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 Saturday, January 29, 2005 

Top Tassie Triathletes lead the way on Australia Day

Top Tasmanian triathletes Clinton Pentland and Joe Gambles fought out the 5km Australia Day fun run starting from Launceston’s Royal Park on Wednesday.

With less than 200m of the flat road course to run the two were locked together before Pentland produced a final surge to win narrowly in a time of 16:00.

Melanie Goodall won the women’s event in 19:23, well clear of Debbie Pauna’s 19:54.

While Tasmania is not known for its hot weather, the conditions were certainly a factor in the race, with most runners times well outside their best. The lack of any drink stations out on the course also tested the stamina of competitors, particularly the youngsters.

Nathan Bailey won the Under 18 event in 19:23 from 14 year old Oscar Phillips, while Libby Clarke, 15, recently returned from the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney, was first Under 18 female in 19:47. Clarke broke the state Under 16 2000m steeplechase in Sydney, running 7:06.

Although run on a short course the junior 2km efforts were commendable with Geelan siblings Luke and Hannah taking out the event from runners up Curt O’Toole and Stephanie Walker. All are members of the Newstead Harrier Club.

The youngest competitor to finish the 2km was three year old Arabella Phillips. Arabella looks likely to emulate the success of big brother Oscar who has represented the state in athletics and cross country running 12 times to date.

Posted at 13:33     [Perma-Link]

Tan time trial puts all comers to the test

Setting a personal best around the Tan can be a challenge. First, there's the running. If you start, as most do, from the horse trough near the end of Swan Street Bridge, you must build into a fast rhythm along the bottom of the Tan - not too fast, however, or you will be chewing asphalt well before the top of the 500-plus metres up the Anderson Street hill.

Then you must quickly regain momentum and retain it through the undulations along Birdwood Avenue before the long, gradual and fast downhill finish from Government House Drive to Alexandra Avenue and back to the horse trough.

That's 3.83 kilometres of demanding running. And then there are the other obstacles. The personal best hopes can evaporate as you wend your way through other runners, joggers, power-walkers and prams sharing your lap, or veer round one too many dogs on a lead.

Or your arrival at the bottom of Anderson Street may coincide with a busload of tourists disembarking to visit the Botanic Gardens, or you may run headlong into a football team doing pre-season training.

Most Tan runners are happy just to go round, but from today to Sunday they can do more that that. Go The Tan bills itself as Melbourne's official time trial of the venerable circuit. For an entry fee, runners get a timing chip and can run as many timed laps of the Tan as their legs, lungs and mind can stand.

The Tan, originally a horse track for the well-to-do, is now the most democratic of Melbourne's many shrines to exercise. The swift share the space with the slow.

Its fame has spread worldwide. Hicham El Guerrouj, Steve Ovett, Cathy Freeman and Sonia O'Sullivan have all rubbed shoulders with mortals on the Tan.

Complete article at The age
Posted at 13:27     [Perma-Link]

Roche named Athletics Australia chairman

Olympian and former Commonwealth Games champion Ken Roche has been named chairman of Athletics Australia while former decathlete Rob Fildes has been appointed to the sport's governing body's board.

Roche was AA's deputy chairman before the sport underwent a major reshuffle last year following a review, which came on the back of revelations it had lost more than $1 million.

Roche was a dual Commonwealth Games 440 yards hurdles champion in 1962 and 1966 and was a semi-finalist at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Fildes is the executive chairman of Fildes Group of printing and packaging companies and has a long-standing history in athletics. Between 1964 and 1971 he was ranked among the top 15 in the world in the decathlon.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 13:25     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, January 27, 2005 

Skins event to test new track

Those who believe Australian athletes do not work hard enough might be attracted to a new form of competition that was held at Olympic Park, Meblourne last night.

The Australia Day Skins - an elimination-style event in which all the competitors will have to compete at least three times - will be the first competition on the new track at Olympic Park. The surface has been relaid in preparation for the venue's role as the main training and warm-up track for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Olympians Lauren Hewitt (sprints), Lee Troop (marathon) and Steve Hooker (pole vault), and Victoria's leading thrower Scott Martin will be competing. The meeting starts at 6.30pm.

Hewitt is looking forward to racing on the new Mondo track for the first time. "I did a training session on it last Saturday and it felt really fast," Hewitt said.

Athletes will have to compete more than once under the format. For the sprinters, there will be three heats of the 60 metres at intervals of 20 minutes, with the last runners being eliminated.

