sport is now lifeless and without vigour,'' charged Culbert.

``The most obvious example of this is the collapse of the Melbourne Track Classic. What was once the showcase of track and field in this country and an exciting evening of entertainment has been decimated by a lack of vision and commitment.

``Its status as a member of the IAAF grand prix circuit is now in jeopardy with only an act of grace by the IAAF likely to save it from removal from the international calendar.

``The demise of the event in Melbourne has been matched by the devastation of the domestic series in its entirety.

``The series is currently at the lowest point in its history -- its rapid decline due to the strategies and policies implemented by the current administration.

``Most importantly of all, the ability of athletes at all levels to achieve their goals and dreams has been stymied by the organisation's lack of expertise and application.

``As chairman of selectors I am saddened to constantly hear of the low levels of morale amongst athletes, coaches and volunteer officials.

``As a former athlete I feel sorry for our current stars when they talk of the demise of the sport they love and I am sad that they don't have the chance to experience some of the excitement I enjoyed when competing during the domestic meets in the 1990s.

``As a key member of the Athletics Australia staff driving the marketing and promotion of the sport during that time it saddens me to see the series that we worked so hard to create and build torn apart.''

Culbert also attacked the financial management which saw AA declare a $1.3million loss last financial year.

Culbert wrote: ``Of course the domestic series is the shop window, but the sport has faired even more disastrously at the cash register.

``The 2003 accounts show a loss of $1.3million -- a financial result described as `picking up a stone in the shoe' by the administration.

``The consistent delivery of ill-conceived and poorly implemented strategies over four years has left the sport weak and unable to maximise the opportunities of an Olympic year and incapable of benefiting fully from the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

``Of course $1.3million dollars could provide $13,000 scholarships to 100 athletes, bring to Australia 20 of the best athletes in the world to compete against our own athletes to assist them to qualify for major championships and achieve their dreams, provide a $1000 equipment grant to 1300 clubs or purchase commercial TV airtime for the domestic season for the next four years.''

Expressing his frustration at AA's attempt to diminish the influence of three of the most knowledgeable Australians in the sport -- Brian Roe, Maurie Plant and Nic Bideau -- Culbert appealed to AA board members to come to their senses and take the trio's advice.

``I ask that you consult with those intentionally cast aside or sidelined by the current administration,'' Culbert wrote.

``I ask that you acknowledge the current issues facing the organisation rather than persist with the continual denial of the very real issues that currently exist and seriously consider what is best for the sport in the interests of the athletes, coaches and officials of today and of the future.''

Article from The Australian
Posted at 14:14     [Perma-Link]

Shane joins Mona

By David Brehaut

SHANE Nankervis has been added to the Australian team for the World Cross Country Championships in Belgium next month, giving Ballarat two representatives.

Nankervis joins veteran Steve Moneghetti in the six-man long course team.

Nankervis and South Australian Brett Cartwright have been added to the initial squad of Moneghetti, Geelong duo Craig Mottram and Lee Troop, and Andrew Letherby from Queensland.

While Moneghetti is coming out of retirement at international level to contest his 11th world cross country titles, Nankervis will be making his debut in the 12-kilometre event in Brussels .

However, Nankervis is not new to the international stage.

He represented Australia in the marathon at the World Track and Field Championships in Paris last year.

The human movement student at the University of Ballarat wants to use the cross country championships on March 20-21 as a stepping stone to selection for the marathon at the Athens Olympic Games later this year.

He will go from Brussels to the Rotterdam Marathon on April 4, when he needs to run 2:11.54 to have a chance of selection in the Australian team.

Nankervis said the cross country championships would provide the ideal lead-up to Rotterdam.
He forced his way into the cross country team after running a personal best in the Australian 10km championship in Sydney late last month.

Nankervis said after getting over an interrupted start to this campaign as a result of a shin problem, everything had fallen into place.

One of his prime objectives this year was to compete in the world cross country championships.

"The doors keep opening."

Now that this has been achieved, he is determined to make his Olympic ambition a reality.

Nankervis is looking forward to running with Moneghetti, who, in Brussels, will be competing in his 28th Australian team.

"He's a great inspiration.

"It's going to be great being alongside him," Nankervis said.

Australia is taking 16 men and women to the championships.

Article from the The Courier
Posted at 14:12     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, March 10, 2004 

Dessaix-Chin contemplates winter season

Wollongong runner Russell Dessaix-Chin is recovering from a long but successful track campaign before turning his thoughts to the domestic cross-country and road racing season which starts late autumn.

Much of Dessaix-Chin's formative years was spent running up and down a mountain near Bega.

He later came to Wollongong to attend university.

Dessaix-Chin capped off a solid national championships in Sydney last weekend with a courageous 5000m race, running his third fastest time (14:27) over the distance to finish 12th Australian.

Victoria's Craig Mottram (13:31) took over the lead after two kilometres and was never threatened as he recorded a 12sec victory over Queensland's Peter Nowill (13:43) and fellow Victorian Mike Power (13:43).

Dessaix-Chin, who made a last-minute decision to run in the 5000m trial, was happy with his effort, hoping just to finish the race.

``I ended up kind of enjoying the race, I had put so much pressure on myself for the 10 (10,000m) it was refreshing to just go out and relax, and I ended up running pretty well, considering I had run a 10,000m two nights before,'' Dessaix-Chin said.

``I ran off the back of the pack for the first few kilometres just to see how my legs were going to hold up.

``They felt pretty good so I kicked it down coming home and passed a few people who had spent themselves too early, so that was quite encouraging."

Dessaix-Chin did not make the Australian Olympic team for Athens this year ... but Beijing awaits in 2008.

Article from the Illawarra Mercury.
Posted at 13:18     [Perma-Link]

Have fun on the run

IF A 5km or 10km run is your idea of fun, then the Moonee Valley Classic is for you.

The 8th annual fun run will be held this Sunday and there are cash prizes on offer.

Starting and finishing at the Moonee Valley Athletics Track, Corio St, Moonee Ponds, the Moonee Valley Classic is a community fun run along the Maribyrnong River. Participants of all ages and abilities can choose to run or jog the 5km or 10km circuit.

There are 5km and 10km male and female events as well as a 5km team event.

A healthy brunch will be provided for competitors after the event.

Spot prizes will also be handed out including gym memberships, sporting apparel and vouchers. A presentation will be held for the winners at 11am.

