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 Thursday, March 31, 2005 

Trailwalker Melbourne - Marathon task for eager teachers


AS if teaching doesn't have enough challenges, two Warrnambool school teachers are planning to run 100 kilometres in 18 hours to raise money for Oxfam Community Aid Abroad.

Iain Jackson, 37, of Brauer College, and Michael Barling, 40, of Emmanuel College, and two other men from Brisbane and Melbourne will make up one of more than 400 teams running from Lilydale to Mount Donna Buang in Melbourne's Oxfam Trailwalker event.

Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne is an endurance event in which teams of four attempt a 100 kilometre trail through bushland in 48 hours, the last eight kilometres of which is too difficult to run and must be walked.

It is known to be one of the toughest team events in the world but Mr Jackson, Mr Barling and the team have made things even tougher, reducing their time frame for completion to somewhere between 17.5 and 18 hours.

"If everything goes to plan, I'm confident we'll make it."

Mr Jackson has never run a marathon and Mr Barling has run just a few but they are confident their training - which has them running between 60 and 70 kilometres per week - will be enough.

"If the other three are still going that will keep me going - I refuse to be the weakest link, " Mr Jackson said.

Complete article at The Standard
Posted at 16:57     [Perma-Link]

Lauren heads off to the London marathon

Esperance (WA) Distance runner Lauren Shelley leaves for England this week to run in the London Marathon, in which she has an 'elite' entry.

Shelley, 28, has been in serious training around Esperance for several months in preparation for her trip and has averaged 140km a week.

She has run six marathons - all in Australia - with a best time of 2hrs 57 mins but she hopes to "cane" that in the London Marathon on April 17.

She aims to run 2:40, and then cut that to 2:36 at the Gold Coast Marathon in July to put her in contention for a Commonwealth Games position.

Shelley has been receiving coaching via email from Canberra-based former world champion triathlete Jackie Gallagher, who turned to distance running after her triathlon career ended and ran third at the Commonwealth Games women's marathon at Manchester in 2002.

Shelley's elite status for London means she can start at the front of the field with world-class runners such as Paula Ratcliffe (UK) and Benita Johnson (Australia).

About 40,000 runners will take part in the London Marathon.

In the lead-up to that race, Shelley will run in a half-marathon at Bath next Sunday (with 15,000 others), a 10km race in Dublin and a 16km race in London.

Shelley was the Esperance Sports Star of the Year in 2002/03 for her running achievements, particularly being the first female in the Perth City to Surf race.

Complete article at The Esperance Express
Posted at 11:51     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, March 29, 2005 

Tasmanian Cross Country season off to a flying start

Newstead Harrier Club officials were delighted with the turn-up to the opening day of the northern Tasmanian cross country and road season at Trevallyn on Saturday, with impressive fields in all divisions.

State cross country representative Geoff Cassidy won the division 1 Personal Finance Company 6.4km Malvern Handicap road race, slashing 25 seconds from last year’s time and picking up cash and a trophy for his efforts.

Frontmarker Hugh McLennan led until the last 400m of the event before Cassidy charged through from the back, with national age orienteering representative John Brock third.

Fastest time prize went to Charles Gunn, in 23:17, just 4 seconds quicker than Cassidy, with the consistent Vicky Gunn (27:55) fastest female.

Promising triathlete Matthew Guy won the 3.2km cross country from Heather Richards and Luke Geelan. Oscar Phillips (11:48) was fastest in a quality field, which included state representatives Josh Harris, Oliver Stanesby, Geelan, fastest female Libby Clarke (12:35), Hobart’s Hannah Short and Georgetown’s Deni Saunders.

Bailey Bishop led home a field of over 30 to win the 1.6km cross country after a close battle with Sam Lee and Zena Saunders. Fastest were Kane Beck (6:36) and Jillian Lyall (7:06).

This Saturday’s Newstead Harrier Club events are the JA Dunn Funeral Directors Bill Ford Memorial 6.4km, the 3.2km Geoff Chaplin Memorial and the 1.6km Pat O’Byrne Memorial, starting with the 6.4km at 1pm, from Corra Linn, south of St Leonards.
Posted at 00:54     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, March 28, 2005 

To win is human, to participate divine

How hard is it to teach students that "winning isn't everything"?

Famous American football coach Vince Lombardi once posed the question: "if winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?"

Winning is inherent in any sport, whether it is a game of hopscotch in the school playground at lunchtime or the 400-metres final at the Olympic Games.

Yet in schools and community sporting clubs across the country, teachers and coaches are working feverishly to instil the idea in children that winning isn't everything - it's all about participation, fun and doing your personal best.

Undermining schools' good intentions is the saturation media coverage of sporting events, with news of superstars earning huge sums of money and fame for their sporting achievements. For them, winning is everything.

So how can coaches, teachers and parents strike the right balance in how sport is taught in schools?

Executive officer of School Sport Australia Steve Kalend admits the problem is tricky, but not a new one and that winning cannot be eliminated.

Government education departments fund School Sport Australia to co-ordinate school sport nationally.

It runs 34 national sporting events for the most talented primary and secondary school students in the country and has recently expanded into international competition.

Mr Kalend remembers a national push in schools and community clubs years ago under the former Aussie Sports Program to scrap competition ladders for younger students in a bid to take some of the focus off winning. It didn't work.

"It died a natural death, simply because of the way we are as human beings," Mr Kalend says.

"Scoring is common for all of us. You can't take winning out of sport. Even if you're having a game of hopscotch, someone has to win."

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 08:40     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, March 26, 2005 

Ryan Foster qualifies for World Youth Championshsips

Hobart's Ryan Foster qualfied for the world youth championships to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco in July. Foster edged under the standard of 5:58.00, running in an invitation 2000m steeplechase at the Tasmanian track and field championships.

Back in January, Foster had run 5:58.06 behind the New Zealand winner of the Australian Youth Olympic festival steeple. A match up with the former Ethiopian had been arranged by Foster's club Sandy Bay Harriers, and with the help of a local business.