There is also a 1000 metres stamina event, in which the runners run three 200 metres sprints with only two minutes to jog back to the start between heats. One-lap specialists Sean Wroe, sixth in last year's world junior championships, and Marty Duke will take on middle-distance runner Justin Rinaldi.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 08:04     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, January 22, 2005 

CoolRunning wins industry award for athletics websites

CoolRunning Australia has taken out the Sports-Athletics award for Australian websites run by the authoriative industry watchdog Hitwise.

The winners from other categories are listed here:

Posted at 17:20     [Perma-Link]

Baton relays Queen's wish for Commonwealth Games

The symbol of the Commonwealth Games movement will tour Australia for seven weeks before the Melbourne 2006 Games, according to final draft plans of the Queen's Baton Relay.

Just as the Olympic torch circumnavigates the globe in the months before the Olympic Games, the Queen's Baton Relay is the traditional appetiser to the Commonwealth Games.

The route of the baton, particularly within Australia, is a tightly guarded secret, but The Age believes it will begin a seven-week tour here on January 25, 2006, before arriving at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the opening ceremony on March 15. The timing of the baton's arrival will also allow it to be part of the 2006 Australia Day celebrations.

The baton will tour major centres in provincial Victoria, including Bendigo, Ballarat, Horsham and Geelong, with the latter bidding to be the final stop before the MCG.

Organisers will be hoping for large crowds to line the relay course. The baton is expected to be carried by former athletes and notable Australians, but plans are in motion for the Australian public to participate in the relay by nominating themselves or others as runners.

In keeping with tradition, the baton will begin its journey at Buckingham Palace in London on March 14 - one year before the opening ceremony. It will contain a message from the Queen, which remains confidential until it is read out at the opening ceremony.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 14:28     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, January 21, 2005 

SBS to televise 2005 Telstra A-series

See Athletics Australia website

Posted at 19:20     [Perma-Link]

Freeman trains for a new role

The 2000 Olympic champion is excited at the prospect of working with young athletes.

Little more than a year ago, Cathy Freeman was still planning to end her competitive career at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006. Well, as John Lennon musically observed, life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. Then, you've got to make other plans still.

Freeman quit athletics just before the 2003 world championships when she realised the competitive spark was no longer there. Despite wishful reports that it may have been reignited, it still lies dormant.

But Freeman will have a role in Melbourne 2006, and in sport beyond. Through her association with the Victorian Institute of Sport, she is returning to study, via a Victoria University online postgraduate course that will equip her as a counsellor for elite performers in sport, music and dance.

Speaking at the launch of the A-series domestic athletics season yesterday, Freeman said the prospect of working with young athletic talent was "exciting".

"I'd love to work with as many people as I can," Freeman said, "anyone who cares to listen to the things that I say, the experiences I've been through. There's nothing exciting me more at the moment than being able to bring out the best in our young athletes."

Freeman is again unattached, her relationship with actor Joel Edgerton having recently come to an amicable end under the strain of repeated separation.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 02:13     [Perma-Link]

Tamsyn Lewis stepping down to 400m

Tamsyn Lewis had heard the rumours and read the stories suggesting she was gone.

There was the media furore after a bikini photo shoot in Ralph magazine came out on the eve of the Olympics, followed by a desperately disappointing campaign in Athens when she was eliminated in the first round of the 800m.

There was the hamstring injury and then the realisation she needed to move back to Melbourne after a stint in Britain being coached by athletics legends Sebastian Coe and Daley Thompson. And now, with a new year comes a new plan and new enthusiasm.

The seven-time 800m national champion is switching down to the 400m for the upcoming A Series and March's national championships in an attempt to rediscover her speed. The next step would be to run the one-lap race at the world championships in Helsinki in August.

"I've got seven 800s (national titles) in a row, I'm going to find it really hard to give that up (in March)," she said. "But at this stage it's just the 400."

Lewis is now being coached by Roy Boyd, although Coe still has significant input whenever his commitments as head of the London 2012 Olympic bid allow.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 01:48     [Perma-Link]

Top runners head for Australia

Top Commonwealth athletes, including Jamaicans Michael Blackwood and Novlene Williams and the Cayman Islands Kareem Streete-Thompson, will compete in a series of athletics meetings in Australia, organisers announced today.

The first meeting is in Perth on Saturday. The series will then head to Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide next month before finishing in Sydney in March.