Race start time is 9.30am and registrations will be taken from 7.30am to 9am.

Race briefing and warm up will be held from 9am to 9.20am.

For more information, call Moonee Valley Council on 9243 8888.

Article from the Moonee Valley Gazette.
Posted at 13:10     [Perma-Link]

World Uni Cross Country Team Announced


Congratulations to the following athletes selected for the Australian World University Cross Country Championships Team, to compete in Collegno, Italy, 28th March 2004.

Adam Didyk - University of South Australia
Dale Engler - Adelaide University
Daniel Matena - Flinders University

Res: Fraser Thompson - Oxford University

Jessica Boyd - University of Technology Sydney
Jane Miles - Sydney University
Victoria Mitchell - University Of Ballarat
Jane Mudge - Flinders University

Support staff:
Manager: Rod Griffin V
Assistant Manager: Ryan Taylor V


Media release from Athletics Australia
Posted at 13:06     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, March 09, 2004 

World Indoors day 2

After promising competition from the Australian’s on day one of the World Indoor championships things slowed a little for the Aussies on day two.

In the Men’s 3000 metres, Australian record holder Craig Mottram pushed the pace after a slowish 4:17.8 first half, bringing the field through 2000 metres in 5:33.01, with Kenya’s Bernard Lagat, Ethiopian Markos Geneti and Rui Silva behind in single file. The order shifted with 600 metres to go, with Lagat, Geneti, Silva and Spaniard Antonio David Jimenez passing Mottram, who crossed the line 10th clocking 8:03.82. Lagat won in 7:56.34.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 12:50     [Perma-Link]

Mottram and Vincent impress at World Indoors

Four Australians were in action at the Budapest Sports Arena this weekend, on day one at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary - highlighted by impressive racing by Craig Mottram and Casey Vincent.

National 5000 metre Champion Craig Mottram looked strong in the Men’s 3000m Semi Final, qualifying in second place for tomorrow night’s final (7:45pm, Saturday 6th March). In a tight race, Mottram clocked 7:48.09, a new Australian indoor record. Kenya’s Bernard Lagat is the fastest qualifier, finishing ahead of Mottram in 7:47.70.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 12:49     [Perma-Link]

Five added to World Cross Team

Athletics Australia is pleased to announce final additions to the Australian Team, to contest the 32nd World Cross Country Championships, in Brussels, Belgium 20-21st March 2004.

Additions to the Australian Team are:
- Long Course: Brett Cartwright (S), Shane Nankervis (V)
- Short Course: David Ruschena (V), Alastair Stevenson (Q)

- Short Course: Sarah Jamieson (V)

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 12:49     [Perma-Link]

Fegan hopes for change of fortune

by Craig Baxter

LEADING Townsville triathlete Max Fegan could be forgiven for thinking he is due a win in Sunday's annual Playtime Dash For Cash.

Fegan is looking to break a string of five consecutive second placings and notch his first victory since 1997 in the 4.6km event, the first Townsville Road Runners fun run of the year.

``I won in 1996 and 1997 when it wasn't so prestigious and since the prizemoney has come in I think I've been second for five years in a row,'' Fegan said.

``I was injured in 1998 and watched Brad Beven win and I've been trying to win it again ever since but haven't been able to.

``Someone's always managed to outsprint me over the last 100 metres or so.

``It's been good to be consistent, but I'd love to win it.''

Townsville Road Runners president Brian Armit said local teenagers Tony Gordon and Om Halliday could provide the strongest challenge to likely favourite Fegan, although the final field would not be known until shortly before the start.

``We've got a couple of young blokes who'll push Max along a little bit but I'm not sure who's coming from out of town,'' Armit said.

``It's an `on the day' sort of thing.''

Armit said the event -- the first in the Butcher on Bundock series of fun runs -- would be held over a traditional course through North Ward and take in parts of The Strand.

``It's a sharp, short type of event, which makes it ideal for anyone who wants to have a go,'' he said.

A total of $2250 in prizemoney will be distributed in age groups ranging from under-13 through to over-50 (men) and over-40 (women).

The men's and women's winners will each receive $350.

The Dash For Cash starts at 7am at the Paxton Street entrance to Queens Gardens, with registrations taken from 6am.

Entry fees are $8 for adults and $5 for children, with funds going to the Heart Foundation.

Article from the Townsville Bulletin
Posted at 12:46     [Perma-Link]

Women celebrate with run

by Leah Moore

IT was hailed as one of the country's largest ``women only'' fun runs, but a few brave men, undaunted by the crush of almost 4000 women, could be spotted among the crowd yesterday.

The annual International Women's Day Fun Run brought together thousands for an energetic run or leisurely stroll over 5km.

Bronwyn Glass, marketing manager for Surf Life Saving Queensland, the beneficiary of the event, said even though the run was designed for women, men could not legally be left out.

``It is advertised as a women-only event but because of the legality we can't discriminate,'' Ms Glass said.

But she said no one minded the inclusion of men, with most of the blokes being dads, husbands and boyfriends who were dragged along.

The winner of the event, which started at 7.30am in South Bank and wound its way along the Brisbane River, finished the race in just over 15 minutes.

And proving that fitness is for all ages, Ms Glass said the youngest competitor was three years old while the oldest was a sprightly 77.

Now in its twelfth year, the event was a pre-emptive celebration of International Women's Day today.

Article from the Courier Mail
Posted at 12:45     [Perma-Link]

Mottram finishes in top 10


GEELONG runner Craig Mottram has finished 10th in the final of the men's 3000m at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Budapest.

Mottram was among the favourites in the final after clocking a new Australian record of 7mins 48.09secs in coming second in his heat but could not repeat it in the final.

His time of 8mins 3.82secs was markedly slower, but his coach Nic Bideau said he had excuses, setting off mid-race after a farcical pace early.

The final was a slow, tactical battle and after a frustrating time in the pack, Mottram split the race open when he took off with eight laps to go.

``They were jogging the first half of the race so 1400m out he took it up and tried to run the legs off them,'' Bideau said.

``With 500m to go he was in a group of four but in the last lap got tired and he did his last 200m in 31 seconds and that cost him four places.

``He could have set out to run a time and be content with fourth or fifth or taken it up to them and tried to win and that's what he tried to do.

``He ran 3.43 his last 1500m, 2.59 the last 1200m. He needs a second a lap quicker or a faster early pace to hurt these guys.

