Some Olympic Games News Headlines are here.
Mottram decides 5,000m is not enough for GamesDistance runner Craig Mottram has until the weekend to decide which event he will add to his Commonwealth Games program.
The World Championship medallist is looking to add either the 1,500 or 10,000 metres to his Games schedule, but will only run the 5,000 metres at this weekend's Commonwealth Games selection trials in Sydney.
Mottram's coach, Nic Bideau, says Athletics Australia has given him assurances that Mottram will be selected in the other event of his choice.
Bideau said he would not pressure Mottram to make a decision either way.
"It is basically what Craig will want to do himself, I am just saying that's the way it is to me. A lot of guys win the 5,000 and 10,000 - only two men have ever won the 1,500 and 5,000 at major championships before ... so if he wants to try and put himself in that company that's Craig's choice," he said.
Complete article at The ABC
Posted at 23:15 [Perma-Link]
Supermum to run coast half marathonTuesday, January 31
MARATHON supermum Kerryn McCann will tackle the Great Ocean Road half marathon in May.
McCann, who will defend her Manchester Commonwealth Games marathon gold in Melbourne in March, has driven along the 23 km course from Kennett River to Apollo Bay and declared it ``absolutely beautiful''.
``It will be nice to run in something different after the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the Great Ocean Road half marathon will be a tremendous challenge,'' she said yesterday.
The Sydney mother of two will be one of the major attractions at the Great Ocean Road International Marathon and Festival of Distance Running to be held on May 20-21. Marathon director John Craven said yesterday it was an honour to have an athlete of McCann's calibre running.
Complete article at the Geelong Advertiser
Posted at 10:10 [Perma-Link]
Grudge race is on : Tamsyn v JanaThe long awaited grudge race between Tamsyn Lewis and former world 400m hurdles champion Jana Pittman is set to go ahead at the Commonwealth Games selection trials in Sydney this week.
Lewis last night said she was primed for the clash with her arch-rival in the 400m final on Friday night. "The bigger the rivalry the better I reckon and it's been incredible the amount of people who've come up to me and asked 'when are you racing?' her and 'do you two get along?'," she said. "It's a talking point and that has to be good for the sport."
There's been a simmering feud between the high-profile athletes since the Athens Olympics when their once strong relationship became strained. ewis questioned Pittman's buildup to Athens and the drama surrounding her campaign at the Games.
Pittman responded by saying she would prefer to be known for her performances on the track rather than as a "bikini babe". She was referring to a photo shoot Lewis had done for a men's magazine before the Olympics.
Eight-time national champion Lewis has again posed for Ralph magazine with the issue going on sale to coincide with the Commonwealth Games in March.
"I would prefer to be known as a great athlete too but I haven't won a world championship so I can't sit on that laurel," Lewis said last night. "The bikini babe line was such a compliment from her and if that's how she wants to refer to me then fine. I don't look in the mirror in the morning and say 'look at me I'm a bikini babe'. Instead I usually grab my tracksuit pants and cover up my body."
Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 02:56 [Perma-Link]
Gundaroo Bush Run (NSW) Cancelled in 2006Message from race organisers:
Last Tuesday we received advice from our major sponsor, Telstra, that they would be unable to meet their commitment to sponsor the Gundaroo Bush Races in 2006 and 2007. Without the major sponsor the event would at best break even and so, given the time constraints in terms of finding a new sponsor, with much reluctance the committee has decided to cancel the 2006 Races.
We expect to continue the event in autumn 2007 with a new major sponsor and the sponsor of the Gundaroo Gift is very keen to continue supporting the event.
Posted at 00:16 [Perma-Link]
Miami Marathon attracts elites like Australian Phil SlyMost of the 10,000 runners competing in the ING Miami Marathon and half-marathon Sunday morning have no delusion of winning. They are shooting for personal bests, or simply just to finish.
But there are 22 elite runners, and maybe a handful of unknowns, who have a chance to cross the finish line first in their distance and gender categories.
Among them are the marathon's defending men's and women's champions: Elias Bastos of Brazil and Sandra Ruales of Ecuador. Bastos won last year's dramatic race in 2 hours 17 minutes 26 seconds, outkicking Venezuelan Freddy Alvarado by 10 seconds and Brazilians Jose Gutembergue and Edmilson Rodrigues by 12 and 19, respectively. All but Rodrigues are back again.
For this year's marathon, which begins at 6 a.m. in front of AmericanAirlines Arena and ends at Bayfront Park, Bastos said he plans a similar strategy. He will try to hang with the leaders for the first 25 miles and then use his strong finishing kick to pull out the victory. If it remains windy, he'll try to draft behind the lead runners.
''I'm as well-prepared as I was last year,'' Bastos said Friday. The 31-year-old has been training at high altitude in Paipa, Colombia, running about 113 miles per week.
But this year, the quality of the elite field is the best it has been in the four-year history of the race, according to elite runner coordinator Aldo Virano.
It certainly is international. Of the 13 elite men in the marathon, there are three Kenyans, two Brazilians and one runner each from Colombia, St. Lucia, Ukraine, Australia, Sweden, Mexico and Venezuela.
Winners for the marathon earn at least $5,000. They earn $2,500 more if the finish is faster than 2:14:00 for the male victor and 2:42:00 for the female victor.
The race organizers are offering a $100,000 bonus if the marathon record for races run on American soil is broken: 2:05:56 for men and 2:21:16 for women.
There also are prizes for many other finishers, including the top Miami-Dade residents in each gender. They win round-trip airfare from American Airlines.
Philip Sly, who won the 2002 Melbourne Marathon in his native Australia, said he heard about the race from his agent.
''He said it sounds like a beautiful spot to go, and it's a good opportunity to get involved in a marathon that is really coming up,'' Sly said. ``The names [of the competitors] aren't familiar. But there are quite a lot of good runners from around the world. I think it will be a tough day, but that will be good.''
Sly said the race has gotten more prestigious among elite runners because of the new title sponsor, ING, a Denmark-based financial company that already sponsors major marathons globally, including in New York and Amsterdam.