In Sydney the meeting will incorporate Australian selection trials for this year's IAAF World Championships in Helsinki.

Blackwood, the Commonwealth 400m champion, will join 100m sprinter Streete-Thompson, a finalist in the World Championships who has a personal best time of 9.96 seconds, to contest the men's events.

Novlene Williams, a 400m runner who has an Olympic bronze medal in the 4x400m relay, will contest the womens events against some of Australia's top athletes.

"With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, we hope to reinvigorate the series, making it one of the best domestic athletics circuits in the world," said Danny Corcoran, chief executive of Athletics Australia.

Corcoran said he wants Australians to see some of the Commonwealths best talent before the Commonwealth Games are held in Melbourne next year.
Posted at 01:48     [Perma-Link]

Danny Corcoran's biggest challenge

Leading athletes from around the Commonwealth have agreed to race in Melbourne next month as track and field begins the long fight to salvage its future as a mainstream Australian sport.

Athletics Australia's new chief executive, former Essendon and Melbourne football identity Danny Corcoran, said yesterday that he was facing the biggest challenge of his career to turn around the troubled organisation, which is broke and under intense pressure from the Australian Sports Commission to get its act together -- or else.
The new season, which begins on a low-key note in Perth tomorrow, will be crucial for athletes and administrators alike with the Commonwealth Games -- where athletics will be expected to fill the redeveloped MCG twice a day for more than week -- now only a little over a year away.

At the A-Series launch in Melbourne, Corcoran unveiled a four-year strategic plan designed to run through to the Beijing Olympics, virtually confirming that the rebuilding could not be accomplished by the Commonwealth Games.

"Being realistic, it is a three to five-year plan to put it together," Corcoran said.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 01:24     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, January 20, 2005 

Top Aussies head to Ireland

Benita Johnson was in Dublin yesterday with fellow Australian and two-time winner, Craig Mottram, to launch the Great BUPA Ireland Run 2005.

The race, which has already attracted 1,000 entries from Great Britain, takes place in the Phoenix Park on April 9 and is certain to top last year’s entry of 2,500.

O’Sullivan, who indicated at the end of last season that she had the London Marathon in mind, will be back from Australia, having completed a stint at altitude in Falls Creek along with Johnson and Mottram, who are coached by her partner, Nic Bideau.

O’Sullivan has already won the Great BUPA Ireland run and finished second last year.

Yesterday, Johnson, who won last year’s world cross-country title in sensational style, described how O’Sullivan has influenced her career.

A former hockey star who represented Australia at 18, Johnson opted for an athletics scholarship and ended up on the track and field team for the Sydney Olympics.

In recent years she has trained with Sonia and she said both O’Sullivan and Bideau had a major influence on her athletics career.

"Sonia is a fantastic competitor, as well as a lovely person and great mother to her kids. She is a real inspiration in all aspects of her life," she said.

Complete article at The Irish Examiner
Posted at 16:29     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, January 19, 2005 

Marathon not at the top of Benita's List

Benita Johnson has insisted retaining her IAAF World Cross Country title remains her major target this year.

The Australian is looking forward to the star-studded Flora London Marathon on April 17, for which her entry was confirmed at the weekend.

But Johnson 25, has insisted: "Retaining my world cross remains my main focus, although I'm looking forward to running in London."

The reigning world long course champion has run three hard races in Europe in her build-up to this year's Championships in St Galmier on March 19.

Complete article at the Sporting Life website
Posted at 08:23     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, January 17, 2005 

Super athlete shines bright

Twenty-three-old super-athlete Felicity Joyce has been recognised as one of the greatest her sport has produced.

And, she belongs to Port Macquarie.

The endurance runner has won the Rising Star (male or female) Award for 2004, which is one of three prestigious national awards given out by her sport's peak body, the Australian Ultra Runners Association (AURA), each year.

The prize completes a stellar year on the track for Joyce, who became the youngest person to win the Australian Ultra Marathon last October.

That was after she recorded a second place at the Coastal Classic earlier in 2004. Because Joyce is not affiliated with a running club, she said the award came as a big surprise.

"I didn't even think they knew anything about me," she said. "I was stoked when AURA called me, to find out I was the best in Australia, male or female. Recognition from a higher level for doing what you would do anyway just puts everything in perspective."

Joyce has also been invited to attend an Australia Day ceremony with Athletics Australia on January 26.

But, a new year has only just begun for the young talent.