``He still made the final of a world championship so he is far from shattered, he is just disappointed it was a c..p race.''

Kenyan Bernard Lagat won the final in 7mins 56.34secs from 2001 World Indoor 1500m champion Rui Silva, of Portugal.

Mottram will fly to London to train for 10 days ahead of the world cross country championships in Brussels.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser
Posted at 12:42     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, March 04, 2004 

Eli wraps up series

ELI Melky completed a series sweep of the Centralian Sports Fun Run/Walk on Saturday.

Melky was the quickest of 100 runners, completing the second race in the series in 13m49s.

Consistent competitor Tony Fitzpatrick was second in 13m56s while Paul Tucker snatched third place.

Gayle Connell narrowly beat Kerry O'Neil in a close finish to be the first woman home in 17min42sec. Loie Sharp was third.

In the walking category Carolyn Chalmers shaved 37 seconds off her first race time to finish in 27min12sec.

Chris Bateman finished in second place.

Younger runners dominated the 2km junior race.

Chris Bird had a successful return from injury with a 7min31sec finish with Sam Page only nine seconds behind.

Matthew Higgins took out third.

Article from the Centralian Advocate.
Posted at 13:16     [Perma-Link]

Apollo Bay Fun Run/Walk

The annual Apollo Bay Fun Run/Walk will be held on Sunday, March 7 at 4pm. The event will comprise of a 6.5km or 2km run walk along the beach. There will be a variety of categories for entrants ranging from kids, adults, teams, walkers, parent and child and best outfit competition and lots of prizes to be won. The cost to enter is adults $6, concession/child $4, teams $4 per person and family $15. For details contact 5237 8500.

Article from The Echo
Posted at 13:15     [Perma-Link]

Government announces athletics review

By Orietta Guerrera

Athletics Australia will undergo a wide-ranging review after months of internal wrangling in the sport.

Sports Minister Rod Kemp yesterday announced Athletics Australia had agreed to the Australian Sports Commission review after claims that the sport was being mismanaged and was underachieving. "The review will cover matters such as the high-performance program, coach development and international performance of the sport," Kemp said.

"It will also cover things like the pathways from the junior ranks to the senior ranks."

Terms of reference will be negotiated next week at a meeting between the boards of Athletics Australia and the commission.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:10     [Perma-Link]

Distance coach stays on with AA

by Jenny McAsey

DISGRUNTLED distance coach Said Aouita says he will take a 75 per cent pay cut to remain with Athletics Australia in a more limited role.

However, he has only promised to stay for the next four months and will sever his ties if a dispute with AA head coach Keith Connor and rival distance coach Nic Bideau is not solved by July.

After threatening to quit last weekend, urgent meetings with AA have resulted in a new contract which allows him to spend long periods out of Australia and reduces his role in national development programs.

Aouita said yesterday he would continue to coach four female distance runners while they vie for Olympic berths but would not personally oversee development squads in Australia.

However, the Olympic champion said he would retain the title of national distance coach.

``I will just take care of my athletes until July 5, when the qualifying period for the Olympics ends. I will be overseas until then, and after that I will see what has happened,'' Aouita said.

Aouita will leave Australia on Saturday with 800m-1500m runner Suzy Walsham and 5000m runner Melissa Rollison for a training camp and competition in the United States and then Europe.

``If I do come back, Keith Connor has to let me do my job. He needs to change his leadership,'' he said.

The long-running controversy over Aouita's role as national distance coach came to a head last weekend when he said he was sick of fighting his critics and was going to quit his post two years before schedule.

Aouita blamed Bideau for undermining him. However, on Sunday he also heaped blame on Connor, saying he was a control freak and had obstructed relations with Bideau and other Victorians.

Article from The Australian
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Kemp orders athletic review


EMBATTLED Athletics Australia will receive a major shake-up in the wake of calls for the board to be sacked, five months out from the Athens Olympics.

Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp announced yesterday the national governing body for track and field would be reviewed by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) following revelations it had debts of $1.3 million.

But the man at the centre of the controversy, Athletics Australia (AA) chief executive Simon Allatson, last night declared it would not be a witch hunt to cull the sport of unwanted administrative and coaching staff.

The review, expected to be completed by the Games in August, is a response to the deepening crisis within the sport, evidenced when sprinter Lauren Hewitt publicly called for Allatson's resignation.

Her outburst was the latest in a long-running feud, which has included Victorian coach Nic Bideau calling for the entire AA board to resign.

The weekend's Olympic selection trials were overshadowed by in-fighting within the sport when distance running coach Said Aouita threatened to quit the country because he was sick of the squabbles with Victorian coaches and athletes.

By the end of the four-day meeting, former world record holder Aouita had shifted his attack to Australia's head coach Keith Connor, accusing him of being a control freak who refused to allow Aouita to do his job.

Allatson said he was disappointed by the vitriolic attacks but hoped there could be a positive outcome in making the internal spats public. ``A lot of this was brought about by small interest groups which I believe was indeed unfortunate,'' he said.

``It may well have a positive outcome in the sense that it can bring out into the open a lot of the issues that we've had to deal with for a period of time.

``But I don't believe that it needed to be as vitriolic as it's been.''

Senator Kemp attempted to put a positive spin on the sport's woes but would not rule out sackings from AA's board before the review was completed.

``We think there has been very widespread concern in the sport,'' he said.

``The review should give everyone a chance to put their views and we believe that this provides an excellent chance to move the sport forward.''

AA chairman Andrew Forrest described Hewitt as outspoken and denied the sport was in debt, despite the ASC telling federal parliament it had bills totalling $1.3 million.

``I think Lauren is an outspoken lady,'' he said. ``The Australian Sports Commission and sponsors fully support the board, we fully support our athletes to the very best of our monetary ability.''

An emotional Aouita said yesterday he would give up his $100,000-a-year pay packet but wants to retain his title as Athletics Australia's national distance coach when he heads overseas on Saturday on a self-funded training camp.

``I want to go with the athletes to help them look for their A-qualifying times [to win Olympic selection by the deadline, July 4] but I will keep my options open. If there are changes at AA in the way they do things, maybe I will come back. If not, no,'' Aouita said.

Article from the Daily Telegraph
Posted at 13:03     [Perma-Link]

Aouita sticks by his squad


AN emotional Said Aouita says he will give up his $100,000-a-year pay packet but wants to retain his title as Athletics Australia's national distance coach when he heads overseas on Saturday on a self-funded training camp.