On the women's side, Ruales had a much easier time winning the marathon division of last year's race. The 31-year-old's time of 2:37:02 was eight minutes ahead of second-place Natalya Cherches of Russia.
Ruales said she expects strong competition this year from Japan's Hiromi Ominami, whose twin sister, Takamai, is among the favorites in the women's half-marathon. Ominami was second in the 2004 Berlin Marathon, running a world-class time of 2:23:26.
''But I prepared for this for a long time, and I will be a good defending champion,'' Ruales said.
There are six elite female marathoners. They hail from Moldova, Poland, Ecuador, Ukraine, Japan and the United States. The lone American is Stacie Alboucrek, a two-time Olympic trials qualifier who won the Miami race in 2004.
Virano expects the course record for women that was set by Ruales last year will fall Sunday. On the men's side, he said it will depend on the weather. There's a possibility, if there is optimal conditions -- cool temperatures, low humidity and little wind.
The scenic marathon course crosses the MacArthur Causeway to South Beach. It goes down Ocean Drive and returns to Miami via the Venetian Causeway.
From there it winds through downtown Miami, continuing down Bayshore Drive into Coconut Drove. The course turns around and continues back down Bayshore Drive and onto Brickell Avenue before finishing at Bayfront Park.
Sly of Australia said he'll be like most elite runners and barely notice the scenery. ''We have tunnel vision,'' he said. ``And as the finish gets closer, the tunnel gets smaller. You are thinking about how to finish ahead of the people you are around.
``Sometimes the louder the roar, the less you hear.''
Complete article at Miami Herald
Posted at 22:59 [Perma-Link]
Medal projections are on the riseAustralia will take its biggest track and field team to the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and is on target to overtake England as the top nation in the commonwealth.
Six months ago Athletics Australia's national performance manager Max Binnington forecast a team of around 85 athletes, who could win up to 28 medals in Melbourne.
But after witnessing athletes post a staggering 65 Games-qualifying performances at the A-Series meet in Canberra on Thursday, Binnington has thrown out his old calculations. Yesterday he predicted there might be as many as 110 athletes on the team, which will be announced after the selection trials in Sydney from February 2-5. And Binnington said the medal count was more likely to be in the mid-30s.
"I was optimistic before but the athletes have blown me away with their quality performances. They are far exceeding my expectations," Binnington said. "If we don't clearly come out as the top athletics nation at the Games I will be disappointed, and we should be well into the 30s when it comes to medals."
Host nation England topped the athletics medal tally in Manchester with 28.
Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 08:58 [Perma-Link]
Selected Australia Day Honours
Medal (OAM) in the General Division
Mr Herbert Raphael CRUMP
Primbee NSW 2502
For service to the community of Wollongong and to sport as an athletics coach.
Mr Hugh Michael EDWARDS
Toorak Vic 3142
For service to athletics as a coach, particularly for discus and hammer events.
Mr Dereck Ronald FINEBERG
Blacktown NSW 2148
For service to athletics, particularly the Blacktown Little Athletics Centre.
Mrs Janice Mabel GIBB
Cambewarra NSW 2540
For service to athletics as a team manager and official.
Mr Rodney James GIBB
Cambewarra NSW 2540
For service to athletics as an official and convenor.
Mr Peter Robert HADFIELD
Gymea NSW 2227
For service to athletics as a commentator and competitor and to the community through a range of charitable organisations.
Mr Vance Anthony HILTON
Kurunjang Vic 3337
For service to the community through a range of youth, athletics and charitable organisations.
Complete list available at Its An Honour website
Posted at 13:13 [Perma-Link]
Decathlete Peter Hadfield receives OAMOne the nation's finest decathletes, Peter Hadfield, who has been awarded an Australia Day honour, is upset about the decline of the 10-discipline event in Australian sport.
"No-one is as crazy as me, to take on that amount of work," Hadfield said of a sporting career that took him to two Olympics and two Commonwealth Games.Back then (1970s), I was training 40 hours a week and working full time.People still have the passion for athletics, but not for decathlon.In Australia, it's considered an obscure sport, where as in Germany and the Czech Republic it's the number one sport, the glamour sport."
Hadfield considers himself a blessed person who has lived a pretty happy life. He loved being a decathlete and he loves commentating on track and field. Hadfield competed at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics and the 1978 and 1982 Commonwealth Games, winning silver at Edmonton in 1978.
After his athletic career, he moved into the commentary chair and for the last 21 years has covered athletics at Commonwealth and Olympic Games for ABC radio.
"I thought they'd use me for a couple of years, but it's a gig that hasn't stopped," Hadfield says of the latter part of his career which has helped him to be awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
Hadfield will again provide his expertise on air at the Commonwealth Games in March.
"On an international level, Australia is not in a great way, Athletics Australia is in a sad state. But as far as these (Melbourne) Commonwealth Games are concerned, Australia should do very well," he said.
Hadfield says disciplines like pole vault, hurdles, walking events and 5000m are producing some good results, but in the past 20 years other events, like the men's 200m have not improved.
In his own event, the decathlon, Australia is not producing top contenders at the moment.
Hadfield's OAM is for his service to athletics as a commentator and competitor and also for his services to the community and charitable organisations. And there's no doubt he is a great man to have on a committee. The list of charities he is involved in is extensive. In his latest project for OxFam Australia he helped raised $1.8 million in a trail walk event in Sydney.
"Athletics was a selfish pursuit and commentating was an extension of that. But community projects are very fulfilling," he said.
Complete article at NineMSN
Posted at 11:50 [Perma-Link]
Troop withdraws from baton relayOlympic marathon runner Lee Troop has withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay after missing out on the Geelong leg of the event.
Troop yesterday confirmed he had given up his place in the relay when he was overlooked as a baton runner in his home town. He first threatened to snub the tour late last year when he found out he had instead been assigned to the Ocean Grove leg.