The 2005 schedule includes the 24-hour Victorian Championships in April and South Africa's Comrades Ultra Marathon, which Joyce says is the most prestigious Ultra Marathon event in the world.

"This award is a good incentive for the year, because I do it all by myself without a coach to get me out of bed each morning," she said. "And, it's encouraging to get this recognition."

Complete article at the Port Macquarie News
Posted at 13:40     [Perma-Link]

Women's Deaflympic Marathon record beaten

Sweden's Ulrika Janemon smashed the women's Deaflympic marathon record to win gold at the last of Ballarat's events yesterday.

In just her third race over 42.2km, Janemon completed the punishing course in 2hours 57minutes and 53 seconds. The previous best time was 3:06.50, set by Japan's Kiyomi Hashimoto at Rome in 2001.

Janemon, who led from start to finish, was the clear winner from Japanese silver medallist and deaf world record holder Yuko Izumi, and Russia's Olga Shnigelskaya.

While the course was too tough for four fellow competitors, Janemon said everything went perfectly for her.

"I took it easy and didn't rush," she said. "I found my rhythm and then just kept it." Janemon said, however, she was not satisfied with her time.

Two hours and 50 minutes was her goal going into the race.

"But I couldn't speed up because I didn't have anyone to speed up with," she said.

Ballarat's Olympic marathon runner Steve Moneghetti, however, said any time under three hours for the women was a good effort. Moneghetti, who provided advice on the track surface, praised Janemon as an athlete.

"She's got a very efficient running action," he said. "She looks like a marathon runner. I knew from the start she'd be the one to beat."

Complete article at The Ballarat Courier
Posted at 08:26     [Perma-Link]

Benita Johnson 2nd, Mottram 9th

There was double disappointment for Australia at the Edinburgh International Cross-Country event today as world champion Benita Johnson was beaten into second and Craig Mottram finished ninth in the men's race.

Johnson sat in the pack aiming to break with 2km to go in the 6km women's race.

Heading for the infamous steep climb over Haggis Knowe for the penultimate time she took the lead from three Ethiopians and held it for most of the remaining lap.

Coming off the hill for the last time, World 5000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba made to pass, Johnson upped the pace and a shoulder to shoulder uphill sprint developed over the final 100m.

But the Ethiopian proved the winner, crossing the line in 21m 35s, while Johnson took 2nd in 21:36.

Johnson, who will run the London Marathon just weeks after defending her world cross title in March, admitted the outcome was disappointing.

"I came here to win," she said. "She was just slightly stronger than me at the finish."

"I'm not at the level I need for the World Cross Country Championships, I've got two more months training to go."

Kenya's Olympic 5000m bronze medalist Eliud Kipchoge set an awesome pace from the start of the men's six lap 9km race over a testing course in Edinburgh's Holyrood Park.

He was headed only once towards the finish and Ethiopian Olympian Dejene Berhanu chased him close all the way to the line, but Kipchoge took first in 27:43, a second clear.

Mottram went with the early pace but after two laps he trailed off the seven strong pack to be beaten by seven high class Africans and Ukrainian European champion Sergiy Lebid (5th).

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 08:16     [Perma-Link]

Pittman vows to return

Any fears that Australia's only world track champion, Jana Pittman, may be lost to Britain are unfounded. Pittman's commitment to Rawlinson has raised conjecture that she may adopt his nationality, but she denied it. "I am the most patriotic Australian there is," she said.

Pittman, living in England with her fiance, British 400m hurdler Chris Rawlinson, has declared she will return to Australia at the end of the year, with Rawlinson as her coach.

Since her former coach Phil King announced two weeks ago that he and Pittman had split and she would spend this year in England with Rawlinson, there has been intense speculation about her future.

But Pittman, 22, said yesterday she was certain of her future direction.

"We are going to move out to Australia together after the world championships (in Helsinki in August) and before the Commonwealth Games (in Melbourne in March 2006)," Pittman said.

Pittman's ambition is to complete the 400m-400m hurdles double in Melbourne, as mentor Debbie Flintoff-King did in 1986 in Edinburgh. Games organisers have changed the schedule to accommodate this plan.

Rawlinson, 32, the 2002 Commonwealth Games champion, will complete his last season in Europe this year and intends to retire after defending his Commonwealth title in Melbourne.

Pittman will accompany him in his last year on the European circuit. She said she had always wanted to experience living and training overseas.