``I gave up the money but I will take the athletes [his squad] for training camps at high altitude in the US,'' Aouita said yesterday.

``I want to go with the athletes to help them look for their A-qualifying times [to win Olympic selection by the deadline, July 4] but I will keep my options open. If there are changes at AA in the way they do things, maybe I will come back. If not, no.'' Aouita's premature departure, against the wishes of AA head coach Keith Connor who recruited him, is the latest turn in what has been a controversial appointment from the outset.

It is another open rebellion from within the sport following the call by national 200m champion Lauren Hewitt for Connor and AA CEO Simon Allatson to resign.

On the eve of last weekend's Telstra Australian championships, Nic Bideau -- who coaches 20 athletes including distance national champions Benita Johnson (10,000m), Craig Mottram (5000m) and Georgie Clarke (5000m) -- called for the AA management board of business tyros to resign following their $1.3million loss last financial year.

Aouita, winner of the Los Angeles Olympic 5000m and world record-holder at 1500m when he ran for his native Morocco, was offered new contract terms by AA this week but has refused to abandon his squad in the middle of the preparation he believes will get them to Athens despite their mediocre results at the nationals.

His commitment to those athletes -- who will pay their own way to the altitude training camp -- is admirable, but so too is Connor's attempt to keep Aouita out of trouble with a vocal minority who have, often unfairly, found fault with his athlete recruitment methods and the substance and implementation of his coaching system, which Bideau, for one, says simply doesn't work.

``I cannot work in this political environment. I don't know who to trust,'' said Aouita, whose own personal best times from 800m through 1500m, mile, 2000m, 3000m, 5000m to 10,000m are superior to all the Australian national records.

``I will keep the national distance coach's job, but I will be far away from all this s.... I won't come back to fight with the people.'' Aouita yesterday again blamed Connor and Olympic athletics team manager Di Barnes, who also administers the national distance program, for much of his troubles with a segment of the large and influential Victorian distance running community.

``Keith wants to control everything. That's where the Victorian problem started,'' Aouita said.

He is also upset that the requests he made to Connor about selections for the team for this month's world cross-country running championship in Brussels appear to have been overruled.

``When I give him the cross-country team, why does he not listen to me?'' Aouita said.

``Don't bring me here [to Australia] as a `picture' because I have a high profile. Let me do my job.''

Article from the Daily Telegraph
Posted at 13:02     [Perma-Link]

Simmering crisis comes to the boil

THE dramatic events this week that have embroiled Athletics Australia in controversy are the result of ongoing discontent among elite athletes, coaches and officials. Here are the events that led to the crisis:

July 2002: AA announces Said Aouita, the Moroccan superstar, is appointed as national distance running coach. Aouita's claims of coaching triumphs are challenged by national coaches in Morocco.

August 2003: AA head coach Keith Connor criticises some athletes for their disappointing efforts at the world championships in Paris. Victorian sprinter Lauren Hewitt calls on AA chairman Andrew Forrest to sack Connor and Allatson.

November 2003: AA reveals a $1.3million loss for the previous financial year. Aouita is investigated by AA and the Australian Sports Commission/AIS after allegations of favouritism towards females in his training squad and allegations of discussions about drugs.

December 2003: An independent investigation finds no substance to the claims and no breach of the coaching code of conduct. The report recommends Aouita's role be restricted until does a counselling course on communication skills.

February 2004: Victorian Tamsyn Lewis, seven times national 800m champion, complains that Aouita has never spoken to her.

February 2004: Nic Bideau, influential manager and one-time coach to Cathy Freeman, calls for AA board to resign following the $1.3million loss and a lacklustre domestic season and poor crowd at the showcase Melbourne grand prix.

February 2004: Bideau calls for Aouita to be sacked and his wage re-allocated to more successful Australian coaches and athletes.

February 2004: Herb Elliott, AA board member and 1960 Olympic 1500m champion, calls Australia's overall results at the Paris world championships ``a disgrace'' and reprimands Bideau and some other coaches for not even listening to Aouita's ideas.

February 2004: ASC discusses with AA financial and structural problems within athletics. Review by Connor and new AA high-performance manager Tudor Bidder find sports institutes have only six coaches with proven ability to develop an athlete to Olympic medal calibre.

March 2004: Hewitt reiterates her call to AA to sack Connor and Allatson.

March 2004: Aouita declares his intention to leave Australia to help his athletes qualify for the Olympic team.

Article from the Daily Telegraph
Posted at 13:01     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, March 03, 2004 

Athletics crisis deepens

By Sharon Mathieson, Len Johnson

Australian athletics was plunged into further turmoil last night when one of the country's top athletes called for Athletics Australia chief executive Simon Allatson to resign.

Six months out from the Olympic Games, sprinter Lauren Hewitt, who won the national 200 metres title in Sydney on Sunday, said the sport would be better off if Allatson was out of the picture.

Hewitt's outburst was the latest in a long-running feud within athletics ranks and comes hard on the heels of an undignified spat between national distance coach Said Aouita and some other leading Australian coaches.

Aouita seems likely to quit his post after saying he was sick of the squabbles involving Victorian runners and other national coaches.

Complete article at The Age website
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Japan stars set to shine

by Amy Harris

THEY are the Japanese equivalent of Ian Thorpe - or maybe even Kylie Minogue.

But Japan's elite marathon runners will head to this year's Gold Coast Marathon in obscurity despite their pop-star status back home.

About 1000 Japanese will flood the Coast for this year's race which was officially launched by Premier Peter Beattie yesterday.

Double their participation numbers of the past few years, the Japanese will make up the marathon's biggest international contingent and are tipped to set the pace once again after dominating the race since the late '80s.

Heavy promotional legwork and a word-of- mouth campaign by Japanese running clubs has paid off for organisers and the Australian Tourism Commission and it will be the Japanese women who are expected to dominate.

The country boasts six women winners, compared to four men, including record-holder Erico Asai who set the course record of 2hr 29min 29sec in 1993.

Challenging the Far East runners will be Caloundra's Jenny Young who was the highest placed Queenslander last year (5th) despite never having competed in a 42km race before.

Young, 29, switched from track running and triathlon in 2001 and while she has consigned herself to watching the Olympic marathon from her living room, she has set a goal to make a legitimate dig at the Australian team in 2006.

