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 Tuesday, February 28, 2006 

Sarah Jamieson all out of dog power

Terry Brown

SARAH Jamieson has worn out 50 pairs of running shoes on her long road to the Games – not to mention several legs.

In six years since Sydney 2000, the middle-distance runner has clocked enough kilometres to circle the earth.

Most runs she comes last, but getting licked is part of training given the partners she's got.

Sarah, a 1500m gold medal chance, ran out of running mates through retirements after Sydney.

So she went shopping for new partners, ones so dogged they wouldn't know how to stop.

Jemma, a border collie-cross, was a pet shop girl with lots of leg speed and a lightning-fast lick.

Roxy came two years later, probably the luckiest kelpie the Lost Dogs Home ever sold.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 09:52     [Perma-Link]

Channel Nine Announces All-Star Lineup For Commonwealth Games

The Nine Network today announced an all-star team of over 40 presenters, commentators and reporters for its telecast of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games from March 15.

RAY MARTIN, LIZ HAYES and NICOLE LIVINGSTONE will host Nine’s exclusive coverage of the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

KEN SUTCLIFFE will present the network’s evening coverage of the Games, with MARK NICHOLAS hosting afternoons. The morning programming will be anchored by JAMES BRAYSHAW and GARRY LYON. LEILA McKINNON will provide sports updates throughout the telecast.

Nine’s Commonwealth Games coverage will commence with the special Countdown To The Games, a one-hour special at 7.30pm on Wednesday, March 15, before the Opening Ceremony.

Nine’s commentary team features a host of Commonwealth and Olympic Games greats.

Heading up swimming is the legendary RAY WARREN, along with Commonwealth Games gold, silver and bronze champion NICOLE LIVINGSTONE and Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist DUNCAN ARMSTRONG.

Commonwealth Games heptathlon and long jump gold medallist JANE FLEMMING and DAVID CULBERT, who represented Australia at three Commonwealth Games and two Olympics, are joined by British Commonwealth Games and Olympic champion STEVE OVETT for the track and field events, alongside Adelaide commentator TERRY McAULIFFE.

Culbert also will commentate on the men’s and women’s triathlons, supported by GREG WELCH and Olympic silver medallist LORETTA HARROP.

STEVE MONEGHETTI will provide special comments for the men’s marathon.

The “voice of cycling”, PHIL LIGGETT, will call the road and track events, accompanied by MIKE TURTUR, who won cycling gold for Australia at two Commonwealth Games and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Respected AFL commentator DENNIS COMETTI will call his second love, basketball. He will be joined by former head of the WNBL, LYN PALMER, and the spirited SHANE HEAL, famous for his scrap with US legend Charles Barkley prior to the 1996 Olympics.

DWAYNE RUSSELL will call the hockey, a role he filled at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Russell will be supported by Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist LOUISE DOBSON and former Hockeyroos coach RICHARD AGGISS.

DEAN LUKIN and DARRELL EASTLAKE, the hit pairing of Nine’s Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games telecast, team up again to cover the weightlifting.

STEVE BOYLAN will call lawn bowls, supported by Kuala Lumpur gold medallist MARK JACOBSEN.

Australia’s leading gymnastics expert, LIZ CHETKOVICH, will team up with commentator MICHAEL THOMSON to cover gymnastics.

Nine has assembled a top-flight team of reporters to bring viewers all the latest Commonwealth Games news - TONY JONES, TIM SHERIDAN, ANDREW VOSS, CHRISTINE AHERN, CLINT STANAWAY, CHRIS JONES, NICK McCALLUM, CHRIS BOMBOLAS and TIM GILBERT.

Network stars LIVINIA NIXON (Temptation, National Nine News) and JULES LUND (Getaway) will bring viewers all the colour of Melbourne during Commonwealth Games time.

Nine Network Head of Sport and Commonwealth Games Project Director, Gary Fenton, said today: “This is an outstanding group of talented presenters, commentators and reporters set to bring Australian viewers all the action and excitement of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.”

Commonwealth Games Executive Producer, Cos Cardone, said: “The Nine Network is committed to providing an exceptional coverage through 153 hours over 12 exciting days of elite competition.”