The pair will spend five weeks training in Australia from next month and Pittman is likely to run in the national championships in Sydney in March, though probably not in the 400m hurdles.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 08:11     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, January 15, 2005 

Benita Johnson waits to tackle Paula Radcliffe

Benita Johnson, who took the world cross-country gold in Paula Radcliffe's absence last year, will seek to prove in Edinburgh today that she has the ability to defend her title, even if the Briton decides to return to the event.

Radcliffe, who announced earlier this week that she would seek a third Flora London Marathon title on 17 April, has not ruled out going after a third world cross-country win four weeks before that, when the Championships take place in St Etienne. In the meantime, the 25-year-old Australian is keen to stake her claim as a contender by producing a winning performance in the Great Edinburgh Cross-Country race in Holyrood Park today.

"Of my races before I go home next month, this is the one I really want to win," Johnson said yesterday. "It's a really top class field, nearly as good as the Worlds were. But I believe I can beat them. I would have liked Paula to be here, but I'm sure she's training hard getting ready for her own races. I'm sure I will come up against her."

Johnson's main British opposition will come from the woman who succeeded Radcliffe to the European cross-country title last month, Hayley Yelling, and the Scottish No 1 Kathy Butler. Her international opposition includes Lornah Kiplagat, the Kenyan now representing the Netherlands who beat Radcliffe in last year's Puerto Rico 10 kilometre road race, as well as the world 5,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba and the Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Ejegayehu Dibaba. The woman narrowly beaten by Radcliffe in last year's New York Marathon, Susan Chepkemei of Kenya, also runs

Complete article at The Independent
Posted at 21:45     [Perma-Link]

Naked Jogger arrested

For months, officers have been getting reports about a man making late-night runs in the buff. On Monday, police in Arkansas USA said they think they got their mystery jogger.

Fate Patterson, 39, of West Memphis, was arrested after he ran past a police car and failed to stop when he was ordered to do so by officers. Police chased him and were able to rein him in by using a Taser.

Patterson was charged with indecent exposure, fleeing and resisting arrest.

Mike Allen, assistant chief of the West Memphis police department, said that it did not initially appear that the man was mentally ill. He did not disclose his reasons for running without his clothes.

"You know, this one has just got me kind of speechless," said Allen.

Complete article at WTV Florida
Posted at 20:27     [Perma-Link]

Mottram comes out of the shadows

The intensifying athletics perception is that white men can't run. Or at least not with success in the endurance arena.
The evidence is intimidating. African-born men have won every long-course world cross-country title since 1985, and every team gold medal since 1980. Since 1984, just one non-African male has medalled at 10,000 metres in the Olympics, and just two at 5000m. Since the inaugural IAAF world championships in 1983, Africans have claimed all but four of the available 5k and 10k medals (two in each event).
The 30 fastest people ever at 10k are African, and of the 40 men who have broken 13 minutes for 5000m since David Moorcroft was the last British holder of that world record (13:00.41, 1982), only three were born outside the dark continent.
Most recent of these is Craig Mottram, who in Edinburgh tomorrow will again challenge the aura of invincibility surrounding those who annually charge anew out of Africa.

The Australian, whose mother is a Cameron from Dunkeld, faces an all-star Kenyan and Ethiopian cast in the View From Great Edinburgh International Cross-Country at Holyrood. The former junior triathlon champion says that if he can beat Africans, others can, too.

His breakthrough came at Crystal Palace last summer, as Haile Gebrselassie made his farewell GB track appearance. The Ethiopian smashed the UK all-comers' record (12:55.51), but was pushed all the way by the 24-year-old, whose 12:55.76 is now the fastest time by any non-African, with the exception of the drug-tainted German Dieter Baumann (12:54.70).

Mottram's time would have won every Olympic, world, Commonwealth, and European title with the exception of 2003 world gold in Paris, and he believes he can build on that.
He beat Paul Tergat, the Kenyan world half-marathon record-holder, to win a 10k road race in Madrid on Hogmanay, and hopes to lay down a marker tomorrow in Edinburgh, in his first big cross-country of the year. His track target is a world medal this summer in Helsinki.

"I've shown I can be competitive in a sub-13 minute race," he said. "The goal now is to be competitive at sub 12:50."

Mottram was first Athens Olympic 5000m finisher to have been born outside Africa, eighth, with 13:25.70.