Unfortunately the New Zealander was fogged in and the chance seemingly lost.

Foster then elected to run the 1500m title and finished close but not close enough to the standard in that event as well.

He then decided to have one more crack at the steeple and officials obligingly programmed an invitation event. With just a small crowd of spectators and supporters remaining to watch the last event on the program, to cheers of encouragement, Foster delivered the goods, running 5:57.31.

The relieved Foster threw his arms in the air as the commentator called the unofficial result and then fell to his knees with relief as the official announcement confirmed that he had indeed achieved the required time.

With well-wishers hugging him every few steps Foster eventually made his way to experienced coach Max Cherry who acknowledged Foster's effort in his usual low key manner.
Well done Ryan, persistance and hard work paid off.

The team announced by Athletics Australia is listed here.
Posted at 15:34     [Perma-Link]

Recognition for behind the scenes officials

Canberra's sportspeople are in good hands if two of the ACT's award-winning administrators are anything to go by.

Michael Thomson was awarded Athletics Australia's volunteer of the year, and Kim Lees the Ausport officials development award by the Australian Sports Commission. While Thomson, of Calwell, also holds down a full-time job, the amount of volunteer work he puts in matches the efforts of many sporting professionals.

Thomson's specialty is event management and he is heavily involved in the organisation of many national events held in Canberra, including the Telstra A-Series. He heads a group of fellow volunteers who organise every aspect of the events, ensuring a smooth competition for the athletes. But the mountain of work doesn't seem to faze Thomson.

"I just do them [the events] every year, I don't really think twice," he said. Away from actual events, Thomson promotes the sport and its athletes, organising media opportunities, and promoting upcoming events. "I just try to give the kids some exposure, give them some recognition for what they've done," he said.

Thomson received the award at an Athletics Australia gala dinner in Sydney, with track stars Nathan Deakes, Benita Johnson and Josh Ross also receiving awards. Despite being mentioned in the same breath as Australia's finest, Thomson was modest about his achievement.

"I felt a bit uncomfortable about getting the recognition, but it is nice," he said. "But the thing I really appreciate is when the athletes say thanks, and acknowledge it, and that's what's important to me."

Lees was also low-key about the recognition he has received. As referee education officer with the Australian Rugby Union, Lees implements and presents education programs, also accrediting referees, referee coaches and touch judges.

He doesn't just credit his award to the development role. "It's probably more oriented toward the length of time [in the sport], and the amount of involvement I have in the current programs," he said.

Lees, now based in Sydney, spent the majority of his refereeing career in the ACT, including 20 years of officiating A-grade, retiring in 1996. He had a simple answer on how to stay in the game for so long.

"Stubbornness," he joked. "I started out saying 'I'll see how this goes', and I ended up getting more and more involved in it."

Complete article at The Canberra Times
Posted at 10:51     [Perma-Link]

Turin Winter Paralympics overlaps Melbourne Commonwealth Games

The mascot for the Turin Winter Paralympics aptly describes what the Australian team is up against in March 2006.

"Aster" the snowflake was announced late last week to mark the one-year countdown to the IXth Winter Paralympics.

But since the Paralympics (March 10-19) overlap with the Commonwealth Games (March 15-26), Australia's disabled skiers haven't got a snowflake's chance of getting much exposure.

Then again, the Paralympians would be used to being overlooked.

After Prime Minister John Howard promised not to call last year's federal election before the Olympics so athletes would have the limelight, he called the poll immediately the Olympics ended for October 9.

This meant the Athens Paralympians competed head-on for media space during their Games in September (18-29) with federal politicians, as well as the AFL and rugby league finals.

"I'm really disappointed the two events are on together because the Commonwealth Games at home will be a fantastic event and I would love to be in Melbourne to support the Australian athletes," Milton said. "But the Paralympic Games are important too and I'm hoping that, if we are successful, people at home will at least know about it."

The Australian team coached by Milton's mentor Steve Graham will number between eight and 10 - the largest Paralympic Winter team to be sent overseas.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 10:09     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, March 25, 2005 

Prime Minister’s Team for 2005 announced at Kirribilli

The Prime Minister’s Team - ‘Running For A Future’ (The PM’s Team) is a partnership to encourage excellence in sport and business – and, more specifically, to identify and foster Australia’s marathon stars of the future.

Each year the incumbent Prime Minister will honour, with selection in The PM’s Team, five up-and-coming Australian marathon runners who have the potential, desire, talent and attitude to achieve on the world stage.

The selected five athletes will compete in one of the three Sydney Marathon Festival runs, as members of The PM’s Team, in the year they are honoured.

The PM’s Team, also involves a mentoring program whereby each of the selected runners will be teamed with both a sporting and business mentor to help them achieve their goals and, in time, hopefully their Olympic dream. The key role of the mentors will be as role models providing guidance and advice to the runners. The 2005 mentors include former ultra runner Pat Farmer MP and one of Australia’s favourite marathon sons, Robert De Castella MBE

Corporate sponsors are also involved and provide financial support to help the athletes achieve their marathon goals.

Each athlete will remain a member of the PM’s Team for one year.

The members of the inaugural PM’s Team for the year 2005 follow:

- Martin Dent
- Scott Westcott
- Shane Nankervis
- Anna Thompson
- Michael Chettle

Complete article at Athletics Australia
Posted at 11:04     [Perma-Link]

Benita Johnson & Nathan Deakes named Athletes of the Year

World Cross Country Champion Benita Johnson and Olympic bronze medalist Nathan Deakes have been crowned Female and Male Athlete of the year, announced at the annual Athletics Gala Dinner on 6th March in Sydney. Paralympic gold medallists Amy Winters and Kurt Fearnley took out the AWD Female and Male athletes of the year.
Benita and Nathan each walked away with $10,000.

Johnson’s top performance was winning Australia’s first ever medal at a World Cross Country Championships, arguably one of the most difficult championships to win. Johnson won by 12 seconds, equaling the largest winning margin in the last 16 years.