From Channel 9

Posted at 07:21     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, February 26, 2006 

Wilderness Society "Wild Endurance" event in Sydney area

The Wilderness Society (TWS) is a national, community-based, environmental advocacy organisation whose purpose is to protect, promote and restore wilderness and natural processes across Australia for the survival and ongoing evolution of life on Earth.

The Wilderness Society seeks a dynamic individual to develop and coordinate an exciting new fundraising endurance event : "Wild Endurance". The goals of the event are to raise money for TWS, to raise awareness of our campaigns among the public, and to encourage people to spend more time in the bush.

CoolRunning has been advising the Wilderness Society on the logisitics for this event, that is hoped will be based in the NSW Blue Mountains and be a weekend in duration. The event would suit bushwalkers and trail runners. Whilst comparisons will be made with the successful Trailwalker, it will have quite a different style.

The Wilderness Societry are advertising for a Project Manager .

Posted at 13:01     [Perma-Link]

Australians behind Kenya's new crop of stars

Australians are behind a Kenyan assault aimed at stopping Victorian track star Craig Mottram from winning two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Sydney-based Di Huxley lost her job at the Australian Institute of Sport when the distance program was dumped early last year and started coaching a squad of six Kenyans last September. That squad includes Harun Keitany and Jonathan Komen, the first two men across the line in this month's Kenyan 1500m selection trial.

Her friend, Sydney lawyer Peter Healey, manages them, as well as Games steeplechase favourite Reuben Kosgei -- the Sydney Olympic gold medallist now also coached by Huxley. Huxley said she was snubbed by Athletics Australia and dismisses suggestions she is unpatriotic.

"I applied (to AA) for the head coach's job and I didn't even get an interview," she said. "I didn't get one bit of encouragement. They were not interested in tapping into my knowledge."

Huxley, Australia's Athens Olympic athletics team manager, worked as an assistant to controversial former national distance coach, Said Aouita, who was last week the subject of an allegation that he told Australian athletes to take human growth hormone.

Mottram will compete in the 1500m and 5000m -- the event in which he won bronze at last year's world titles. James Templeton, a former schoolmate of Healey, manages little-known Augustine Choge, who won Kenya's 5000m trial. The 5000m, with Mottram taking on Kenya's world champion Benjamin Limo, has been billed as the race of the Games. But with the guidance and financial support of Sydney banker Templeton, teenager Choge is planning to crash the Melbourne party.

Templeton revealed it was he who pushed for Choge to race at the Games in addition to his preferred 4km race at the world cross-country championship in Japan 10 days later. Asked he would feel unpatriotic if Choge burst Mottram's bubble, Templeton said: "No. Running against Mottram would be wonderful for Augustine. If Mottram wins, fantastic. It's not going to make or break Augustine's career."

Choge knows he'll be in for a fight, naming Mottram as Kenya's biggest danger. "He proved he can mix with the best in Helsinki (at the world titles) and I think he will be very difficult running at home," Choge said.

But in Kenya they won't hear of defeat for Choge, according to Templeton.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 12:50     [Perma-Link]

How Wellings took anorexia in her stride

At the age of 16, Eloise Wellings' bones were as weak as those of a 75-year-old woman. She was one of the best distance runners in Australia, a teenage marvel on target to compete at the 2000 Olympics in her home town of Sydney.

But she was starving herself to get there. Something had to give, and it was the fragile bones in her legs that could no longer bear the heavy load of training and racing.

Body image. It's bad enough being an ordinary teenage girl grappling with the modern ideal of a rake-thin body. But try being one of the most talented young distance athletes in Australia, and having a body like a whippet is not just a matter of vanity. It's a recipe for anorexia, as Wellings (nee Poppett) found out.

In 1999, she clocked an incredible 15min18.60sec for 5000m - a time that put her among the top 40 females in the world even though she was only 16. A great future beckoned. But what was also incredible was that the 169cm Wellings weighed only 40kg and had the bone density of an old woman. "I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. It really woke me up. I wasn't giving my body the nutrients it needed to build bone density and to mature," Wellings recalled.

Stress fractures in her legs were the inevitable result of her anorexia, and her Olympic hopes disintegrated. "When I was 16 and got injured, I was very young and didn't know much about the sport other than trying to run as fast as I could, and I fiddled a bit with my diet," she said.