Complete article at the Glasgow Herald
Posted at 09:18     [Perma-Link]

Haley McGregor runs 2:33 Marathon debut

McGregor, a member of the 2004 Australian Olympic marathon team at 10,000 metres was making her marathon debut at the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon on Sunday (9 Jan). She was runner-up to Gemechu in 2:33:47 The time qualified McGregor for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

McGregor was on her own to push Gemechu. She kept up through the first 21km before the tiny Gemechu, 24, kicked in a 17:20 5K to open a 15- to 20-second gap.

"Spot on the second we went over the halfway mark, I thought she'd entered a 5K race," said McGregor, 25, who won $10,000 and qualified for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in her hometown Melbourne. "I pegged her back around the 18-mile mark. I put in a couple of 5:40 (miles) and almost got back on then got a bit tired after that.

"Hopefully I'll go into the next one having learned a bit. I'm sure I wasted a lot of nervous energy this morning. I was shaking at the start."

Complete article at the IAAF and the Arizona Republic
Posted at 09:10     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, January 10, 2005 

Pittman gives AA the jitters

If Jana Pittman were to decide to represent England and Britain in future she would be forced to miss several major championships under the international rules of athletics.

The world 400m hurdles champion's move to base herself with her British fiance Chris Rawlinson in England has given Australian athletics administrators the jitters.
While she has never spoken of switching allegiances, such a move could be viable if she eventually took up British citizenship.

Under the recently revised provisions of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Rule 5.2(c) stipulates an athlete changing flags must stand down from international championships for at least three years.

The rule states: "In this case, the athlete cannot compete for [her] new country for a period of at least three years after the date the athlete last represented another country in an international competition."

However, there is a get-out clause which Athletics Australia would surely agree to grant if Jana decided she wanted to compete for England.

The escape clause reads: "This period may be reduced to one year if the two [IAAF] member federations concerned agree."

Complete article at the Herald Sun
Posted at 14:12     [Perma-Link]

Benita wins XC, Mottram an ill 14th

World long course cross-country champion Benita Johnson continued her golden form with another international victory, this time at the Cross International Zornotza in Amorebieta in Spain.

Johnson beat some of Kenya and Britain's top distance runners to win the 6km race.

She finished five seconds ahead of reigning world cross country short course champion Edith Masai of Kenya with Johnson crossing the line in 22min 23sec.

"I ran comfortably for the first three kilometres," said Johnson, who sat on the heels of the Kenyan leaders until the halfway point. Then I tried to leave the others but it was not an easy task I pushed even harder in the last kilometre and managed to leave Masai."

In the men's event won by Qatar's Abdullah Ahmad Hassan, Andrew Letherby ran a credible sixth while an ill Craig Mottram battled into 14th.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 14:04     [Perma-Link]

Top runners to miss A-series

National athletics officials face a severe challenge to revitalise the struggling A-series this year, largely without most of the sport's major drawcards including world champion Jana Pittman.

Pittman split with her coach Phil King last week and confirmed her desire to spend this year training in Europe with her new fiance, English 400m hurdler Chris Rawlinson.

Australia's three best athletes – Pittman, world cross-country champion Benita Johnson, and Olympic 5000m finalist Craig Mottram – are based largely in England.

The top three are expected to compete in only two competitions during the domestic season – the IAAF grand prix meet in Melbourne on February 17, and the national championships in Sydney, March 4-6.

New Athletics Australian chief executive Danny Corcoran said last week that boosting the five-round A-series was one of his primary objectives.

"With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, we hope to reinvigorate the Telstra A-series, making it one of the best domestic athletics circuits in the world, while providing our athletes with the opportunity to compete against some of the world's best in Australia," Corcoran said.

However, that task will be more difficult if he has few headliners to work with.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 07:07     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, January 09, 2005 

The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon

The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon will be held for the 14th time on Sunday, 22nd May 2005. Now recognised as the leading half marathon in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon has distinguished itself by providing a wonderful course that takes in the best of the Sydney CBD skyline.

Start Time: 7.30am
Distance: 21.1km (2-lap course)

An announcement will be made shortly as to when entries for 2005 will open. The date for entries opening is generally around mid-March.

Please note that the field size for this event is restricted and entries in 2004 closed after only three weeks.

You can contact event organisers on 1800 555 514 or

Complete article at the Race Website
Posted at 15:55     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, January 08, 2005 

Pittman and King split

Phil King, the only man in Australia to have coached an Olympic women's 400 metres gold medallist, and Jana Pittman have decided on a parting of ways.