"I have withdrawn from being involved in the Queen's Baton Relay, really it was for the reasons I have stated before," Troop said. "For me again, it is nothing against Ocean Grove but it would have been a token gesture running at a venue that is 30km out of my home town."
Troop has competed in two Commonwealth Games and two Olympic Games but will miss the Melbourne meet through injury.
He said yesterday the majority of athletes had missed out in running the baton relay in their home towns. He said it was disappointing, not just for the sportspeople, but their communities. "It is not that you are actually running for yourself, it is so people actually get to see you," he said.
When Troop contacted organisers to complain, he was a offered a place at Ocean Grove, Torquay, Warrnambool or outback Queensland. Troop said he did not want to take part as a token gesture, but would still be involved in commentating the baton relay as it came through Geelong.
"For me, I just felt there would be someone else that would enjoy the moment a whole lot more than me," he said.
Complete article at Geelong Info
Posted at 10:36 [Perma-Link]
Sonia O'Sullivan now a SheilaIrish distance-running legend Sonia O'Sullivan will become an Australian citizen at 10am today.
O'Sullivan, 36, will pledge her allegiance to Australia at a ceremony to be conducted in front of Governor-General Michael Jeffery at the National Gallery in Melbourne. And she'll do it proudly, saying last night she was already beginning to perfect a new form of greeting that goes "gedday mate".
O'Sullivan and her Australian partner Nic Bideau met Immigration officials yesterday and were given the green light for the woman recently voted Ireland's greatest living sportsperson to become a dual citizen of Ireland and Australia.
To qualify to run for her new country at the Commonwealth Games, O'Sullivan will have to perform well in the 5000m at national titles in Sydney on Saturday week.
And she believes her current form is good enough to get her into the Australian team.
"I'm pretty fit and strong after three trips to Falls Creek for altitude training over the past three months," O'Sullivan said.
Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 10:06 [Perma-Link]
Hurdlers Games chance slim due to appendix surgeryAustralian 110m hurdler Greg Eyears' hopes of competing at the Commonwealth Games are in serious doubt after emergency surgery this week to remove his appendix.
The 24-year-old was rushed to a Sydney hospital after complaining of severe stomach pain. He has almost no chance of participating in next week's Games trials.
"The timing couldn't be worse as I was so looking forward to giving myself the best possible chance of making my first Australian team," Eyears said yesterday.
"The doctors did a series of tests and removing the appendix was the only real option. It was either get them out or risk it bursting and that could have been a lot worse."
If he misses the trials, Eyears will hope to convince selectors his fitness and form warrant inclusion in the Games team. He has posted two B qualifying times.
"Certainly Greg still has a chance of competing in Melbourne and that's why selectors have the discretionary power in situations like this," Athletics Australia chief Danny Corcoran said.
Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 09:52 [Perma-Link]
Docs on the run for kidsDina Rosendorff
DOCTORS and nurses at the Royal Children's Hospital are going beyond the call of duty.
Elliot Long, Rachel Conyers, Isaac Marshall and Stella Dohle are among those joining the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids on Sunday, April 9.
Their after-hours hard work will help children such as Indiana McCumber, 6, of Bulla, who needed surgery after cutting herself with glass while playing in the back yard.
It's not unusual for Ms Dohle, a stomal therapy consultant, to run 100km a week, but not all the RCH team are champion athletes.
Mr Marshall, a medical resident, said the 14.7km fun run would be the longest he had tried.
"This is a fun way to challenge yourself and it's something you wouldn't necessarily do unless it was for a good cause," he said.
Ms Conyers represented Victoria in her youth as a middle-distance runner, but these days the resident's long working hours mean she has time only for casual runs.
"I see this as a way to help the kids in my spare time, on top of what we do all day. Plus I want to keep fit," she said.
Complete article at the Herald Sun
Posted at 06:09 [Perma-Link]
Sonia O'Sullivan's Commonwealth Dreaming coming true ?Sonia O'Sullivan is expected to clear the first hurdle towards representing Australia at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games by being granted Australian citizenship.
The holding of a passport is the minimum requirement to represent a country at the Games and O'Sullivan could learn as early as today whether her application has been successful.
Citizenship would be the start, not the end, of the process of getting into the Australian team. The Irish champion still has other obstacles in her path.
The sporting hurdles — qualifying for the team — she can probably take in her stride. The administrative ones, which ultimately mean getting the blessing of the Commonwealth Games Federation, are another matter.
"It's a complicated situation," Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief executive Perry Crosswhite said yesterday. "The CGF has rules that will require interpretation."
O'Sullivan does not wish to abandon her ties with Ireland. She said in December 2003 that she wanted to find a way of running for Australia in Melbourne 2006 and Ireland in the European championships in Gothenburg in August.
At issue, is whether O'Sullivan will become eligible to run for Australia in March immediately on receipt of a passport or whether she must wait a full year as required under International Association of Athetics Federations rules.
The Commonwealth Games is run under IAAF rules and regulations, but the international governing body does not exercise "exclusive control" over the competition. Under Commonwealth Games Federation rules, possession of a passport is one requirement for representation. The second is that the athlete must abide by the rules of their international federation.
The question is how many of the rules apply, and how strictly, to a competition over which the IAAF does not have "exclusive control".
Under current IAAF rules the minimum 12 months wait for eligibility commences from the day citizenship is granted but it is not mandated that this applies to the Commonwealth Games.
Crosswhite said yesterday that "if Athletics Australia puts a case to us, we will put it to the CGF."
Athletics Australia is aware there is resistance to the notion that an athlete should be able to run for two different countries in a year.
Chief executive Danny Corcoran says that the body would probably nominate O'Sullivan if there was a spot available and she had qualified.
That is the less complicated part. O'Sullivan has been spending considerable time in Australia for over a decade and is a long-time member of a Melbourne club.
She has also made a significant contribution to Australian domestic competition.
O'Sullivan is entered in the 5000 metres at next week's national championships and selection trials in Sydney. No Australian has achieved the A-standard of 15 minutes 20 seconds.
If she finishes first or second in Sydney in an A-standard, she would be an automatic nomination to the team, but any nomination would be made pending CGF approval.