Nathan Deakes had an outstanding 2004, winning bronze in the World Walk Cup behind the two most recent Olympic Champions. Deakes then backed up to win Australia’s first Olympic walking medal in 44 years, a bronze in the 20km walk.

Complete article at Athletics Australia
Posted at 11:00     [Perma-Link]

Blow to Commonwealth Games prestige

The Melbourne 2006 Games have been abandoned by the traditional broadcaster of the Commonwealth Games in Canada, in what prominent Australian sports figures have described as a blow to the prestige of the Commonwealth movement.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has decided to overlook the Melbourne 2006 broadcast rights in favour of televised curling, ice skating and Winter Paralympics action next March.

CBC director of sport Nancy Lee said the network would not bother bidding for the 2006 Games, ending an association spanning several decades.

With Games television rights proving difficult to sell to Asian broadcasters, the comments from Canada are a blow to the prestige of the Commonwealth Games, and raise fears that Melbourne 2006 action may not be seen on Canadian TV.

In a twist to the TV rights saga, The Age believes Games organisers are negotiating with broadcasters in the United States, in a bid to become the first Commonwealth Games to be screened to US viewers.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 09:48     [Perma-Link]

Eight years to recover from coaching purge

Australian athletics will take at least eight years to recover from the coaching purge brought about by the financial crisis that has hit the sport.

That's the warning from Peter Bowman, one of the most respected coaches in the country as president of the Australian Track & Field Coaches Association.

Former Olympic champion Cathy Freeman has already expressed her dissatisfaction with the move to terminate 23 contracted coaches attached to the cash-strapped Athletics Australia on March 31.

Athletics Australia finally handed its coaching plan, part of it's annual $5.5 million submission, to the Australian Sports Commission this week but the damage that has been done is severe, says Bowman.

"It's a real worry -- and not just for the year leading up to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next March," Bowman told The Daily Telegraph. "Everyone is sympathetic towards the new administration at AA because they have taken over this huge loss [$1.3million]. But these coaches are lost. They won't come back. It will be another eight years before we get back on track. That's my opinion. Four years goes like a flash, the time from the Sydney Olympics to Athens was gone in a blink."

Bowman said he was very concerned about the destabilisation of coaches working in the State Institute of Sport system as a result of the cost-cutting move that will save AA about $600,000 in the coming year.

"We're in dire straits" Bowman lamented.

Complete article at The Daily Telegraph
Posted at 09:41     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, March 24, 2005 

Evan King shapes up for Stawell Gift

Seasoned professional sprinter Evan King is shaping up as Ballarat's main contender in Australia's richest 120m footrace - The Australia Post Stawell Gift - on Easter Monday.

King, 33, who was been runner-up in the $52,000 final in 1997, has the handy mark of 7.5m.

The Len-Templar-trained runner finished fourth in the Stawell Gift final last year on a tighter mark of 6.75m - now he is three quarters of metre better off this weekend.

Former stablemate and finalist at Stawell, Peter O'Dwyer who trains the POD Squad of professional runners, is on 9m but age and injuries are starting to catch up with the class runner of the past two decades.

O'Dwyer is 39 in three weeks and is arguably a better prospect in the veteran's 100m at Stawell.

"But if I make the semi finals of the Gift I won't run the vet's as my body would not stand up to it," the pragmatic O'Dwyer said.

O'Dwyer also has Matt Stewart, off 6.5m, in the mix for the Gift, but he was not confident the developing sprinter is ready for the big league this year.

"Matt should go okay and make the semis but he is a bit underdone - it will probably not be his year this year," O'Dwyer added.

Michael Poulton-trained Luke Madden is off 6.75m but may find the mark a little tough at this stage because of his interrupted preparation this season. Poulton, himself, is off 11.25m in the vet's 100m.

Grandson of trainer Templar, Justin Templar off 10m, has continued to impress as a sprinter with a big future and all eyes will be on how he handles the big league. Templar this season won the Sandringham Gift, made the final finishing fourth at the Wallan meeting and was second in the Geelong Gift earlier in the month.

The vastly-improved sprinter also recorded a second in the Ararat Gift, the day after the Ballarat Gift last month. Another up and coming sprinter, BJ Lloyd could surprise off 8.5m. The O'Dwyer-trained sprinter has had an injury and work-restricted season but could be at his best for Stawell. He won this month's Geelong Novice Gift in about 13.2 seconds.

Templar-trained 1999 Stawell Gift winner Rod Mathews is another with the experience and has the will to win off one of the outmarks of 9.5m in the Gift. The veteran, however, at this stage of his career, is more likely to feature in the 400m backmarkers.

Among the promising youngsters from Ballarat, O'Dwyer was quietly confident of the potential of 16-year-old Sam Gibb, who is "mixing it with the men well" for the backmarkers 400m and 550m races.

Another young gun, Charlie McKay, 21, was a member of Ballarat Grammar's 4X100m and 4X200m State schoolboys championship relay teams in 2000 and is coming on well in the middle distance events. He is off 22m in the 400m backmarkers.

Ballarat's fastest schoolboy Leigh Etteridge, 18, is another "POD Squad" member expected to take it right up to the field in the Novice 100m. The Year 12 student at Mt Clear off 6.75m has shown the type of form this season that will be a big plus on the Stawell stage.

Nathan Fox (6.5m), trained by Nev Down, is a big chance in the Novice 100m and has also entered in the Gift off the mark of 7.75m. Again in the 400s, veteran Paul Hughes, 37, is an O'Dwyer-trained runner that could surprise.

Other 100m vets runners that could feature this year at Stawell include Col McCurry off 15m, Michael O'Meara (18.25m) and a favourite "son" of the Templar stable Doug Armstrong off 20m.

The 70m Open Handicap also holds plenty of interest for Ballarat runners with O'Dwyer and Stewart expected to do well off 3.5m. Albury's Daniel Steinhauser, a top Ovens and Murray footballer and finalist at the 2005 Ballarat Gift under Stawell Gift-winning trainer Marcus Arnold is one to watch off 4.5m.