The pair announced yesterday that they would not be working together this year as Pittman prepares to defend her world championships hurdles crown. Pittman will move to England to join the training group of her fiance, English 400 metres hurdler Chris Rawlinson.

That victory, in Paris in 2003, propelled Pittman to favouritism for the Olympics in Athens last year. After a knee injury, and arthroscopic surgery, a few weeks before the Olympics, she finished fifth in the final.

Although both parties said all the right things in a statement accompanying yesterday's announcement, the split reflects the reality that the athlete-coach relationship could not continue at the same intensity as 2004.

King said Pittman would "never die wondering and will always seek out new opportunities and change if she sees it as benefiting her career".

He added: "It is something that I respect and is how I got the opportunity to coach her in the first place. Now the chance to train and live in Europe has presented itself. This, together with trying something a bit different in preparation, is something that she would like to do. Jana does so with my blessing."

Pittman said King had instilled a strong sense of discipline in her over their two years working together and said he went "beyond the call of duty" in taking her into his family.

"I owe Phil, his family and the rest of the team he surrounded me by, a great deal of gratitude for the hard yards we endured together. I feel it has set me up extremely well for the rest of my career," Pittman said.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 22:29     [Perma-Link]

Australian diplomat bashed whilst jogging

Australia's top diplomat in Fiji was bashed and robbed on her early morning run in the capital Suva.

Australian High Commissioner Jennifer Rawson was approached by a man in Princess Road near the embassy about 5.15am local time. He punched her in the face and stole her walkman before fleeing, local police said.

Ms Rawson suffered serious facial injuries and is being treated in a local hospital. No arrest had been made but police were confident of catching the attacker.

"We are working on the case and we have some leads at the moment," Fiji's Director of Criminal Intelligence Ravi Narayan told AAP from Suva. "We are confident we will get this person at some stage."

The identity of the attacker and the motive for the assault were not known, Mr Narayan said, but there had been an increase in such crime around Suva recently. Ms Rawson's condition is not known. A spokesman for the High Commission in Suva, Dennis Rounds, confirmed the ambassador had gone alone on a jog.

In Canberra, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said Ms Rawson would be flown to Australia for medical treatment as soon as possible. "Arrangements are being made to have her medically evacuated to Sydney for further treatment," a DFAT spokeswoman said.

Australia's High Commission in Fiji is a high security compound just outside the main business area of Suva but on the normally busy Princess Road.

Ms Rawson is a senior career diplomat who joined DFAT in 1976. Aged in her early 50s, she has worked as a diplomat in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, and was high commissioner in Tonga from 1993 to 1995. She has also worked in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and as a Deputy Director General in the Australian Agency for International Development.

Posted at 19:11     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, January 05, 2005 

Deaflympics open tonight in Melbourne

A Choir of 1200 children will tonight herald the beginning of the first Deaflympics held in Australia.

The Australian Youth Choir will support Australian Idol stars Guy Sebastian and Paulini in the opening ceremony at Olympic Park in Melbourne.

Some 30,000 interstate and overseas visitors who have descended on the city for the 20th Summer Deaflympic Games, which will be the biggest in history.

About 3500 athletes from 94 countries will fire up when full competition gets underway tomorrow.

The Games are made up of 16 sports, including track and field, swimming, cycling and soccer. The only non-Olympic sport is tenpin bowling.

Games media director Susan Wright said the only difference from the Olympics was that flashing lights, hand signals or flags were used instead of a starting gun or whistle.

Complete article at and the Deaflympics website.
Posted at 07:16     [Perma-Link]

Tasmania's O'Toole achieve 2004 Goal just in time

Youngtown’s Lisa O’Toole achieved her 2004 goal just in time, breaking the 50 minute mark for 10km at the Longford road races conducted by the Newstead Harrier Club on Monday.

O’Toole began running only last year after taking her children along to cross country events and has steadily reduced her times and increased her endurance.

O’Toole recorded 48:19 to win comfortably from former junior cross country representative Charles Gunn. Another big improver, Gunn has stepped up to senior competition in style running a personal best 36:02 for fastest time. Gunn’s fellow backmarker Robbie Lee placed third.

Stephanie Walker, 11, surprised with first place and fastest female time (21:11) in the 4km ahead of dad Tony Walker and state representative Tom Goddard. Fastest male was Damean Appleby in 15:25.

Grace Mitchelson caught Arabella Phillips in a sprint to the line in the 1.6km handicap with Blake O’Toole a close third. Fastest was Curt O’Toole in 6:06.