Complete article at The Age
Posted at 00:41 [Perma-Link]
Baton arrives on Australian soil with 50 days to goThe baton leaves the Qantas 'Karak' aircraft from New Zealand to be greeted by all Australians on its way to the Games.The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton has arrived in Australia, signalling the final leg of its epic journey to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Onboard Qantas flight QF164, the baton touched down at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport on the Melbourne 2006 'Karak' aircraft from New Zealand at 10.20am.
The revolutionary Queen’s Baton was escorted from Auckland by The Hon. Trevor Mallard, New Zealand’s Federal Minister for Sport and Recreation, and 14-year-old New Zealander Sophie Healey.
The baton was then passed to 13-year-old Australian Carly Rodger in a gesture of friendship between nations.
The baton was received by the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, in the presence of the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, the Premier of New South Wales, Morris Iemma, and the Chairman of Melbourne 2006, Ronald J. Walker.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the 50,000 relay runners who carried the baton across 70 Commonwealth nations and territories to bring it to Australia.
He also thanked the Commonwealth Games Federation for its support in organising the journey of the baton as it carried its message of goodwill to all seven regions of the Commonwealth.
New South Wales Premier Mr Iemma said his state was privileged to host the Queen's Baton Relay on the first stage of its final Australian leg.
"The baton will be an honoured guest at several of the Australia Day ceremonies taking place throughout the City of Sydney in two days time," he said.
Victorian Premier Mr Bracks said the baton's journey would focus Australians on the biggest sporting and cultural event Victoria had ever hosted.
"The momentum and excitement will build as local heroes across Australia inch the Queen's message ever closer to the redeveloped MCG on opening ceremony night," Mr Bracks said. "By 15 March the entire nation will be ready to celebrate the Games."
The Qantas 'Karak' aircraft is carrying the Queen's Baton from New Zealand.Australian heroes to run with the baton
The Australian route for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay involves a 50 day, 21,500km itinerary, visiting every state, territory and capital city and directly touching over 500 communities.
The Chairman of Telstra Corporation, Mr Donald McGauchie, said as the Presenting Partner, Telstra was delighted to play a part in the Community Runner Program and help celebrate the achievements of local communities throughout Australia.
"The response to the Community Runner Program was magnificent and attracted more than 15,600 nominations, more than four times the nominations received for the Manchester Games in 2002," he said. "The Community Runner Program has provided Australians with the unique opportunity to take part in this traditional symbol of unity and diversity. On behalf of Telstra, I congratulate each of the more than 2150 community representatives chosen to carry the baton. The runners’ selection is a tribute to their achievements and contributions to their community.".
Throughout its journey, the Queen's Baton has united people from across the Commonwealth in a spirit of cooperation and celebration. The baton will no doubt create similar excitement and interest as it tours the country in the lead up to the Games.
It will begin its final journey to the Games on the morning of 25 January, leaving from Penrith Regatta Centre at 7.29am and travelling throughout the western and south western suburbs of Sydney before attending a special local ceremony and celebration at the Parramatta Park Amphitheatre at 5.30pm.
On Australia Day, Thursday 26 January, the baton will attend various community functions in Sydney, playing its part in many of the exciting Australia Day activities being planned.
The Queen’s Baton Relay then continues its journey north along the coast of NSW on Friday, leaving Sydney at 6.20am and convoying to Woy Woy before continuing its journey to Newcastle, where the final runner will arrive at community celebrations at 5.30pm.
Complete article at Commonwealth Games site
Posted at 16:28 [Perma-Link]
Heatwave hammers raceThirteen runners were hospitalised and up to 50 others needed medical treatment after yesterday's Rip to River fun run. The Ocean Grove Surf Club became a makeshift hospital to cater for competitors, who suffered from dehydration and heat exhaustion from scorching temperatures which topped 40 degrees.
Many required intravenous drips, while one young female competitor convulsed on the sand before being taken to Geelong Hospital by ambulance. The dramatic scenes have forced organisers to consider a heat policy for future years.
Event organiser Paul Austin said it was the first time the 10km run from Point Lonsdale to Ocean Grove had experienced such heat. "We had considered calling it off but we decided to go with it and that's something we'll discuss. But we were more than happy with our preparation for the event," Mr Austin said. "We gave numerous warnings about being hydrated, to listen to your body and stop running if you're not well and to drink at the drink stations. But people still pushed themselves. It was a bit dramatic for a while but we certainly did all we could with the medical emergencies."
Paramedics, the surf patrol and members of the public tended to the sick, while 14 ambulances were called to assist at the surf club.
Mr Austin said he was surprised by the number of people who competed on the day, given the hot forecast. Barwon Health spokeswoman Amanda Kavanagh said the 13 hospitalised after the event were treated for heat exhaustion. She expected all 13 to have been released last night.
Complete article at Geelong Info
Posted at 01:04 [Perma-Link]
Paula Radcliffe & Benita Johnson - head to head over 10kmEngland's biggest name Paula Radcliffe has said she will be at the Games, likely to compete in the 10,000m against Benita Johnson.
Regarded as the greatest female runner of all time, Radcliffe, 31, won the marathon at last year's world championships in a record 2hr 20min 57sec and is the Commonwealth 5000m and European 10,000m champion.
Johnson, the former world cross-country champion, and Radcliffe have been regular adversaries over the past few years and the Australian champion is ready to race again after overcoming health issues which ruined her world championships campaign.
For the past four months Johnson has been training in Melbourne and getting her body back to peak fitness after a mystery virus ended her European season early.
via the Herald Sun
Posted at 00:04 [Perma-Link]
Mottram rivals to miss GamesAustralia's top distance runner Craig Mottram will miss the chance to exact revenge on the man who beat him to the world 5000m title after a number of Kenyan athletes announced they would skip the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
Benjamin Limo, who beat bronze medallist Mottram by less than half a second in Helsinki last August, said he was focusing on the World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on April 1-2.