"A lot of girls go through that. They think the skinnier you are the faster you go and I played with that a bit too much and you break down that way and get stress fractures. I did suffer from anorexia for a couple of months and I had to come out of that."

With the help of family and friends, her battle with anorexia was thankfully short-lived. But restoring her bone density and strength to normal levels was not so quick. It is only now, nearly seven years later, that Wellings - who weighs a healthy 50kg - is back to full strength and bettering the times she set as a 16-year-old.

She won the Commonwealth Games 5000m selection trial in Sydney this month, powering around the track in impressive style in her long white socks, which she says improve her circulation and prevent the lower leg injuries which have plagued her career.

Secure in the knowledge she had made the team for the Games, she backed it up with a 5000m personal best of 15:16.62 when she ran on the new MCG track last Friday night.

Wellings, who is in coach Nic Bideau's stable alongside former world cross country champion Benita Johnson and world championships 5000m bronze medallist Craig Mottram, will take on a trio of talented Kenyan runners including gold medal favourite Isabella Ochichi in the 5000m in Melbourne.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 11:57     [Perma-Link]

Athletics Australia wants more money

BRITAIN could overtake Australia as one of the top four Olympic nations unless the Federal Government invests significantly more money in sport.

On the eve of what is tipped to be a record Australian medal at the Commonwealth Games, sport chiefs have raised concerns whether Australia will be as competitive in the Beijing and London Olympics as it was in Sydney and Athens.

Britain has laid out an ambitious plan to seize Australia's place as the fourth-ranked Olympic nation by doubling its annual spending on athletes to $260 million, while China, Japan, Korea, India and the US are also spending more.

The Australian Sports Commission receives $160 million, of which about $110 million is for Olympic and elite sports. Most Australian sports say they need extra funds to deliver the medal results the public expects. Their collective wish-list is worth tens of millions of dollars.

Athletics Australia chief Danny Corcoran told The Sunday Age his sport needed $10 million on top of its annual budget of $6 million.

"We are being asked to take on China with a budget of $6 million, which is the same amount as the player list of a small AFL club," he said.

"I certainly believe we need a lot more funding to be put into the sport, not only for success at Olympic Games but to entice and hold our talented athletes.

"We can't have our elite athletes living hand-to-mouth throughout their career because they are desperate to represent their country."

Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp has said he is aware of the concerns and has asked the Australian Sports Commission to prepare a report on the competitive environment facing sport, ahead of the May 9 budget.

In a speech unreported at the time, Senator Kemp told a Melbourne luncheon on Australia Day: "The Australian success on the sporting field is under a great challenge.

"The Chinese Olympic team in Beijing will be super competitive. Other countries such as the US, Japan and Korea will be making a huge effort to meet this Chinese challenge. The British are getting their sporting act together …"

Complete article at The Sydney Morning Herald

Posted at 11:24     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, February 25, 2006 

Athletics fans complain about Comm Games ticketing

A Victorian tribunal has rejected complaints second rate Commonwealth Games tickets are being sold as A-class tickets.

Mark Purvis and Robert Cole, both members of the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), took the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal claiming the tickets they received were not what they paid for.

Mr Purvis, a barrister, said he applied for some A-series tickets in April last year, believing they would offer him a superior view of the track and field events and a more central location than cheaper tickets.

His tickets arrived on February 3 this year, Mr Purvis said.

Mr Purvis then told the tribunal he had travelled to track and field meetings in France, Spain, Greece and at the Sydney Olympics and was surprised when his tickets, which cost him $3,490, were in what he considered B-class seating, which did not offer a direct side on view of the track events.

The MCC had led him to believe the tickets he had purchased would be more central and offer a superior viewing experience than cheaper tickets, Mr Purvis said.

When he looked at the Commonwealth Games website, Mr Purvis said, he was "dismayed, annoyed and angered" that the seats he had paid a premium for were listed as B-reserve seating.

Mr Cole said his complaint was a "mirror image" of Mr Purvis' gripe and he too was dismayed when he realised his seats were not what he expected.

In dismissing the complaints, senior VCAT member Alan Vassie said the Commonwealth Games website that showed the tickets were B-reserve seating would not have influenced Mr Purvis or Mr Cole's purchase, because the website description was published after the tickets had been bought.