"It's my goal to maybe compete at the world championships," said Young, who is coached by her husband, Blair Young. "It's very early in my career and if you look at the top marathon runners at the moment, most of them are in their mid-30s.

"To make a real go of it I will need to lower my best time from 2:51 to around 2.40."

Brisbane's Paul Dodd, who works full-time at the Commonwealth Bank, took an annual leave day to attend the race's official launch on the Gold Coast yesterday.

A triathlete in the summer and a marathon runner in the winter, Dodd will compete in the Australian triathlon championships in Mooloolaba on March 28 before preparing for the Gold Coast Marathon.

"I like to vary my training and triathlon is good like that. It's a bit more exciting that running. But the marathon is physically harder," said Dodd, who was the first Queenslander across the line last year - 10th overall.

When the Gold Coast Marathon was first run 26 years ago 124 people crossed the finishing line.

This year about 11,000 people are expected to line up when the event begins in the Broadwater car park on the first Sunday in July.

Article from the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Posted at 13:20     [Perma-Link]

Fundraising the healthy way

THREE Aussie sportswomen of the track, the stadium and the air, got together last week on common ground.

They might have been at the Monash Medical Centre, but they were all smiles at the launch of Southern Health's Walk Run Classic.

Triple world aerobics champion Sue Stanley, former aerial freestyle skiing world champion Kirstie Marshall and two-time Olympic and Commonwealth Games athlete Lee Naylor want Kingston and Glen Eira residents to join them at the fun-run on Sunday, March 21.

While no longer competing on the world stage, the three are still committed to staying fit and are keen to see others adopt a similar attitude.

Southern Health development director Ian Finlayson said registration forms had already started to flow in and he expected the number of participants to exceed last year's figure of about 2000.

Shuffle, walk, run or sprint it's up to you, Mr Finlayson said.

``People can walk, jog, or push a pram at their own pace,'' he said.

``Whatever you decide to do, the event will be well worth the effort.''

In its second year, the event is a fundraiser in support of local hospitals such as Monash Medical Centre's Clayton and Moorabbin campuses and Dandenong Hospital.

Participants have the option to complete a 4km walk or run, or an 8km run, at the popular bushland setting of Jells Park.

For more information go to

Article from the Moorabbin/Glen Eira Standard.
Posted at 13:13     [Perma-Link]

Runner overcomes trauma to eye Olympics

By Monique Bouma

SUCCESS hit long-distance runner Kylie Dick with an unexpected jolt last year, and now the Donvale resident is determined to make it to the top.

Ten years ago a horrific car accident put the top-ranking runner in hospital for a year, and she was told she would never run again.

But last October she surprised herself and the community with a stunning performance at the Melbourne Marathon, putting the Olympic Games in her sight.

Aiming simply to finish the marathon, she ended up coming third, just minutes behind the winner, with a time of two hours and 51 minutes (Manningham Leader, November 5).

This triumph over trauma was acknowledged on Tuesday last week when Dick, 28, won the prestigious Jim Dowsley Award at the Leader Sports Star awards night.

The annual award, in memory of the late Jim Dowsley, who started the Sports Star awards, is given to an athlete who rises above personal setbacks and continues to excel.

``I am absolutely delighted and overwhelmed,'' Dick said. ``It's definitely a huge honour and something I will never forget.''

Although the accident had fractured both her pelvis and her dreams of success, Dick's passion for running got her out on the track again.

Now her hopes have been renewed and her training is getting serious.

``I've got a coach now, but prior to that I just self-coached. I didn't even have a watch until two weeks ago, and virtually just ran because I loved running,'' Dick said.

With her coach and idol, Sean Quilty, by her side, Dick is confident she can realise her dreams of qualifying for the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

She now clocks up about 120km a week in training, and is heading for the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July, the Sydney City to Surf run in August, and the New York Marathon in November.

Besides a full-time job and training, she is also running a campaign to raise $40,000 for the life support group at The Alfred hospital's trauma unit.

To donate to the campaign, contact The Alfred Foundation on 9276 3222.

Article from the Doncaster-Templestowe Leader
Posted at 13:11     [Perma-Link]

Hewitt calls for Allatson to step down

ONE of Australia's highest-profile athletes, sprinter Lauren Hewitt, called last night for Athletics Australia boss Simon Allatson to be sacked.

She questioned where Allatson was directing funds after it was revealed the sporting body accumulated debts of $1.3 million and said athletics would be better off without him.

Hewitt's outburst was the latest in a long-running feud within athletics ranks.

The fighting came to a head during the weekend's Olympic selection trials in Sydney when distance running coach Said Aouita threatened to quit the country because he was sick of the squabbles with Victorian runners.

By the end of the four-day meeting, former world-record holder Aouita had shifted his attack to Australia's head coach Keith Connor, accusing him of being a control freak who refused to allow Aouita to do his job.

Hewitt highlighted the frustration athletes felt about the troubles within the sport when she received her gold medal on Sunday after winning the 200m.

Athletics Australia chairman Andrew Forrest presented the 25-year-old Victorian with her medal and Hewitt gave him a piece of her mind.

``He asked me how I was and I said that I would be better if the CEO of Athletics Australia (Allatson) would resign,'' she said last night.

``And if they think that everything they are doing is correct at the moment, then we believe that we need a new person put in that place.''

Article from the Townsville Bulletin.
Posted at 13:08     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, March 02, 2004 

Mottram looks to the future


CRAIG Mottram won his second national 5000m title on Saturday night and immediately turned his attention to bigger scalps abroad.
The 23-year-old this week flies to Budapest for the world indoor championships where he will race over 3000m against the likes of Haile Gebrselassie.

``He has been running really quick so it will test my mettle but I am going there to get a medal,'' Mottram said.

``The three kilometres suits me better than the five kilometres at the moment because I am still getting stronger and stronger.''

Mottram sat in the pack until mid-race when he and Michael Power surged clear at Sydney Olympic Park.

Mottram put the foot down with two kilometres remaining, putting 30m on Power in the space of one lap to bolt in, clocking 13mins 31.74secs.

``I missed all last year with injury and the guys that I was running against, and am now, got my gold medal, so I was keen to get it back,'' he said.

``I was out on my own the last few laps, I just wanted to get it done, tick it off and think about the flight home.