"There are many young runners out there who can launch their careers at the Commonwealth Games and Athletics Kenya should consider them for that," Limo said after winning a 4km race at the Armed Forces Championships in Kenya on Saturday.
Other Kenyans who have announced they are almost certain to miss the Commonwealth Games are Sammy Kipketer, who won 5000m gold at the last Commonwealth Games in Manchester, and double world cross country champion John Kibowen, who was sixth in Helsinki.
Mottram, who is training at altitude at Falls Creek in Victoria, is doing both events, flying directly from Melbourne to the cross country titles.
Mottram said recently he expected several top Kenyans would be absent from Melbourne but there was a swag of talented African athletes who would provide equally tough competition.
Complete article at The Advertiser
Posted at 01:35 [Perma-Link]
Fundraising walker completes trip around AustraliaAn Adelaide man took the final steps of a 15,000 kilometre charity walk around Australia this morning, receiving a hero's welcome in his home town.
Colin Ricketts, 48, began his epic journey just more than a year ago and has raised more than $120,000 for children with cancer. He says he has fulfilled a long-term ambition which was inspired by his son's battle with cancer more than 25 years ago.
"[I was] looking out to help the kids and raise the awareness and the money for our sick children, and also inspired by the survival of my son Luke who is now a very healthy 26-year-old but survived a brain tumour as a little baby," Mr Ricketts said.
Mr Ricketts was greeted by family, friends and supporters outside Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital this morning.
He says there were times during the long journey when he was not sure if could complete the walk.
"There were certainly times over the journey when you'd certainly question yourself what I was doing out there," he said. "But now it's all come through, it's just a day at a time and I can't believe that today is the actual finish. It's actually come up so soon."
Read his website at www.startanewlife.com.au
Posted at 14:15 [Perma-Link]
Times blow out in Queensland championshipsOvercast skies and gusting wind denied sprinters the favourable conditions they were expecting at the Queensland championships yesterday.
A swag of fast times had been expected in the sprints. Instead, the only Commonwealth Games A-qualifying standard achieved on the day was by Justin Anlezark in the shot put.
The Manchester 2002 gold medallist threw 19.51 metres on his first attempt and had another throw in excess of the A-standard later in the competition.
Anlezark is building towards a meeting with in-form Victorian Scott Martin in Canberra this Thursday. The pair are the only Australians ever to have thrown beyond 20 metres - Anlezark holds the national record at 20.96; Martin set a new Victorian record of 20.11 last week.
The only other Commonwealth qualifier of the day was achieved across the Tasman where Anna Thompson bettered the minimum selection standard in the 10,000 metres. Running in the New Zealand championships at Inglewood, Thompson finished three seconds behind Kiwi Jess Ruth in 32 minutes, 40.61 seconds.
That bettered the B-standard for selection in the team for Melbourne 2006. Benita Johnson has the A-standard; Haley McGregor, who won the Zatopek race, which was the official trial, does not have either. Thompson did not finish that race, so selection could become a complicated matter.
Australians filled five of the first six places in the men's race led by Brett Cartwright, who won in 28:37.03 from compatriots Martin Dent and David Byrne. David Ruschena was fourth and Russell Dessaix-Chin sixth, but none of them achieved the A or B-standard.
For different reasons, it was a similar story in Brisbane. World junior championships 100 metres bronze medallist Sally McLellan raced to a double victory in the 100 and the 100 hurdles, but the gusting headwind held her back to times of 11.82 and 13.56, respectively.
Joshua Ross and Daniel Batman raced stride-for-stride before finishing the men's 100 in a dead-heat for first in 10.47, just ahead of Matt Shirvington.
Complete article at The Age
Posted at 11:56 [Perma-Link]
Adams gets the run-aroundDavid Hastie
CHANNEL 7's Jennifer Adams -- who tackled Mt Everest as a documentary maker last year -- is in shape for the inaugural Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids.
It's not the 14.7km course that is the challenge, but enticing boyfriend and Melbourne Football Club player Clint Bizzell to take part in the run.
"I think because of his football commitments I'm not sure if I will be able to get him out on the day," she said.
"But I will try."
Adams said running with her superfit boyfriend was ideal.
"I do love running with him," she said. "When we had the Christmas break we went up to Queensland and went running together every day. He is pretty much my training adviser."
Run for the Kids marks the 75th anniversary of the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal.
Adams is just happy to support the hospital.
"It is a great cause," she said. "I have been with the appeal (as ambassador) for eight years and it makes you certainly not take your health for granted."
Complete article at the Herald Sun
Posted at 23:09 [Perma-Link]
Steeplechase Steals The ShowAustralia’s female middle distance runners took the spotlight at the Sydney Track Classic on Thursday night with the women’s 3000m steeple, 5000m, 1500m and 800m producing a total of nine (9) Commonwealth Games qualifying performances.
A quality field in the women’s 3000m steeplechase created an amazing four (4) Commonwealth Games ‘A’ qualifying performances with Queenslander Mellisa Rollison leading the field home in 9:31.30 and smashing the qualifying mark by 34 seconds. Following Rollison and also posting ‘A’ qualifying performances were Tasmanian Donna McFarlane (PB - (9:34.76), Sydney University’s Madeline Heiner (PB - 9:56.54and New Zealander Rebecca Furlong (9:57.74).
Only seven athletes in the world in 2005 ran faster than Rollison's performance, and McFarlane's run has her inside the top ten. Kenya's world championships bronze medallist Jeruto Kiptum (9:26.95) and Jamaican duo Mardrae Hyman (9:27.21) and Korine Hinds (9:30.12) head the list of expected challengers in Melbourne. World champion Dorcus Inzikuru of Uganda (9:15.04) remains in doubt for the Games after being overlooked for selection by her Federation.
The women continued to show their class in the NSW State 5000m Championship event with former World University Games champion Eloise Wellings ( 15:28.53) achieving the Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying time to defeat Victoria Mitchell (VIC, 15:36.15) and defending Commonwealth Games marathon champion finalist Kerryn McCann (15:43.46). Both Mitchell and McCann also achieved Commonwealth Games "B" qualifiers.