Again Fox (4.75m), Templar (6.25m), Mathews (7.25m) and particularly King (5.25) will be real contenders in the 70m. Veteran Greg O'Keefe (Wangaratta) who continues to surprise making finals in open company at Stawell is off 7.5m and cannot be dismissed either.

In the Women's Strickland Family sprint, Ballarat's Patricia Andison will wave the flag for our city off 7m, while Laura Jane Hilditch of Bacchus Marsh off 8m also cannot be discounted.

Entries in the 400m backmarkers include Mathews (12m), King (18m), Madden (26m), Templar (30m), Adam Ratcliffe (30m) who won the 400m at Sandringham, Hughes (34m), B. J. Lloyd (35m) and veteran Poulton 36m.

In the frontmarkers 400m, Ballarat is represented by Mathews (12m), veteran Peter O'Donnell (36m), veteran McCurry (52m), Chris Livitsanos of Invermay (55m) and veteran Michael O'Meara (60m).

Nathan Hartigan, another grandson of Len Templar, has entered in the mile and two mile events and has the potential to do well at Stawell, his grandfather believes.

"In a couple of miles this season he has run a third and fourth and he will certainly be a future distance runner. He has come along well with Steve Moneghetti also actings as a mentor for him," Templar added.

Complete article at the Ballarat Courier
Posted at 08:21     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, March 23, 2005 

Steeplechase picked me: Hallett runner

Hallett runner Kristy Villis has always loved running long distances. As a young school girl she trained constantly and achieved some local success before concentrating on establishing her career as a physiotherapist.

Fortunately, two years ago Kristy took up running again, competing in cross country and track events and recently won the women's 3000 metre steeplechase event in the national competitions held in Sydney.

"I bought a treadmill to help me get fit again because at first I could hardly run a kilometre without stopping half way," Kirsty said.

This win puts Kristy in a good position to be chosen to compete in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in March 2006

Kristy was the only South Australian to win a national track medal at the national championships and it is a fitting reward for Kristy's commitment and hard work. She came into the event ranked second in the state and as well as achieving a personal best, broke the state record and has moved up to top place.

Athletics Australia keeps a close eye on how athletes are performing in each event and will host selection trials for the national team in the near future.

Kirsty now works with coach Gary Zeuner although she does most of her training around her property. Each week she runs at least 80 kilometres as well as doing various speed work as well as an exercise regime including push-ups and sit-ups to improve her stability.

Kirsty said she was elated to win the event but realised she needs to get many more races under her belt before the selection trials.

"Racing is a funny business because you don't pick your event, it seems to pick you and at this stage steeplechase seems to have picked me," Kirsty said.

Complete article at Claire Valley Northern Argus
Posted at 23:02     [Perma-Link]

Lee Troop considers his future

Injury-prone Australian marathon runner Lee Troop will consider retirement if he fails to compete at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Troop, 32, is sidelined again after a stress fracture in his lower back flared at the Lake Biwa Marathon a fortnight ago in Japan.

Speaking at the launch of the Great Ocean Road Marathon, Troop said his latest injury and a torn leg muscle after the Athens Games had made him consider his future in the sport.

"Post-Athens hasn't been terribly kind to me," Troop said. "It's getting to a point now where I guess the only thing I can be thankful for (is that) the Commonwealth Games are 12 months away. That's the only thing that keeps giving a little bit of incentive to continue on. Otherwise I think I'd be probably getting to the point now of just maybe closing the door and just conceding the body is just not handling the rigours."

Troop did not reach his goal of making the top 10 at the Athens Olympics marathon, finishing 28th, but he was encouraged by his race.

He should be at the prime of his marathon career, but the Geelong runner has been running for 22 years and logging 160km training weeks since he was a teenager.

"I'm sick of getting let down by the system, you do all the hard yards, you train hard and you're really committed and you get rewarded by getting injured and not making money from your sport," he said. "I don't know how many more rolls of the dice I've got. If I don't get to Commonwealths, I think I will just concede I'm just not quite good enough and hang up the boots. I don't want to be 38-39, still grasping at straws, chasing a dream that might never happen."

Complete article at The Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 07:32     [Perma-Link]

Strong Youth Team off to Morocco

Thirty-seven of Australia’s most promising young athletes were today announced in the largest ever Australian team to compete at the IAAF World Youth Athletics (U18) Championships to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco in July 2005.

The team size is a significant increase on the previous largest team of twenty-nine athletes, and is a direct result of improvement in performances in this age division and reflects Australia’s growing depth in junior athletics.

Not only is the 2005 World Youth Australian team the largest, but looks to be the strongest with five senior national champions selected, Chris Noffke (long jump), Dani Samuels (discus), Katherine Katsanevakis (800m), Sophia Begg high jump) and Lauren Boden (400m hurdles). The last two Australian World Youth teams have placed sixth overall, and included athletes such as Jana Pittman, Georgie Clarke, Petrina Price and John Thornell.

"Athletics Australia is delighted to make such an investment in the future of the sport by sending our largest team ever of young athletes to the World Youth Championships in Morocco. We hope these young athletes take great pride in representing their country and see this as the pathway to representing Australia at major Games in the future. Our best wishes go to all the athletes and we will take great pride in their achievements" said Athletics Australia CEO Danny Corcoran.

Ninety percent of this team have emerged from the Australian Youth Olympic Festival held in January 2005, in Sydney. The AYOF program was a tremendous development step for these athletes, who will now compete on the world stage.

Complete article at Athletics Australia
Posted at 07:22     [Perma-Link]

Tamsyn Lewis on radio Triple-M

Tamsyn Lewis and controversy seem to go hand in hand. Only last year, the runner fell foul of Australian athletic officials over this pre-Olympic photo shoot she did for men's magazine Ralph, the consensus at the time being she had become better known for her sexy poses then her results on the track. Well, her latest brush with the media is also unlikely to endear her to officialdom, Lewis sending the Melbourne & Sydney airwaves blue in an extraordinary few minutes on Triple M's breakfast show.