Mr Vassie also said while he had sympathy for the view that the tickets purchased did not offer a "superior viewing experience" over cheaper tickets, this was his subjective view, and he did not find such claims amounted to false and deceptive conduct.

Group manager of ticketing at the MCG, Brett Judd, told the tribunal the description of the seating on the website was wrong, and Mr Purvis and Mr Cole had in fact received A-reserve seating.

"I take complete ownership of the mistake. I acknowledge it was an error," Mr Judd said.

Mr Judd said the seats given to Mr Purvis and Mr Cole were A-reserve seats because they offered a good overall view of the arena, were cushioned, undercover and close to amenities.

Complete article at The Sydney Morning Herald

Posted at 11:02     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, February 22, 2006 

Reality shows such as 'The Biggest Loser' are dangerous

Reality TV shows based on extreme weight loss competitions pose a serious health threat to overweight viewers, a sports science expert says.

The president of the Australian Association for Exercise and Sports Science, Dr David Bishop, said shows such as The Biggest Loser were dangerous.

"The 'no pain no gain' philosophy practised on the show is sending a dangerous message to all those who are overweight or obese," Dr Bishop said.

"Additionally, the humiliating dress-downs subjected to by the contestants can have a permanent and adverse effect on the individual's self-confidence.

"This can discourage them from continuing and leave them with lower self-esteem, particularly those suffering emotional issues regarding their weight."

Concerns have also been raised about the effects the show may have on fitness professionals to adopt similar strategies and tactics to use on their clients.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 11:51     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, February 21, 2006 

Athletics Australia's coaching shame

Nick Bowen writes:

Date: 21 February 2006

Athletics Australia sure can pick its coaches. Take last week's allegations by Australian steeplechaser Melissa Rollison that former national distance coach Said Aouita urged her to take performance enhancing drugs.

This followed earlier allegations against Aouita by middle distance runner Mark Fountain arising out of a training camp in the US in 2003. An inquiry at the time exonerated Aouita, but Rollison, who also attended the camp but kept mum at the time, has now corroborated Fountain's version of events.

Whether or not these allegations are true, Aouita's two year reign was an unmitigated disaster. Not only did he fail to deliver anything resembling results, he also managed to alienate virtually all of Australia's best middle distance runners, driving a number out of the sport altogether. And if you think the Aouita appointment was on the nose, don't forget AA hired former East German Ekkart Arbeit as its head coach in 1997.

This was the same guy who, as East Germany's throwing coach from 1982-88 and head track and field coach in 1989-90, presided over that country's systematic drug doping program. Oh, and he also managed to moonlight as a spy for the East German secret police in his spare time!

Complete article at Crikey

Posted at 17:27     [Perma-Link]

Aouita: I never pushed drugs

Scott Gullan

SAID Aouita has denied telling Australian athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs.

The former national distance coach said he had no regrets about his controversial two-year stint in Australia.

Aouita responded yesterday to allegations by Melissa Rollison, a medal prospect in the 3000m steeplechase at next month's Commonwealth Games, that he'd urged her to take human growth hormone while training in the US in 2003.

"I never pushed or recommend (sic) Melissa to take drugs and I think the AIS and Athletics Australia hired investigators and lawyers to investigate this scandal, but they found nothing," Aouita said in an email yesterday.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 10:42     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, February 20, 2006 

Melbourne Telstra A-series Tickets On Sale

Tickets for the most anticipated Telstra A-series meet ever have been released to the public this morning. The Telstra A-series Melbourne on March 9 will double as the first ever IAAF World Athletics Tour event and a bumper crowd is expected at Olympic Park to cheer on many of the world's best athletes.

The meet will double as the final preparation for athletes competing in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and is expected to attract the best of the Games.

Events on the program include Men's and Women's 100m, 200m and 400m, as well as 400m Hurdles, Long Jump, Men's mile and Women's 1500, Women's Pole Vault, Men's Discus and Men's 5000m walk. Other events will be released over the coming week.

Tickets are available through Ticketek and premium seats are expected to sell fast.