Complete article at Athletics Australia
Posted at 09:16 [Perma-Link]
Steeplechase prodigy back from wildernessby Len Johnson
MELISSA Rollison came back from seeming oblivion to being a Commonwealth Games medal chance when she just missed her Australian record in the 3000 metres steeplechase in Sydney last night.
Rollison easily got the Melbourne 2006 A-standard with a win in nine minutes 31.30 seconds, just 0.60 of a second outside the national mark she set in 2001.
The 2001 time, which she ran at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane, was a world junior record and the second-fastest time ever. It also took the then teenaged Rollison to a win over some of the world's best. The years since have been punctuated by injuries and ill-fated attempts to regain form, including a period with former national distance coach Said Aouita.
Rollison's time in exile appears to be at an end. Only a handful of women ran faster last year than Rollison did last night, though it would temper any elation that four of them are Commonwealth athletes, including world champion Dorcus Inzikuru of Uganda and bronze medallist Jeruto Kiptum of Kenya.
Behind Rollison, Donna MacFarlane finished second in 9:34.76, slashing almost 17 seconds off her winning performance at the Zatopek meeting late last year. Madeleine Heiner, the Commonwealth under-18 champion at 3000 metres, was third in 9:56.54, which also bettered the Commonwealth A-standard.
Complete article at The Age
Posted at 09:13 [Perma-Link]
'Danger' Homebush track gets urgent fixUrgent repairs are being carried out at the warm-up track where Australia's top athletes will prepare for next month's Commonwealth Games selection trials.
Athens Olympic relay silver medallist Clinton Hill complained that the track at Sydney Olympic Park was dangerous and should be shut down after he hurt his ankle training there last week. Hill, who is favourite to win the 400m at the trials, said the track shifted underfoot when he ran on it, and athletes would be risking injury if they trained there.
In the wake of his concerns, officials from Athletics Australia and the NSW Institute of Sport inspected the warm-up track on Monday and took steps to ensure areas where the track is lifting will be fixed before the all-important trials from February 2-5.
The warm-up track, which is next to the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre, is managed by the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust.
AA chief executive Danny Corcoran said the extreme hot weather on New Year's Day had caused the track to bubble up. "It certainly needed attention," Corcoran said. "My understanding is they are going to split the areas that have bubbled and glue them back down."
A National Series meet will be held at Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre tonight, featuring a number of Australia's best distance runners.
A spokesman for the Trust said all elite athletes would be instructed to do their warm-up routines at the main Athletics Centre until the repairs on the warm-up track were completed. It is expected they will be carried out by early next week.
The track, which was originally used in the Olympic Stadium at the Sydney 2000 Games and then lifted and taken to the nearby venue, is due to be replaced late this year.
Complete article at The Australian
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Dave running for the kidsby Dina Rosendorff
TABLE tennis champ Dave Zalcberg has set his sights on a new challenge after the Commonwealth Games in March -- running for the kids.
The ping-pong pro, who is studying medicine at Monash University, said he was excited to enter the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids on Sunday April 9 because it was such a good cause.
The inaugural fun run will launch the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal, which is in its 75th year.
"Coming from a medical background, I think it's such a worthwhile cause and I'm sure it will be a huge success because Australians love to get behind a charity," he said.
The event will give Victorians the chance to run over the Bolte Bridge and through the Domain Tunnel -- and Zalcberg is excited.
Complete article at the Herald Sun
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Flying Farah finds his perfect partner in MottramMO FARAH will be gearing up for the Commonwealth Games in the best possible manner as he will be training alongside Australian superstar Craig Mottram in the run-up to the Melbourne event.
Newham & Essex Beagles star Farah left these shores last week for a three-month preparatory session with Mottram, who is most pundits' favourite to take gold in the 5000m, the discipline in which Farah will be representing England.
"Craig is obviously the favourite to win and it will be amazing to run in the 5000m there (Melbourne)," said Farah, who has previously trained with Mottram in London and will be looking to glean whatever tactical knowledge he can from the world bronze medallist.
"I've known Craig for many years and we have trained together for the odd session and a couple of runs," Farah revealed.
"We get on quite well, he's a good athlete and it will be good to learn not only how he trains, but also how he rests."
Complete article at the Barking & Dagenham Recorder
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Robert de Castella: First marathon gold leaves a lasting memoryROBERT DE CASTELLA
Commonwealth Games: 1982 (Brisbane), 1986 (Edinburgh), 1990 (Auckland)
Two gold medals (1982, 1986)
What is your favourite Commonwealth Games memory?
Probably … my marathon win in the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games because I came from so far behind. It was my first Commonwealth Games and my first gold medal.
What other special moments come to mind?
There's been a lot of great memories and performances. I think certainly Heather Turland's marathon win (1998 in Kuala Lumpur) was pretty spectacular.
Would you change anything about your Games experience?
One of my worst performances was during the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, which was a shocker. I had a few injuries coming into it and really just had a bad run … it was one of my most disappointing ones. I think I just jogged across the finish line. I'd had an interrupted preparation leading up to it and wasn't as fit and healthy as I probably would have liked to have been.
What would you do if you were in charge of the organising committee?
I'd be very keen to find ways to encourage young schoolchildren to come along to the Games and I think … if there were tickets left over for any session that schools, and especially primary schools, be given an opportunity to come along and be part of the experience. I think it is extremely important that kids are exposed to the atmosphere of the Commonwealth Games, whether that's seeing the top athletes performing or just experiencing the international camaraderie and the international flavour of the Commonwealth Games. It would be a life-long memory that a lot of kids will carry with them, just like the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games. I'm doing a lot of work these days in the areas of health and (issues of) children being overweight and I think sport and physical activities are such a vital thing for kids to be encouraged and supported to do.
Complete article at The Age
Posted at 09:06 [Perma-Link]
Olympian rarin' to goBy SUELLEN HINDE
At 65, former Olympic and Commonwealth games athlete Judy Pollock cannot wait to take part in the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids.