In a short stint as a part-time presenter on the breakfast radio show, she had plenty to say about the peculiar charms of black men, whom she said had "bigger lunch boxes". When asked if she knew this because of all the training she had done with the likes of Linford Christie, she said "Yes", adding: "You know what they say, once you've had black . . . (you never go back)."

Athletics Australia's national performance director Max Binnington appeared stunned yesterday when we gave him an outline of Lewis' comments but said he would not comment until he had listened to a tape of the show.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 07:14     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, March 22, 2005 

Athletics coaches to lose jobs

Athletics coaches at Australia's state institutes of sport will lose their jobs when their contracts expire at the end of March.

Athletics Australia says it cannot afford to fund the 23 elite coaching positions, unless it receives more money from the Australian Sports Commission.

AA says it does hope to fund up to eight coaching positions from July this year.

Peter Fortune, who coached Cathy Freeman to Olympic success and is contracted with the Victorian Institute of Sport, said many coaches would leave the profession as a result of the cutbacks.

"Some of our best young coaches who have been supported by the institute system, are now having to go elsewhere and try and find other work, and in some cases the younger ones have had to leave the sport which is a bit tragic," he said.

Fortune said he hoped to stay in the sport. "Well its been my job now for nine years, so I'll have to now look at some other things and try to stay in the sport if I can," he said.

(From the ABC)
Posted at 07:31     [Perma-Link]

Bendigo family files discrimination claim against Commonwealth Games

A Bendigo family of six has lodged an equal opportunity complaint against next year's Commonwealth Games, arguing it discriminates against large families.

Jim Dannock lodged the complaint after learning his family would be ineligible to enter the ballot for the swimming and basketball events because organisers were restricting tickets to a maximum of four.

"The reason they're restricting the ballot is to allow as many people as possible to go, but I can't even go in the ballot because I've got a family of six," he said. "I believe they're discriminating against large families - how many other families out there are in the same position?"

Mr Dannock plans to take his wife, three sons and daughter to the Games, which will include the basketball being hosted in Bendigo. But he said the policy meant he could only attend with some members of his family and he was not prepared to do this.

"I could take four members of my family, but is that fair?" he said.

In his complaint, Mr Dannock called on Games organisers to change their policy and allow families of five or more people to apply for tickets in the ballots for all events.

Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games CEO John Harnden defended the ticketing system, saying it was fair.

The four-ticket limit applies to swimming, diving, track cycling, regional basketball and pistol and small-bore shooting events.

"This is the most equitable way of ensuring as many people as possible can see these events, regardless of whether you're applying for family packages or individual tickets," Mr Harnden said. "In other words, this policy limits the number of tickets on offer to the whole community, not just families, so as many people as possible can see these events."

Mr Harnden said limiting the maximum number of tickets to a handful of events was standard practice for international sporting events, including the Sydney Olympics and Rugby World Cup. Mr Harnden added there was no limit to the number of sessions you could apply for.
Posted at 07:27     [Perma-Link]

Athletics Australia comments on Greek farce

The International Association of Athletics Federations said it was "surprised" that Kenteris, 31, the Sydney Olympic gold medallist in the 200 metres, and Thanou, 30, the silver medallist in the 100 at Sydney, had escaped punishment, while their coach, Christos Tsekos, was blamed for not telling them of the drug test and suspended for four years. The IAAF said it would review the situation.

"The IAAF notes the decision to suspend the coach, Christos Tsekos, for a period of four years, but was surprised to learn that the sprinters, Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, have been cleared of charges that they tried to evade doping controls," it said.

"The IAAF is now looking forward to receiving full documentation in English about this decision, and this will be carefully considered by our doping review board. The IAAF will then decide whether to accept or reject the decision and, in the latter case, it reserves the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport."

Athletics Australia chief executive Danny Corcoran said he was certain the matter was not over.

"There's a great deal of suspicion around these two athletes. They are entitled to natural justice, but missing drug tests and faking accidents are pretty serious charges and they'll have to deal with both (of) those," Corcoran said.

Defending 400 metres hurdles world champion Jana Pittman, leaving Australia for Los Angeles today, said yesterday while she did not want to comment on the issue, if the athletes had been cleared "that would be great for our sport" because all athletes wanted to compete against clean competitors.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 07:15     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, March 21, 2005 

Benita Johnson comes up short in cross-country defence

Benita Johnson did her best, but ended the defence of her world cross-country title at St Galmier, France, on Saturday in only seventh place.

Warm conditions, a flat course and a phalanx of Ethiopian and Kenyan rivals derailed Johnson's hopes of retaining the crown she won in Brussels last year.

Hoping to have her opposition stretched with two kilometres to go, Johnson was just hanging on herself - a significant 10 metres off the lead as they came into the final lap.

She ultimately finished 21 seconds behind the winner, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, most of that ground lost in the final kilometre when she could neither win nor take a medal.

"I was disappointed, but I did all I could on the day," Johnson said. "I couldn't get away."

Johnson had come for a medal and left empty-handed.

"She probably ran almost as well as last year, but there was nowhere she could put it to them," Johnson's coach Nic Bideau said.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 09:46     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, March 18, 2005 

Six Foot Track Marathon runners on video

Six Foot Track Marathon runners can this year see themselves on video - and they have more photo options than ever before.

Marathon-Photos has been photographing distance events in Australia since 2000 and
includes the Canberra Marathon, Gold Coast Marathon and Six Foot Track Marathon in
its annual photography schedule.

This year's Six Foot Track Marathon event was the first Australian race to be filmed by, a subsidiary of official race photographer

Using specially-developed software, runners can download their own personal digital
video from the Internet, at

Each two minute video contains general footage of the event and individual footage of each runner at the finish. They are available in small (11Mb) or large size (30Mb) to suit any computer modem and may be downloaded within minutes of ordering. will also be seen at work at the Rotterdam Marathon and Prague
Marathon in coming weeks. now photographs distance running events in 18 countries around
the world.

The company has introduced a new range of products in the past year, now available
to Six Foot Track runners. These include Race Time Photos, which record a runner's
finish time, and Photo Certificates which record a runner's name and finishing
details below their chosen photo.