Complete article at Athletics Australia

Posted at 16:08     [Perma-Link]

Message for 'lucky' athletes

by Len Johnson

AUSTRALIA'S track and field team for the Commonwealth Games, the biggest ever selected, has been told bluntly that some athletes "were bloody lucky to make the team".

At a "Home Ground Advantage" team camp held around the Victorian championships, which concluded at the MCG yesterday, the 107-strong team (since reduced to 106 by the finger injury to Justin Anlezark) was challenged to think beyond Melbourne 2006.

National performance director Max Binnington said that in any team there were people happy just to have made it, "and I guess in a team this size proportionately that means more in number.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 15:58     [Perma-Link]

Rollison tells of in-fighting

Scott Gullan

MELISSA Rollison was lucky to survive but there were many athletes whose careers ended after Said Aouita's controversial two-year reign as Australian distance coach.

For many it is regarded as the darkest period the sport has been through. Friendships were broken, relationships severed, enemies made as the Moroccan Olympic gold medallist was brought in midway through 2002 by an administration determined to rock the boat.

While the lack of international success in distance ranks was a valid argument, the way Aouita was given free rein to pick the country's best talent drove a dagger through the heart of the track and field community.

Coaches expecting to be getting advice from the new coach were told it was the Aouita way or the highway. Athletes were told to join the program or risk missing out on funding and team selection.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 09:51     [Perma-Link]

Party time over, athletes told

Scott Gullan

STOP celebrating because some of you are "bloody lucky" to be in the Commonwealth Games.

That was the message from Athletics Australia's national performance manager Max Binnington to some of Australia's 107-strong team who gathered in Melbourne for a three-day camp which finished yesterday.
"I didn't mince my words -- some of them will have been told already that they were bloody lucky to make the team," Binnington said.

"Now, they have to turn that around and say 'Well, I'm going to demonstrate that I wasn't lucky to make the team, it's an opportunity for me and I'm going to go out and do something about it'."

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 09:50     [Perma-Link]

Mighty 'G the place to be

Ron Reed

ANOTHER big goal was kicked at the MCG at the weekend -- by the great stadium itself.

The elite athletes who took advantage of the only opportunity to test the Commonwealth Games track and field venue -- and the spectators seeking a glimpse of what the atmosphere might be like -- were all impressed.
"The international visitors were stunned -- they all spoke about what a buzz it was to walk in there," athletics spokesman for Melbourne 2006, Maurie Plant, said yesterday.

The three-day hit-out, which doubled as the Victorian titles, threw up minor glitches, especially in communicating details to fans and the media.

But all the runners were impressed with the new Mondo synthetic track, saying it was fast and likely to get faster.

Another tick was for the transport arrangements, with a dedicated lane for buses to ferry athletes from the Olympic Park warm-up track.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 09:49     [Perma-Link]

Aouita blames Bideau for attack

Mike Hurst

MOROCCAN Said Aouita, the former Australian distance coach accused of telling his runners to take drugs, has blamed prominent athletics manager-coach Nic Bideau for what he claimed was a "mysterious" attack on his character.

Bideau coaches several members of Australia's Commonwealth Games team, including steeplechase medal favourite Melissa Rollison, who revealed in the Herald Sun on Saturday that she believed Aouita wanted her to use banned performance-enhancing drugs, including human growth hormone.

"I thought the fight with Nic Bedeau (sic) is finished because I am not working in Australia any more, but it seems that he is pushing Melissa to attack me with the drug enhancement," Aouita claimed in an email yesterday.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 09:48     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, February 19, 2006 

Commonwealth Games athletes 'lucky' to be in team

Some of Australia's track and field athletes have been told they're "bloody lucky" to be in the Commonwealth Games team and to stop celebrating their inclusion.

Most of Australia's 107-strong athletics squad for next month's Melbourne Games gathered in the Victorian capital for a three-day team camp which finished on Sunday.

The athletics team, the nation's largest ever sent to a Commonwealth Games, has been given blunt warnings from the man chiefly responsible for its selection - Athletics Australia's national performance manager Max Binnington.

"I didn't mince my words - some of them will have been told already that they were bloody lucky to make the team," Binnington said.

"Now, they have to turn that around and say 'well, I'm going to demonstrate that I wasn't lucky to make the team, it's an opportunity for me and I'm going to go out and do something about it'."