``I've got to be able to run at that pace (of last two km) for the whole race overseas so I still have a bit of work to do but it's coming together.''

Queenslander Peter Nowill grabbed second place ahead of Michael Power, almost 12 seconds behind Mottram.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser
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Relief then selection joy for McGregor

By Len Johnson

Haley McGregor was surprised to find that her first emotion on being named in the Australian Olympic athletics team for Athens was relief.

Happiness quickly followed, as you would expect on learning you have been selected for your first Olympic team. McGregor will join her training partner Benita Johnson in running the 10,000 metres.

"I didn't realise how much relief I'd feel when I got the call," McGregor said.

She attained the Olympic A-standard when she won last December's Zatopek 10,000 in Melbourne. McGregor finished second to Johnson in the national title last Friday night, but did not duplicate the A-standard, which would have ensured automatic nomination. Fortunately, selectors nominated every athlete to the Australian Olympic Committee who had an A-standard and either won in Sydney or been second to someone who had an A-standard.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:31     [Perma-Link]

First Athens Olympians picked

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) today selected the first athletes in the Team to compete at the Athens Games in August.

Track & Field athletes were the first announced to wear the green and gold for Australia following their Olympic Trials in Sydney at the weekend.

"It is a very proud moment for any athlete when you hear your name read out" said AOC Vice President and 4-time Olympian Peter Montgomery.

"Many of these athletes have been training for this moment for four years, even longer, and today is the realisation of their Olympic dream. We wish them well".

Complete article at the AOC website
Posted at 13:23     [Perma-Link]

Track and Field athletes first Athens Olympians picked

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) today (1st March 2004) named 17 track and field athletes in the Team to compete in Athens this August, with more selections to be made in the coming months.

Track and Field athletes were the first announced to wear the green and gold for Australia, following their Olympic Trials in Sydney at the weekend.

Over the four days of the trials, ten athletes achieved the Olympic A standard, guaranteeing them a berth in Athens, with seven additional athletes nominated by Athletics Australia selectors.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 13:21     [Perma-Link]

Marathon Effort

Ever remotely contemplated running a marathon? Positive thinking will get you over the line.

Training for and running your first marathon may be one of the toughest yet most uplifting things you may tackle as an individual.

It takes patience, determination and support from friends and family.

Start small with a 5km fun run, building up to the Asics Melbourne Marathon in October or the Herald Sun Olympic Dream in November (For more details, visit:

Here are some tips to get you on your way:


I'll die. Unlikely. But if you are seriously wondering, see your doctor before starting an exercise program.

I'll look like an idiot. No one actually sees you run. They just see some runner; you're part of the landscape. If you think you're too out of shape to wear running clothes, you're not. Athletes respect you just for trying. And everyone else will wish

they had your guts.

I can't run the marathon distance. True. But you will. No matter what kind of shape you're in, there is someone crossing the finish line who started out just like you.


"A thousand mile journey starts with the first step."

"Just put one foot in front of the other."

"I'm only going to run 10 minutes."

"Pain is temporary. Winning is forever."


When to start? Today. With a little run. Half a block. Slow. That's a run. Hey, you're a runner.

How do I train? Everyone is different. If you run already, say 5km or a bit more several times a week, check out Yes, that's the "novice" level program. But remember, this is for marathon training.

Don't be tempted to start at a level your body isn't ready to tackle.

If you are lacing up for that first half-block, take a look at something more accessible on Hal's site. Try the 5km guide to race about 4km after just eight weeks.

What about stretching? A little before a run. More after. Check a book or the Web for stretches, such as

What shoes are best? Don't mess around. Go to a specialist running store. Wear running socks and plan on spending at least 30 minutes there. Tell them about your goals and that you are there for expert advice. This is to determine what type of shoe

is best for you. Be sure there is room for your toes.


Thread the laces through the notch in the tongue (if there is one). This helps keep the tongue aligned and allows for looser laces in the toe box with slightly more snug lacing higher up. Double tie.

Toss shoes after 800km or so when the rubber is trashed.

What clothes work? It will feel warmer than the actual temperature once you start running. During colder weather, wear layers.

And those skimpy running shorts? Just get whatever shorts you like. But remember: Cotton retains moisture. It is cold, doesn't dry quickly and rubs. Go for the synthetics.

What to eat? An energy bar a half-hour or so before a run should give you fuel for a few hours. Gel packs are quick energy for about 35 minutes. Try different combinations. And get something you enjoy.

What about water? Hydrate. This is critical. A sports mix ensures you are getting enough sodium. Experiment.

Stay off roads. Cross streets carefully. And if you run at night, wear reflective tape and/or flashing bike lights.

Tracks are best because the softer surface is kinder to your body.


Should I go solo? If you're a social animal, jump on the Web and find a running club. Or you may find solace in the simplicity

of running alone.

The weather is awful. There is no such thing as "bad" weather, just different kinds. Besides, it's fun to run on a stormy day once you warm up.

I'm too tired/busy to run. Listen to your body. If you really need an extra rest day, grab it. But if you have too many days like that, either see your doctor and/or reduce the amount you are running. Also try putting on your running gear and just stretching. Then step outside. And keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Article from MX.
Posted at 13:19     [Perma-Link]

In for the long haul


IN THE world of track athletics, the short distance events are the blue ribbon events.

In terms of Australian women athletics, names like Cathy Freeman, Jana Pittman, Lauren Hewitt and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor are all well-known for their short distance exploits.

For 14-year-old Marymount College student and long distance runner Jodie Dubsky, the glamour makes no difference. She's in it for the long haul.

``When you are sprinting, you get to a peak and then that's it, you've got nothing else to go on with,'' Dubsky said. ``You can still do marathon running when you are older. I'd rather be doing it for longer.''

A second place finish in the open category of the 3000m at the Athletics SA State Championships shows she is on the way to making her mark.

At the same event she was crowned champion in the under-14 class for the 1500m and 3000m.

Dubsky finished third in the national cross-country championships held in Melbourne in August. Success does not come on its own and Dubsky is putting in plenty of hard work to ensure she continues to improve.

Three nights of training - each lasting up to two hours - a week and club meets representing Flinders Athletics Club at weekends have to be squeezed around school work.

``I go out running and training, then I do a bit of homework at night, then wake up a bit earlier to try to do the rest then,'' she said.

``I like the training. It is not all over quickly - you get to enjoy it a bit more.