Visit to order your Six Foot Track video, and to view and order your race photos.

The Six Foot Track Marathon website is at
Posted at 15:45     [Perma-Link]

Lest We Forget Brisbane Marathon has new Race Organisers

The Intraining Running Centre P/L has taken on the organisation of the Lest We Forget Brisbane Marathon from River City Events P/L. Race Organisers Don and Trish Griffin have done a wonderful job of developing the marathon since taking it on seven years ago. At the time it was in danger of being cancelled as the financial risk of such a big event was becoming too great for the events owner the Queensland Marathon and Road Runners Club, now the Brisbane Road Runners Club.

Don and Trish introduced an ultramarathon from the Gold Coast to Brisbane in 2001 while expanding into a national Lest We Forget 8km series in 2002. The Lest We Forget Run is a joint initiative of Athletics Australia and the RSL. Net profit from the runs is used by the RSL for welfare related activities. Entry fees are totally tax-deductible thanks to the charity status of the run.

After seven years at the helm, Don and Trish felt it was time to pass on the responsibility of organising Brisbane’s Marathon. "Being the founder of the Lest We Forget Run has been a great honour because of the support we received from the running community over the past seven years. We thank everyone for their help and friendship. Our first marathon was the Brisbane Marathon and will look forward to running it again this year. We will continue to support Steve and Margot in any way we can and wish them every success." Don said.

New race organisers, Steve and Margot Manning, will bring a wealth of experience as both runners and race organisers to the event. They will be ably supported by the staff of the Intraining Running Centre at Park Road Milton and members of the Intraining Running and Triathlon Club, as well as other Brisbane Running Groups.

“We felt that the Brisbane Marathon was a cornerstone of the Brisbane running season,” Steve said. “It was important to all runners that we kept the event going.”

With over 4000 participants nationwide and over 60 locations last year the Lest We Forget Run is a massive enterprise. The Brisbane event is the only location to have a marathon and half marathon and is by far the largest of the sixty events.

The Brisbane Marathon has been running since 1992. Steve was the first Race Director and has been a committed supporter and participant of the race ever since.

“Every major city must have a marathon to even be considered a major city,” Steve said. “We are excited about continuing to develop the race into the future. I would like to thank Don and Trish and their family for doing such a fantastic job and keeping the Brisbane Marathon going for so long.”

Comments from Coolrunners here
Posted at 07:55     [Perma-Link]

Kembla Joggers wins major grant

Kembla Joggers has recently been informed that they have been awarded a major grant from Sports Planning funds administered by Wollongong City Council. The funds are for their West Dapto cross-country project and provides free in-house design and architectural assistance for a clubhouse, course design and other structures.The estimated benefit to the club of this funding is approximately in the range $30,000-$50,000.

The club's West Dapto subcommittee will be working hard throughout the year to prepare a submission for funding through the State Governments Regional Sports Facility grant program. Most of this funding is dollar-for-dollar which means if they want to raise $300K for the project, they need to raise $150K before its matched. This can include in-kind support such as donated building materials, labour, tradesmen, loaned equipment etc. They are appealing to club members to help out.

Kembla Joggers are one of NSW's largest and best organised clubs and often win Club awards from Athletics Australia. Their website is
Posted at 07:45     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, March 16, 2005 

Axing fees could harm uni sport: Gosper

Scrapping compulsory union fees for tertiary students could have a dramatic impact on funding for university sport, senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Kevan Gosper.

Under new laws introduced to parliament, university students will no longer have to join student unions and pay compulsory union fees.

Education Minister Brendan Nelson introduced a bill to abolish student unions' compulsory collection of fees at universities and make student union membership voluntary.

Mr Nelson told parliament students were denied the right of freedom of association, but the proposed law would give them choices.

But Mr Gosper, who is also patron of the peak governing body of Australian university sport, said the move would lead to a drop in funding for sport.

University sport facilities and clubs are also funded by compulsory student levies, and Mr Gosper fears university clubs could die out if funding was voluntary.

"It's a basic issue that anything which doesn't have cash underpinning it will fail in the long term," he told ABC radio.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 13:45     [Perma-Link]

Axing fees could harm uni sport: Gosper

Scrapping compulsory union fees for tertiary students could have a dramatic impact on funding for university sport, senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Kevan Gosper.

Under new laws introduced to parliament, university students will no longer have to join student unions and pay compulsory union fees.

Education Minister Brendan Nelson introduced a bill to abolish student unions' compulsory collection of fees at universities and make student union membership voluntary.

Mr Nelson told parliament students were denied the right of freedom of association, but the proposed law would give them choices.

But Mr Gosper, who is also patron of the peak governing body of Australian university sport, said the move would lead to a drop in funding for sport.

University sport facilities and clubs are also funded by compulsory student levies, and Mr Gosper fears university clubs could die out if funding was voluntary.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:39     [Perma-Link]

Sydney runner to run Rwanda Peace Marathon

Almost one million people were killed in the 1996 Rwandan genocide. Eleven years on, 15 May 2005, the first International Peace Marathon will be held in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Sydney’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations Producer Ed Wilkinson is volunteering his experience, and his feet, to the team at Soroptimist International, the women’s peace movement putting the event together.

“The marathon will aid widowed victims of the genocide who have become the sole family support. We also hope to raise awareness of reconciliation process among the Rwandan people, to educate young people about peace, to open international relationships, and to promote a positive image of a country under reconstruction.” Ed Wilkinson explained.

“For people who’d like to join us there is the full marathon a half-marathon and a run-for-fun of 5 km, a friendly race open to young and old. It’s something a little different to do for your holiday!”

The marathon route of 42.189 km has been measured by Winkler and Scuda, experts officially recognised by the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) to whom the measurement report is submitted.

Soroptimist International (SI), a service organisation of professional women, accredited with the UN, aims to promote Peace and aid women and children survivors of war. SI has over 100,000 members in its 3200 clubs spread over 112 countries throughout the world.