Most of Australia's athletics team, already reduced to 106 with reigning Commonwealth shot put champion Justin Anlezark ruled out of the Games due to a finger injury, had outings at the MCG during the Victorian state titles held this weekend.

Binnington said he was looking to weed out those athletes merely satisfied with making the Games team.

Complete article at Seven News

Posted at 17:34     [Perma-Link]

Fenn to dash for cash - hopes for Lee Troop

Australian Institute of Sport distance runner Paul Fenn is a confirmed starter in the Dash for Cash in Dean St, Albury, next Saturday and organisers are hopeful he will be joined by marathon man, Olympian Lee Troop.

Fenn, 26, represented Australia at the 2002 world cross-country championships and in 2003 finished fifth in Sydneys premier race, the City to Surf. Fenn trains with Steve Moneghetti and has just started seriously competing again.

“Lee Troop was also keen to come and participate and to see how challenging Monument Hill is,” Fenn said. “We have heard that the person who reaches the monument first is not necessarily the winner. Even though the course is not overly long the speed of the race will take it out of all who compete but I am really looking forward to coming to Albury and supporting this event and spending a few days with my family there.”

Albury-Wodonga Festival of Sport chairman Matt Burke said the Dash for Cash was growing in stature and popularity every year.

“I encourage the community to come down and watch our local talent and also the elite runners take on the monument,” Burke said.

The event has already attracted 100 pre-registrations and organisers encourage all runners to download their entry form from the event website or contact Alan Cuman on 0409 591 400.

The Country Energy Dash for Cash starts at 6.30pm.

Meanwhile, the Cumberoona Fun Run will be held on March 5 from 10am.

The run has become one of the regions best supported events and has already received 100 pre-registrations to take on the picturesque track adjacent to the Murray River.

“We hope to attract more than 400 participants this year,” event co-ordinator Bill Pearce said. “The Festival of Sport is a great concept and we like to support the event each year by managing a great fun run. We are offering a free T-shirt to the people who register prior to the event.”

Runners can pre-register at any of Hume Building Societys 12 branches. Registrations will only be taken until 9.45am on the day.

Complete article at the Albury-Wodonga Border Mail

Posted at 10:08     [Perma-Link]

Big names strut their stuff in Games dress rehearsal

Some of the stars of the Australian track and field team got a feel for the MCG in the combined invitational meeting and Victorian championships last night.

Craig Mottram provided a sub four-minute mile - appropriately so with the world's second sub four-minute runner, Victoria Governor John Landy - looking on. Jana Pittman ran her fastest 400 metres hurdles of the season, backing up well from her heat the previous night.

Sarah Jamieson won the women's mile impressively, John Steffensen looked right at home winning the men's 400m and Scott Martin continued to dominate the throwing ring.

Martin will be needed in good form on the MCG next month as the one big negative for the night was the withdrawal of defending shot put champion Justin Anlezark from the team. The burly Queenslander will have surgery on his injured right hand and the operation will be performed by Greg Hoywho repaired Shane Warne's spinning fingers.

Pittman was happy to run her second solid race in as many days, backing up her 54.82s heat win on Friday night with a faster 54.41 last night. More importantly, she felt she finished strongly.

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 10:03     [Perma-Link]

Australian Sports Commission to investigate Aouita drug claims

Australian Sports Commission chairman Peter Bartels promised yesterday that the commission would conduct a rigorous investigation into allegations by middle-distance runner Melissa Rollison that she was told by national distance coach Said Aouita she would need to take performance-enhancing drugs to reach world class.

Bartels said his own and the commission's records demanded a thorough inquiry.

"The track record of the commission, the Australian Institute of Sport and me personally I think speaks for itself. We will leave no stone unturned to see what are the circumstances and whether any action needs to be taken."

Bartels said he had only just been advised of the allegations. "At this stage all we know is that someone has made a statement and it's been published. We'll have a look at it and see if it needs further investigation. It is quite a serious allegation."

Bartels was speaking after Athletics Australia announced that it would refer the matter back to the commission. Chief executive Danny Corcoran said that the sport was caught in a dilemma because the matter had happened under a previous administration and involved personnel no longer working within the sport in Australia.