``Club meets are every Saturday until the end of the season, then we do cross-country and road races.''

When asked about inspirations behind her drive to succeed, the young runner has a simple reply.

``Just my mum and my dad, you know are always supporting me,'' she said. ``In the next 12 months I'd like to get into another state team and hopefully win a national event.

``I'd like to make it to the Olympics when I get a bit older.

``I'd love to represent Australia.''

Article from The Advertiser
Posted at 13:15     [Perma-Link]

Benita puts in a power surge for Olympic glory


BENITA Johnson put on the most stunning exhibition of long distance running dominance ever seen in an Australian championships when she turned the 10,000m title race into a training session.

The world half-marathon championship bronze medallist from Canberra won Friday night's race in 31min 49.97sec, just outside the Olympic A-qualifying time of 31:45.

She clinched selection because she had already bettered the A-mark, setting the national record of 30:37.68 in the Paris world championship final last year.

But it was the way she went about the business of getting to Athens which was mind-blowing for the distance running fraternity. Her coach, Nic Bideau, explained: ``She ran 12 laps at 5000m race pace (71-72sec), with a lap recovery at marathon race pace (81-82sec) and sprinted the last lap as fast as she could in 67sec.''

Johnson said the surging simulated the aggressive and damaging tactics used by the Kenyans, while the sustained change of pace was akin to the methods of the Ethiopians.

``Obviously with the Olympic trial you want to win, but you want to get something out of the race rather than just running around,'' Johnson said yesterday. ``In Athens, they [the Africans] will be surging and I thought to get out and practise that.''

Johnson also won wearing flats, road running shoes without spikes which help with traction.

``There will be 10,000m heats in Athens [in August] and I'll probably run my heat in flats. As important as making the final is, I'm confident and I'm going for a medal in the final, so wearing flats will save my body for the final when I will wear spikes.''

After top-six finishes for the last three years, Johnson is aiming to become the first Australian (male or female) to win a medal at the IAAF world cross-country championships 8km race in Brussels on March 20.

``The world cross-country is one of the most highly competitive races you'll ever run in apart from the Olympics,'' explained Johnson. ``For starters there are six runners from each country, while at the Olympics there are only three. It's a measure of how tough you are against the rest of the world.''

Another measure of Johnson's supreme fitness is that her Olympic B-qualifying run in the national title race was 30 seconds faster than she clocked for the same session two weeks before the Paris world championship, where she finished eighth in Australian record time.

Article from the Sunday Telegraph
Posted at 13:12     [Perma-Link]

Leading distance coach threatens to quit

THE fate of Australia's distance running coach Said Aouita was hanging in the balance last night after he threatened to resign because he was tired of infighting within athletic's ranks.

Athletics Australia chief executive Simon Allatson and head coach Keith Connor plan to meet with the Moroccan former world record holder today to discuss his future in Australia following reports he planned to leave the country tomorrow for a training camp and not return.

Aouita has met resistance to his training techniques since he arrived in Australia in 2002, with many of the attacks coming from Nic Bideau, who now coaches most of Australia's distance stars.

Allatson described the treatment of Aouita as ``appalling'' and blamed all responsible for the internal spats within the sport for making Aouita feel he had no choice but to quit.

``It pains me to have to represent an organisation in this sport where we treat legends of the sport so badly that they now want to think they have to go home because they've been forced out of this country from the job that they were paid and brought into Australia to do,'' he said.

``Undeniably, the gentleman concerned has not been given a fair go. I think it's quite appalling and it certainly reflects badly on the people who are responsible for this.''

Olympic great and Athletics Australia board member Herb Elliott defended Aouita's techniques and warned that unless Australia changed its approach to distance running, the gap between the world's best and Australia's athletes would widen.

``If you have entrenched ideas that are not producing outcomes then one of the solutions is to bring new ideas in from outside,'' he said.

``The sadness of it all is that here is a guy who belongs to a group of Moroccans who are the best in the world in middle distance running.

``He comes out to this country to tell us how they do it in Morocco and for some reason or other his ideas are closed out.''

Allatson said he spoke with Aouita on Thursday and put a proposition to him, which he refused to reveal.

Article from The Mercury
Posted at 13:10     [Perma-Link]

Johnson sets the 10,000m standard

by Mike Hurst

BENITA Johnson produced the most stunning exhibition of long-distance running seen at an Australian championships when she turned the 10,000m title race into a training session.

The world half-marathon championship bronze medallist won Friday night's 25-lap race in 31min 49.97sec, just outside the Olympic A qualifying time (31:45).

She clinched selection because she had already bettered the A-mark in setting the national record of 30:37.68 in the Paris world championship final last year.

But it was the way she went about getting to Athens which impressed the distance running fraternity.

``She ran 12 laps at 5000m race pace (71-72sec) with a lap recovery at marathon race pace (81-82sec) and sprinted the last lap as fast as she could in 67sec,'' coach Nic Bideau said.

Article from the Sunday Mail
Posted at 13:09     [Perma-Link]

AA keen to retain Aouita as coach

by Len Johnson with AAP

Said Aouita admitted yesterday that his appointment as national distance coach was flawed from the start and said if he had his time over again, he would be based in Melbourne, "where they talk my language''.

The great Moroccan middle-distance runner, whose controversial tenure came to a head at the weekend when he said he wanted to leave Australia because he was sick of the bickering within the sport's ranks, will meet Athletics Australia officials on Wednesday to discuss his future.

Asked if he thought Aouita would stay on as national coach, Athletics Australia chief executive Simon Allatson said yesterday: ``I'm hopeful. He's had some time to think about it and we've been working through the issues with him.''

Aouita has been at loggerheads with other coaches in Australia, and in an interview with The Age yesterday, he admitted he had problems with athlete-manager and coach Nic Bideau, who has criticised Aouita's techniques and the amount of money and resources devoted to his program.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:06     [Perma-Link]

Aouita now targets Connor

NATIONAL distance running coach Said Aouita shifted his attack to Australia's head coach Keith Connor, saying he was a control freak.

The Moroccan great last night again threatened to quit unless he's given free rein to implement his techniques, which have been met with resistance since he arrived in Australia in 2002.

Aouita, who won the 5000m gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, said Connor tried to control every aspect of the sport and refused to allow other coaches to do their job.

"The head coach wants to take control of everything," said Aouita.