RUN FOR PEACE in Kigali on 15 May 2005. For more information or to register check out

Ed Wilkinson has been Producer of Sydney NYE for the past 2 years, and was loaned by the City of Sydney to the East Timorese Government and the UN to be Head of Production for that countries Independence Ceremony in 2002. He is a casual runner.

Whilst speaking to Coolrunning, Ed had this to say:
"I became involved as I have had an interest in Rwanda for a while after first reading some very sad stories about the violence in 1994 a few years ago. I am finishing up my current role as Producer of Sydney's New Year's Eve Celebrations in April and embarking on some long awaited travels. I'd done two marathons in the past, and was keen to see when other marathons were happening around the world when I came across this one in Rwanda. It sounded like the perfect opportunity, so I got in touch with the organisers and offered my help.

I wouldn't say I'm the fastest runner, it took me just over 4 hrs to finish the Sydney Marathon last year, but I enjoy it. I've done City to Surf for 6 years, a half marathon and 2 fulls. Will happily get some photos for you for post event.

For interviews call Edward Wilkinson on 0413-457-954.
Posted at 09:32     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, March 08, 2005 

Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2005 doubles as Australian Marathon Championship

Australian marathon legend Robert de Castella today revealed the 2005 Gold Coast Airport Marathon will double as the 2005 Australian Marathon Championship.

The announcement came at a gala launch hosted by State Member for Broadwater, Peta Kaye Croft, at the Grand Mercure Hotel at Broadbeach.

Also revealed was a new look for Gold Coast Events Management Ltd - a subsidiary company of the State Government's Queensland Events Corporation which operates the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and the Pan Pacific Masters Games. The company is now known as 'Queensland Events Gold Coast'.

The new branding will reinforce the Queensland Government's commitment to positioning Queensland as the Big Event State.

Ms Croft - a regular competitor in the event - said the double-biller marathon was a significant coup for the Gold Coast, which has successfully wrested the Australian Marathon Championship back from Sydney after a five-year run.

"The winning combination of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and Australian Marathon Championships are sure to give us a head start towards our goal of eclipsing last year's record of 11,804 competitors," Ms Croft said.

"The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is an award-winning event attracting athletes from every Australian state and territory, the Asia-Pacific region and over 30 countries worldwide, so it's great to see it going from strength to strength," she said.

In the wake of the marathon's nomination last month as a finalist for an Australian Tourism Award, Queensland Events Gold Coast Chairman, Kerry Watson, said another entry record is 'more than likely'.

"With exactly four (4) months to go, overseas interest - particularly from Japan and New Zealand - is the strongest it has been for many years," Mr Watson said.

"In fact, we have already received interest from runners from 36 countries, proving its value as a drawcard for the highly lucrative sports tourism market," he said.

Queensland Events Gold Coast General Manager, Cameron Hart, said the fresh new imagery for the 27th annual event will attract plenty of attention over coming months.

"This will be a year of new benchmarks for Australia's favourite marathon event," Mr Hart said. "We are devoting a huge amount of energy into marketing to both our regular entrants and new runners from all over the country and the world. Our 2005 slogan is 'Take The Challenge' - designed with our new event imagery to 'throw the gauntlet down' to everyone - from the very young to the very old - to lace up the joggers, set themselves a personal goal and compete in this year's event.

"Already we've experienced the thrill of welcoming each and every one of our 2004 event sponsors back, while our naming rights sponsor - Gold Coast Airport - has lined up for the third year running," he said.

Gold Coast City Councillor and Special Events Committee Chair, Bob La Castra, said the city was right behind the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.

"It's an iconic event, not just for the Gold Coast, but for the whole of Australia. The vision and excitement this event generates across the nation and across the world is absolutely astounding and it has the full support of the Gold Coast City Council," he said.

The feature event, the 42km Gold Coast Airport Marathon will this year incorporate the Australian Marathon Championship, an event Robert de Castella won in 1979 prior to unforgettable victories in the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the 1983 World Championship.

Key events also include the Asics Half Marathon, Telstra Country Wide 10 Kilometre Run, Gold Coast Bulletin 7.5 Kilometre Walk or the Norco Pauls Junior Dashes.

Entry forms for the 2005 event are now available. For more information call Queensland Events Gold Coast on 07 5564 8733 or race to
Posted at 07:29     [Perma-Link]

Eddie McGuire joins Athletics Australia board

At the Athletics Australia annual dinner on Sunday Night (6th March) after the National Championships, AA chairman Ken Roche announced that Collingwood AFL president Eddie McGuire would join the Athletics Australia board in a boost to the sport.

Danny Corcoran the AA CEO was previously the Collingwood team manager.

There has been almost no comment in the press about this announcement, even though Mr McGuire is a very well-known TV personality now.
Posted at 07:06     [Perma-Link]

Benita Johnson's trial and tribulation

Distance champion Benita Johnson may be forced to run a 10,000 metres race against her wishes because of selectors' concerns she has not officially qualified for the world championships.

As Athletics Australia prepares to announce a small initial team of about 13 athletes after the weekend trials in Sydney, Johnson is not certain to earn a berth to the Helsinki world titles in August.

Johnson and the AA selectors could be at loggerheads because of a requirement she run a 10,000m race by early June, a time frame which she says would hamper her recovery from the London marathon on April 17.

Johnson leaves Australia on Thursday for France to defend her crown over the 8km long course at the world cross-country championships.

Johnson, 25, stunned the international distance-running community last year when she beat more than 100 contenders for the world cross-country title, including a host of brilliant African athletes.

After the London marathon she planned to rest and prepare for the 10,000m on the track in Helsinki.

After she won the 5000m in commanding style at the national championships on Saturday, Johnson said she would contest a 10km race if the selectors demanded it.

"I am under the impression that is the selectors' discretion, so I will see what happens. But right now I am going to focus on world cross and then London and that is the next hurdle after that," Johnson said.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 02:57     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, March 07, 2005 

SMH Half Marathon entries open - get in quick!