The initial inquiry was set up after unspecified allegations by runner Mark Fountain, who walked out of an altitude training camp in Albuquerque late in 2003.

Rollison says that it concerned performance-enhancing drugs. She said she and other athletes at the camp took part in drafting the letter of complaint Fountain sent to the Sports Commission.

The inquiry exonerated Aouita, although it is now likely to be reopened as early as tomorrow, when ASC chief executive Mark Peters returns to Canberra after being at the Winter Olympics in Turin.

After being contacted in Arkansas, Fountain would only say that he was pleased Rollison had acknowledged that all the athletes at the camp had helped write the letter of complaint that he sent. "All our concerns were raised with the ASC," he said.

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 09:59     [Perma-Link]

Battle afoot as Nike says Adidas stole its cushion technology

Nike has taken the battle for the footwear dollar into the courtroom, claiming that the German company adidas, its keenest rival, stole Nike’s cushioning technology for use in its latest sports shoe models.

The American firm has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Texas against adidasSalomon claiming treble damages for theft of Nike’s Shox cushioning system. The writ alleges that adidas footwear, including the Kevin Garnett signature shoe and the adidas 1 model were developed with patented Nike technology.

The courtroom bust-up is the latest confrontation between Nike and adidas, respectively first and second in the global shoe business. The footwear foes have been engaged in an extended technology and fashion duel that is now focused on the US market, where adidas has hoped to chip away at Nike’s dominant position.

While Nike has long led the field since the development in the 1980s of air capsule cushioning technology to replace layers of polyurethane foam, adidas has recently been catching up with its own high-tech soles and last year agreed to merge with Reebok, a €3 billion (£2 billion) deal that gives the German firm extra clout with American retailers.

The two companies have vied with each other in launching ever more outrageous and higher-priced footwear, the latest addition to the adidas stable being the adidas 1, a challenge to Nike’s Air Jordan. Priced at $250, the adidas-1 contains a microprocessor and claims to be the world’s first computerised shoe.

At the end of last year adidas could claim about 11 per cent of athletic-shoe sales in the US, well behind Nike’s 44 per cent but, with the addition of Reebok, the German firm’s share rises to almost 22 per cent, big enough to kick the heels on a pair of Air Jordans.

Adidas declined to comment yesterday about the litigation. “We are examining the content of the complaint with our legal advisers,” the company said.

Nike’s star has dimmed slightly with signals that its sales growth in Europe, until recently a focal market, is slowing. Internal turmoil has also troubled investors, notably a row between Phil Knight, the founder, and William Perez, who resigned last month as chief executive. Only a year into the job, Mr Perez was an expensive appointment, leaving with two years’ salary, a bonus of $1.75 million and a $3.6 million house in Oregon.

There were accusations that Mr Knight, who had led the company for three decades, was unable to let go of the reins while others blamed differences in strategy, suggesting that the founder disagreed with the chief executive’s attempt to cut marketing spending on the Nike brand.

The patent dispute centres on Nike’s claim to 19 patents on its Shox cushioning, a spring device using columns of moulded plastic. Nike said yesterday that the technology had been 16 years in development and required “considerable financial investment”.

Eric Sprunk, Nike’s vice-president of global footwear, said that the firm often reinvested revenues in research and development of new products. “It is deeply frustrating and inappropriate when companies borrow or refashion such technologies as their own without making similar investments.”

Adidas’s new-found confidence follows its disposal of Salomon, the winter-sports business it acquired in 1997. With the takeover of Reebok, adidas will have sales of about €9 billion compared with €10 billion for Nike, and the German firm has about a quarter of the sports shoe market while Nike remains in the lead with a third.

THE war between swooshes and stripes can be traced back to a waffle iron into which Bill Bowerman, a former track coach at University of Oregon, poured a liquid rubber compound, making the first “waffle sole”.

Bowerman was a co-founder in the 1960s with Phil Knight of the company that became Nike, named after the Greek goddess of victory and which sold its first running shoes branded with the swoosh in 1972.

An aeronautical engineer, Frank Rudy, invented Nike’s first air-cushioned sole, injecting an inert gas into a polyurethane membrane. Since then, sports shoe manufacturers have been engaged in a technology race to find ways of minimising the foam rubber content of a shoe’s sole, foam being less stable and tending to deteriorate with wear.