The club also held a Christmas Eve run at St Leonards, with Charles Gunn first in the 5km in 17:51 from Hugh McLennan and Mark Wilson.

Steeplechaser Josh Harris, 14, took out the 2km in 6:43 from Tom Goddard, and Deni Saunders who put in one of her strongest runs of the year for third.

The Newstead Harrier Club is northern Tasmania’s oldest athletics club, having been established in 1933.

Posted at 01:12     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, January 03, 2005 

Max Binnington begins one of the toughest jobs

Olympian Max Binnington begins one of the toughest jobs in local sport tomorrow as national performance director of Athletics Australia.

While other Olympic sports such as swimming continue to reach new heights in performance, athletics has stagnated.

"It is a tough time for the sport and I've certainly got concerns," Binnington, 55, said. "But the number and range of people who have contacted me wanting to help proves to me there is a tremendous ground swell running under our sport and I've got to tap into that."

Binnington said Australia's poor world rating and participation level are caused by low morale, under-use of "people resources" and too much bickering.

"The last 10 to 15 years we haven't been beating our records as frequently as perhaps we should," he said. "We shouldn't be in the position we are at the moment."

Binnington was one of the country's top hurdlers in the 1970s - he is still fourth on the all-time list - an Olympian and Commonwealth Games representative before becoming an administrator at Victoria Athletics.

The new position of national performance director replaces the head coach role, which was held by Keith Connor.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 20:43     [Perma-Link]

Australians win Madrid race

Craig Mottram and Benita Johnson ended 2004 on resonant notes with wins in the San Silvestre Vallecana New Year's Eve race in Madrid.

Olympic 5000 metres finalist Mottram broke away from a pack of five, including marathon world record-holder Paul Tergat of Kenya, in the final kilometre of the 10-kilometre road race. He beat Tergat by 40 metres in 28 minutes 18 seconds. Johnson, the world cross-country champion, had more than 200 metres to spare over 2003 world marathon champion Catherine Ndereba of Kenya in 32:36.

The San Silvestre is as much festival as race. The crowds lining the course were so thick that Johnson said not much more than a body's width separated the runners from them.

Although many people get sprayed with various substances in New Year celebrations, such behaviour is not usually part of an elite running race. "They spray shaving cream and streamers all over you," Mottram said.

The Madrid race was the first in a month-long campaign by Johnson and Mottram. They also will compete in a cross-country in Edinburgh on January 15 with further races in Spain and Italy.

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

AA boss: Don't tar us with same BALCO brush

Australian athletics boss Danny Corcoran says the sport's future in this country should not be compromised by the drugs scandal engulfing America.

The BALCO saga has savaged the credibility of some of athletics' biggest names, including Sydney Olympic Games 100-metre champion Marion Jones, but Corcoran believes the sport here can rise above these issues.

"It would be wrong to say it hasn't tarnished the reputation of the sport worldwide, but we have to show that drugs are not, and never will be, an accepted part of the sport in Australia," Corcoran said. "That's what we want to see and that's what the mums and dads and the average sports fans wants to see and believe, and that's the message we need to send worldwide. It's obviously a problem in the sport and one we have to confront.

"If athletes win medals and are later found to be cheating, they should be stripped of those medals no matter what. And we need to support WADA [the World Anti-Doping Agency] and the IOC in chasing down and getting rid of drugs cheats in every way possible. It is a clean sport in Australia and we will keep it that way."

Corcoran took over the role of AA chief executive from Simon Allatson last August and has set about implementing a range of new measures to rebuild the sport in Australia. Athletics copped a savaging after some below-par performances at the Athens Olympics and Corcoran is under no illusions about the task ahead of him.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 17:58     [Perma-Link]

McCann breaks course record in hot handicap

Commonwealth Games champion Kerryn McCann broke her own course record on the way to winning the annual Kembla Joggers Hangover Handicap at Mt Kembla on the weekend.

The three-time Olympian from Coledale finished a long way in front in the women's division.

Wollongong's national mountain running champion Ben Dubois was the quickest among the men.

Kembla Joggers president Neil Barnett said humid, overcast conditions tested the bumper field of 80 runners for the New Year's Day race over 6.6km.

"Kerryn had a fantastic run, breaking her own course record (from 2001) by just one second," he said.

item originally published in the Illawarra Mercury
Posted at 17:30     [Perma-Link]

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