It's one of the hottest tickets in town - a spot in the field for the The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon. So popular has the race become, organisers believe it is Australia's No.1 limited-entry running event.

The statistics back up their claim. It has been a "sell-out" for seven consecutive years.

The advent of online entry at has made it easier for people to lodge their details and payment, but its continued popularity is due to a wide range of factors.

The greatest of these, according to a cross-section of competitors the Herald spoke to, is - by far - the beauty of the course.

Winding its way through the historic Rocks area, up past the financial district to the grand old buildings on Macquarie Street, then down to the edge of magnificent Sydney Harbour and back to St Mary's Cathedral, the route takes in the best of the CBD as it loops around for a return to the wharves on Hickson Road.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 12:53     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, March 06, 2005 

U.S. marathoner suspended for 2 years for EPO usage

Deeja Youngquist, who finished eighth in the 2004 U.S. Olympic marathon trials, was suspended for two years for a doping violation.

The 27-year-old runner from Albuquerque, New Mexico tested positive for the banned endurance enhancer EPO during an out-of-competition test March 16 before the 2004 Olympic trials, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday.

The suspension began Dec. 4. Youngquist forfeits all competitive results and winnings since March 16, including her finish in the Olympic trials in St. Louis on April 3.

Youngquist finished nearly six minutes behind winner Colleen De Reuck and 4 minutes behind Jen Rhines, who earned the third and final spot on the U.S. team.

EPO, a synthetic hormone, stimulates production of red blood cells and increases aerobic power. Youngquist disputed the test results, which were first announced in August.
Posted at 18:25     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, March 05, 2005 

Nova Peris forced to sell medals

Nova Peris, the first Aborigine to win an Olympic gold medal, has had to sell all the sporting memorabilia from her remarkable career to help support her young family.

Peris, mother of two children to sprint star Daniel Batman, is believed to have received about $160,000 from the National Museum of Australia in Canberra for the 56-item collection.

It includes the hockey stick with which she struck gold at the Atlanta Olympics and her 200m sprint gold medal from the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

While refusing to confirm the amount she received, Peris revealed that the decision had been two years in the making and she was very happy with the outcome.

"When I finally made the decision, it wasn't like I couldn't sleep that night," she said. "I actually slept better knowing that I'd finally made the decision as it's been something that had been in the pipeline for two years. I'm glad I've done it and it will help us out and pay some money off our house.

"The way I look at it is I've had 10 years of representing Australia and someone who has spent 10 years in the public service gets a superannuation, so in my sport this is like a superannuation package."

For the past 12 months Peris and Batman, and their children Destiny, 3, and Jackson, 13 months, have been forced to live at Batman's parents' house in Sydney as he tried to resurrect his career after briefly retiring in 2001.

Peris suffered a serious illness last year which made her reassess priorities in her life.

Complete article at the Sunday Times
Posted at 21:29     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, March 04, 2005 

Female ranks a real concern

It is crunch time for Australia's female athletes following a summer when not even world champion Benita Johnson is yet guaranteed selection for the world championships in August.

Athletics Australia has deep concerns about the lack of depth in the women's ranks coming into the three-day national titles which begin at Sydney's Olympic Park today.

Not one woman in any event has achieved an A-qualifying mark for the Helsinki world championships during the domestic season of four showcase A-series meets.

"Our two world champions, Benita and Jana (Pittman) are women but there is daylight next," AA chief executive Danny Corcoran said.

The nationals, which double as the world championships trials, are the last chance for battling runners such as Lauren Hewitt and Tamsyn Lewis to show their wares and gain automatic selection.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 01:31     [Perma-Link]

Athletics boss admits there's no easy fix

Athletics Australia chief executive Danny Corcoran says there is no "easy fix" to attracting crowds and financial support.

The Australian titles are being held in Sydney over the next three days with athletes vying for selection for the World Championships in Helsinki in August.

Last year's titles were marred by concerns over the financial losses of the sport's governing body and calls for an inquiry into Australian athletics which has since been completed.

Mr Corcoran, who will be at his first national titles since taking over as chief executive officer, says people want to see the sport succeed.

"There's no good in selling and you can't deliver," he said. "We've got enormous challenges in front of us in terms of putting the sport on the correct footing to be successful. Having succession plans in athletes, succession plans in events so the athletes continue to come through consistently."

To make matters worse, several leading competitors have withdrawn from the titles, robbing it of some drawcards.

Complete article at The ABC
Posted at 01:04     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, March 03, 2005 

Only 19 Aussie athletes have qualified for world titles

Australia's world championships team will be one of the smallest for years with many athletes already deciding to focus on next year's Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

With the selection trials for the world titles beginning in Sydney tomorrow, the lack of quality performances throughout the summer's domestic series has officials concerned.
There were only five A-standard qualifying performances throughout the Telstra A-series with comeback kid Daniel Batman providing two of those in the 100m and 200m.

Joshua Ross also clocked the A-standard in the 100m while pole vaulters Paul Burgess and Steve Hooker were the only others to display world-class form.

On the eve of the national titles, there are only 11 men and eight women qualified for the Helsinki world titles in August. Five of them are walkers.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 06:31     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, March 02, 2005 

Athletes on edge over lack of funds

The federal Government is dragging its heels on a pre-election promise to provide $6.8million in direct support to athletes preparing for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

With the Games just a year away, Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief executive Perry Crosswhite confirmed yesterday that the athletes had yet to see the funds.

"It's becoming very important, because there will be a time when it's less effective than it should be," Crosswhite said. "Those funds are designed to help athletes take time off work to prepare properly for the Games. If it's less than 12 months, it's getting a bit late."

Crosswhite said the tardiness of the funding could affect Australia's medal count in Melbourne, and the team's ability to fight off a challenge from England for Games supremacy.

Despite the outstanding success of the Olympic team in Athens last year, Australians won medals in only 15 sports there compared with 21 in Sydney four years earlier.

The Australian Olympic Committee attributes that drop to the end of the federal Government's direct athlete support program after the Sydney Games.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 02:41     [Perma-Link]

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