"A country bumpkin like me doesn't see the city very often," the 1964 400m Olympic bronze medallist said.
"And this is a great opportunity to run through the heart of Melbourne.
"It also appeals to me because it is a charitable event and a worthy cause."
Proceeds from the inaugural event -- a 14.7km run or a 4.5km walk/run -- will go to the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal to mark its 75th year.
The April 9 fun run will start at Docklands and wind its way through the city before finishing at the RCH.
Runners, walkers and joggers will have access to Bolte Bridge and the Domain Tunnel -- both of which are normally prohibited to foot traffic. Mrs Pollock, who represented Australia in the 1964, 1972 and 1976 Olympics and won gold and silver at the 1966 Commonwealth Games, said people should not be discouraged by the event's length.
Complete article at the Herald Sun
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Time to get runningTHERE are still 84 days left until the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids fun run, plenty of time to get yourself in shape.
And who better to advise you on getting the best out of your body than marathon legend Steve Moneghetti.
Check out Mona's diary and training program in Health and Fitness of today's Herald Sun for a few tips on speed work.
Twenty dollars out of every $25 entry fee for the 14.7km event and $15 out of every $20 for the 4.5km walk/run will go to the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal.
Complete article at the Herald Sun
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Brain damage fears over 'mystery' joggerA Queensland couple is maintaining a bedside vigil for their comatose son whose identity sparked a two-day mystery in New South Wales.
Brisbane couple Adrian and Jennifer Fowler made a mercy dash to St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney on Monday to be with 24-year-old son Adrian, who had a heart attack while jogging at Bondi last Saturday.
For two days Mr Fowler's identity baffled hospital staff and police, who released a photograph of him to the local media, hoping friends or family would come forward or report him missing.
Speaking publicly for the first time, Mr Fowler told The Courier-Mail from Sydney yesterday that it was sickening to find out his son had been in hospital for two days.
Mr Fowler said his son, who moved from Brisbane to Sydney late last year and had spoken to family just days before the incident, had made little improvement and may have permanent brain damage.
"We still don't know the cause that stopped his heart. They've run a number of tests, but he still hasn't regained consciousness. Their (doctors') concern is that the longer he stays unconscious the more it's possible he has brain damage. We're resigned to the fact that there will be damage, it's just a matter of how much ... it's the agony of not knowing what to expect. It's very hard to come to grips that at his age, at 24, to the best of our knowledge, he could have suffered from a massive heart problem."
Mr Fowler said his two other children were flying to Sydney soon to be with their brother, who is regularly told he's loved and needs to wake up.
He said his son, who was very fit and had played sport at an elite level, was initially saved by strangers who saw him collapse.
"Someone called Corey Page immediately gave him CPR ... (if he didn't) I think he would have been dead," Mr Fowler said. "He arrested a few times in the ambulance."
He said he wanted to thank Mr Page, his son's workmates and flatmates who all acted quickly. Mr Fowler said his son's workmates had seen the photo police had released and suggested his flatmates check if it was him.
Complete article at QLD's Sunday Mail
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Run for fun, say Roo starsDina Rosendorff
KANGAROOS stars Daniel Wells, Leigh Brown and Adam Simpson are gearing up for Melbourne's new major fun run.
The football trio are calling on sports fans to get behind the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids, a milestone event that marks the 75th anniversary of the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal.
Mazda -- the Kangaroos' sponsor -- is giving every entrant the chance to win a new Mazda3. All Victorians in the April 9 fun run will go into the draw to win the SP23 hatch, which comes with a 2.3l engine, ABS brakes and plenty more.
Kangaroos captain Adam Simpson -- who drives a Mazda3 -- said he loved his car's winning performance and gutsy attitude.
"I encourage all Melburnians to support the event and the Royal Children's Hospital's Good Friday appeal as our money goes towards helping thousands of children and their families every year," he said.
Complete article at the Herald Sun
Posted at 09:17 [Perma-Link]
Family identifies collapsed joggerA mystery man lying unconscious in hospital after collapsing in Bondi has been identified as a Queenslander living in Sydney.
The identity of the young man has confused police and hospital workers since his dramatic collapse on Saturday evening during an evening jog in Bondi.
For two days he lay unconscious and anonymous in hospital, leading some police to believe he was an international backpacker.
But last night his flatmate in Bellevue Hill contacted police after seeing his picture in The Daily Telegraph. Inspector Chris Hogg said his family had been contacted and they were flying from Queensland to be with the 24-year-old, whose identity could not be disclosed because of privacy reasons.
"Our only involvement is simply to put him in touch with his family," Insp Hogg said.
He said he personally did not believe the backpacker theory, adding it was not unusual for a "young male bachelor" to live away and out of contact from family for days at a time. The ginger-haired man remains in St Vincent's Hospital, where a spokesman described his condition as serious but stable.
He is breathing through a respirator and in a drug-induced coma but it is expected he will be taken off the respirator and may regain consciousness in the next few days.
The cause of his collapse has not been officially made public, however The Daily Telegraph understands it was a cardiac arrest. The mystery began when the man fell while going for a run in the beachside suburb at 6.13pm (AEDT) on Saturday. Hospital staff were unable to identify him and three hours later police were called.
Despite fingerprint tests, missing person checks and doorknocking throughout the area, the man's identity remained a mystery.
Complete article at news.com.au
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High hopes from high altitude training at FallsBy BREANNA TUCKER
SOME of Australias best rowers and runners are taking advantage of the high altitude of Falls Creek to prepare for international selection events.
More than 35 rowers from the South Australian Sports Institute and Melbourne-based Banks Rowers Club, and at least nine international runners will use Falls Creek as their training base for as long as three weeks.
The rowers will train for the national rowing titles in mid-March and the final selection of the Australian team for the World Championships at Eton, England in April.
Runners will train with the the Commonwealth Games and Beijing Olympics in mind.
Benita Johnson, Australias fastest 2000m, 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m and half marathon runner, commented on the change of environment and benefits she has received from training in the alpine area.