Australian athletics' endless internal battles were aired during the Olympic selection trials in Sydney after Aouita announced he would resign because he was sick of the fighting.

He initially said his problems were with Victorian coaches and athletes.

But yesterday Aouita's focus shifted to Connor. He claimed Connor refused to allow him to spend time in Victoria and said he wanted to be friends with all Victorians because Australia's best middle distance runners were all from the southern state.

Olympic great and Athletics Australia board member Herb Elliott entered the debate to defend Aouita.

He said Australian coaches were unwilling to accept new ideas.

"If you have entrenched ideas that are not producing outcomes then one of the solutions is to bring new ideas in and it seems as if these new ideas have been rejected," said Elliott.

"Here is a guy who belongs to a group of Moroccans who are the best in the world in middle distance running. He comes out (to) this country to tell us how they do it in Morocco and for some reason or other his ideas are closed out."

Aouita leaves for the US on Friday for a training camp and will not return unless he is satisfied Connor will loosen his grip.

Article from the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Posted at 13:04     [Perma-Link]

Only 10 earn Games start

by Scott Gullan, Sydney

THEY wanted surprises, but unfortunately for Australia's track and field selectors, there weren't many during the four days of the Olympic trials.

Only 10 athletes earned automatic selection for the Athens Olympics, with a couple of discretionary selections likely to be added when the initial team is announced today.

Victorian pole vaulter Steven Hooker was the biggest surprise, finishing second to 2001 world champion Dmitri Markov with an Olympic A-standard qualifying mark to book his spot at the Games.

One athlete who won't be named in the team is Jana Pittman, but her appearance yesterday in the 4 x 400m relay created more excitement than any other event.

The world 400m hurdles champion impressed in her comeback from a quadricep injury, running the second leg in 51.80sec.

``It feels fantastic,'' Pittman said about being back on the track. ``No twinges, no soreness, no nothing. I'm 100 per cent over it.''

Pittman will race over 400m hurdles for the first time this year at the ACT championships on March 12-14.

She and fellow A-standard holders Matt Shirvington, Patrick Johnson and Debbie Sosimenko -- all absent from the trials because of injury -- will be named in the Olympic team on July 4, providing they prove their fitness.

That is also the key date for athletes who missed out at the trials but go on to gain the required selection criteria.

Chairman of selectors David Culbert said it was disappointing that hammer thrower Bronwyn Eagles was the only new qualifier at the trials.

``I think we would have hoped to have more surprises than we have had,'' he said.

``The conditions have been, I think, as good as you could possibly expect at Sydney Olympic Park. There aren't too many excuses.''

Culbert said he wasn't fazed naming a small team today, with the projection still for a team of 40 by July.

``Team size to me has always been irrelevant because you select according to the criteria,'' he said.

``If that means we have a team of 10 or 110, then that is all we've got. What we will name tomorrow is the cream of the crop, but that is not saying athletes who are going to be named in July don't have as much potential to be finalists and medallists.''

Sprinter Lauren Hewitt's horror run with weather conditions continued when the 200m final was marred by strong headwinds.

After clocking 23.03sec in the heats from lane nine, Hewitt could manage only 23.09 in the final, three hours later, against a 2.3m/sec headwind.

``I tried to get it (A-standard of 22.97), but they put me in lane nine,'' she said. ``I think that is the fastest I've run in lane nine because I've never had to do that before.

``I couldn't have done any more (in the final). I know I am in the shape to do the time and I'll go to the ACT championships next week and then a meet in Adelaide after that if required.''

Nigerian Ambrose Ezenwa won the men's 200m in 21.12sec, beating home Adam Miller (21.19) and David Geddes (21.36), while 100m champion Joshua Ross finished fourth.

In the 800m, both Kris McCarthy and Tamsyn Lewis were beaten by internationals.

Tanzanian Samwel Mwera led all the way to win the men's race in 1min 47.34sec, while Denmark's Rikke Ronholt comfortably held out Lewis, clocking 2min 1.68sec.

THE future of embattled middle-distance coach Said Aouita will be decided at a meeting on Wednesday of Aouita, Athletics Australia chief executive Simon Allatson and head coach Keith Connor.

Aouita has told AA he is leaving for the United States on Saturday with several of his athletes and is unlikely to return.

AA is hoping to retain him in a consultancy role.


Confirmed selections


Clinton Hill (400m), Casey Vincent (400m), Justin Anlezark (shot put), Nathan Deakes (50km walk), Dmitri Markov (pole vault), Steven Hooker (pole vault).


Benita Johnson (10,000m), Kym Howe (pole vault), Bronwyn Eagles (hammer), Jane Saville (20km walk).

Further possible discretionary selections

Athletes with A-standard qualifying mark who finished first or second at the trial but not with an A-qualifying mark.

Craig Mottram (5000m), Will Hamlyn-Harris (javelin), Hayley McGregor (10,000m), Oliver Dzuibak (javelin), Adam Miller (200m),

Kris McCarthy (800m), Tamsyn Lewis (800m).

Athletes with A-standard who were beaten by a non-qualifier.

Luke Adams (20km walk), Bronwyn Thompson (long jump)


Men's 400m

Race of the championships. Clinton Hill and Casey Vincent finished locked together on the same time and it took 10 minutes of studying the developed print of the finish to award the race to Hill.

Bronwyn Eagles

The hammer thrower waited until her final throw to register an A-standard qualifier and automatic Olympic selection.

Benita Johnson

Treated the 10,000m like a training run. Showed why she is in the very elite of world distance runners.


Tatiana Grigorieva

Ended in tears for the Olympic silver medallist when she failed to clear a height in the pole vault.

Said Aouita

Had a shocker. His athletes didn't fire and he finished up fighting with everyone.

Matt Shrivington

Declared he would risk his hamstring to gain Olympic selection but turned up with a cold, felt dizzy and pulled out of the 100m.


Joshua Ross

The Stawell Gift winner took the 100m in a PB and showed he has the goods to break Shirvo's and Patrick's monopoly.

Annabelle Smith

We've been searching for someone to replace Cathy Freeman in the 400m and former rower Smith looks the one. Very powerfully built, she won in a personal best.

Steven Hooker

Young Victorian who has enjoyed a dramatic rise in pole vault and produced the performance of the meet to upstage bigger names.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 12:59     [Perma-Link]

This page last updated: Saturday 31 July 2004

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