Complete article at the Border Mail
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Large field to scale peaksMARATHON: A record field of more than 50 runners will compete in the gruelling Bogong to Hotham Trail Run.
The Ultra-Marathon endurance event entails 64km over some of the steepest and most rugged terrain in the state, including the punishing Rooftop Run.
The route usually takes bushwalkers up to a week to complete but the leading runners are expected to finish in less than eight hours.
Former Australian marathon champion Magnus Michelsson will start a firm favourite and looks likely to give the race record of six hours, 41 minutes a nudge.
Complete article at the Border Mail
Posted at 09:01 [Perma-Link]
Mottram eyes 1500m and 10,000m for GamesCraig Mottram's coach hopes public pressure will help his star athlete compete for two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. Mottram will definitely contest the 5,000m at the Melbourne Games in March, but is also eyeing a 1,500m or 10,000m berth.
The Victorian, a bronze medallist over 5,000m at last year's world championship's in Helsinki, continues his preparation for the Commonwealth Games on Friday night in Hobart.
Mottram will compete in the 1,500m at the grand prix meet in Hobart but the race doesn't indicate heightened aspirations over that distance, according to his coach Nic Bideau. Mottram's fate for the Games in events outside his pet 5,000m remain in the hands of selectors.
"It's still up in the air," Bideau said on Thursday. "It's basically out of our hands."
Mottram was hopeful of the selectors using discretionary powers and naming him in the Games team on February 5 for three events - 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m - and leaving a later decision on which race to drop up to him.
"He's best male athlete that we have got, he's clearly world class," Bideau said. "You'd think they'd say `listen mate, you're pretty good, we'll pick you for both'. There is every chance they may not".
Complete article at The Age
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Ben Johnson claims he was framed over drugsDisgraced sprinter Ben Johnson claims he was framed over taking drugs and that doping is still rife across professional sport.
Johnson told BBC Five Live: "People are evil. They will do anything to get rid of someone from the sport. I don't want to get myself in trouble, but I would say 40% of people in sports are using performance-enhancing drugs. You would be surprised to see the great players of the past who retired doing stuff."
Johnson tested positive for steroids at the 1988 Olympics and was stripped of his 100m gold and world record. But he claims that he was the victim of a sting designed to incriminate him.
He said: "People can put things in your food and drinks to sabotage you, like they did to me in Seoul in 1988."
Simon Clegg, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, hit out at Johnson's comments.
Clegg told BBC Five Live: "I do not accept the figures that Johnson has said. I think that is totally ridiculous.
"We have a very good record, particularly in this country, of running a high-quality anti-doping programme that ensures that cheats are caught and that athletes are aware of the medical downsides of taking banned substances."
Johnson told Sportsweek: "I'm not a cheat - I do what I am supposed to do to win. I'm not saying go ahead and take it (drugs), but it's not a crime. It's just in some sports it's banned, some it isn't. Most of my people here in Canada and in the world still look at me as the fastest man in the world. They say I'm the fastest ever, dead or alive."
Johnson tried to make a comeback after being banned for four years following his positive test, but trailed home last in his first-round heat at the 1992 Games. He then tested positive again in March 1993 and was banned from athletics for life, leaving him an itinerant who briefly coached Diego Maradona and was once hired by Colonel Gaddafi to train his son Al-Saadi.
Johnson predicted better things for Britain's Dwain Chambers, who returns from his own drugs ban later this month.
"I don't think people in Europe will point the finger at him. People will say, hey, you're back again, I'm happy to see you on the circuit again. People will find good things to say about him, not bad things. I would say to him just to be careful who he has around him, and to be careful who he eats with."
Complete article at The BBC
Posted at 07:56 [Perma-Link]
Sonia O'Sullivan - Australian on Jan 25th ?Sonia O'Sullivan, the notable Irish 5,000 metres record-holder, expects to know within the next three weeks whether she will be cleared to run for Australia in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March.
After a meeting with Australian immigration authorities on Dec 19, O'Sullivan, who resides in Melbourne with her Australian partner, Nic, and their two children, for six months each year, was told that a decision on her application will be made on Jan 25.
If granted it will enable her to compete in the Australian Commonwealth Games trial in Sydney on Feb 2, as a stepping stone to a first appearance for her adopted country in Melbourne.
"As a dual passport holder, I would still hope to be able to run for Ireland at some point in the future," she said.
Complete article at UK Daily Telegraph
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Mottram runs 3:58 mile on grass trackBy PHIL EDWARDS , Friday, 30 December 2005
The crowd at the Nationalgrid Devonport Carnival was treated to the spectacle of enjoying two of Australia's best runners in Jana Pittman and Craig Mottram competing in the Devonport Gift and Devonport mile and one of Australia's top sprint cyclists, in Ben Kersten, showing his prowess on the bike at the Devonport Oval last night.
These elite athletes did not disappoint the spectators with some eye-catching performances.
Australia's top athlete, Craig Mottram, put in an outstanding run in the men's mile from the back mark to record 3:58.79 - the fastest time ever recorded on a grass track in Tasmania.
Mottram brought the crowd to its feet as he swept through the field, overtaking all but the frontmarker, Devonport's Craig Brown, who had a 260m start.
He thanked the crowd for its support in helping him to run a sub-four-minute mile and said he was looking forward to competing at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in a couple of months.
Complete article at the Launceston Examiner
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Happy New Year - Letherby Celebrates with Win in New YorkAUSTRALIAN Commonwealth Games marathon hope, Andrew Letherby, has begun 2006 in winning style taking out the Emerald Nuts Midnight Race over 4miles in New York City on New Year's Eve.
Letherby completed the journey through New York's Central Park in 18.44 beating American Steve Slattery by 6 seconds with New Zealand Olympian John Henwood another 2 seconds back in 3rd place.
Letherby won the bronze medal in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and is determined to do better in Melbourne.
"My training has been going very well and winning this is a nice little confidence booster as we enter the Commonwealth Games year," Letherby said.
Complete article at Athletics Australia
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