The Shox system, based on a spring that both cushions and returns energy to the runner, was devised in 2000.

Adolf “Adi” Dassler made his first sports shoes by hand in 1920.

He and his brother Rudolf founded adidas in 1924 but they split in 1948 when Rudolf left to found Puma. The company was sold to the famous French tycoon Bernard Tapie in 1990, then sold again by Crédit Lyonnais and floated in 1995.

In 2004, adidas launched the adidas-1, the first “intelligent shoe”, a trainer fitted with a microprocessor and a sensor which adjusts the level of cushioning in the sole to suit the wearer and the terrain.

Complete article at The London Times

Posted at 09:39     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, February 18, 2006 

Said Aouita told Australians to take drugs

Australian athletes were told to take performance enhancing drugs by former national distance coach Said Aouita.

While Aouita, the former Moroccan Olympic 5000m champion, was investigated over drug allegations three years ago, the Herald Sun can now reveal that one of the key witnesses in that inquiry had been intimidated into not speaking out.
Melissa Rollison, a medal prospect in the 3000m steeplechase at next month's Commonwealth Games, has lifted the lid on one of the darkest periods in the sport by revealing that Aouita urged her to take human growth hormone while on a training camp in the US in 2003.

"He talked about it (drugs) every day," she said. "We had to go to America because that's where you get HGH. I said right at the start that I wasn't interested and he was like: 'Everyone else is on it so why wouldn't you want to?' I said I wanted to make it the proper way, but he then tried to convince me that HGH wasn't illegal. He said it couldn't be tested and that because my hormones were so low it would just bring me up to the normal person."

Aouita's two-year stint as a national coach ended in 2004 amid controversy after Victorian athlete Mark Fountain, who was on the camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Rollison, raised the drug allegations in a letter to the Australian Sports Commission.

The Moroccan, arguably the greatest middle-distance runner in history, was cleared after an investigation by the ASC, Athletics Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport. But Rollison said she now regretted not backing up Fountain and claimed she had been intimidated and manipulated into keeping quiet.

With the Athens Olympics on the horizon, the junior world record-holder panicked when then national coach Keith Connor rang and said if the allegations were true she would be coming home.

"All I was thinking about was the Olympics and I stupidly said, 'No, it's not true'," Rollison said. "But everything he wrote in the report was true. I mean, we all sat down and wrote it together. I then sort of convinced myself it was all lies and trusted Said again because he was just so good at convincing you, manipulating you."

Rollison, 22, maintains she didn't take any drugs and became so paranoid that she wouldn't eat or drink anything she hadn't prepared herself during her time with Aouita.

Fountain was shunned by the authorities after his allegations -- which included perceived favouritism by Aouita towards squad member Suzy Walsham. He fled to Arkansas where he is now based.

Fountain has maintained a low profile since until venturing home for the Commonwealth Games selection trials earlier this month, where he qualified for the 1500m.

When contacted by the Herald Sun in Arkansas last night, Fountain said he was glad his story was being supported by Rollison.

"My version has pretty much come out already," he said. "I think everyone is well aware of what happened and if they want to tell their side of the story then that is great to see."

Complete article at The Herald Sun

From the Abc:
Athletics Australia tight-lipped on drug claims

Athletics Australia says it is not in a position to comment on claims by steeplechase competitor Melissa Rollinson that former national distance coach Said Aouita told her to use banned drugs.

Athletics Australia chief executive Danny Corcoran says he is aware of Rollinson's claims that the Moroccan distance great encouraged her to take performance enhancing drugs in 2003.

But Mr Corcoran says as the coach left Australia the following year and with the sport under a different administration at the time, he is unable to comment on the allegations. Rollinson will compete in the 3,000m steeplechase at next month's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Posted at 10:55     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, February 17, 2006 

Louis Rowan aims for big things on the new MCG athletics track

Rising track star Louis Rowan has some unfinished business to attend to when he hits the MCG track tomorrow.
Rowan will again attempt to break the four-minute mile after missing out on the feat by less than half a second in December at the Ron Clarke Classic at Landy Field.

Given he will line up against champion runner Craig Mottram and national 1500m bronze medallist Collis Birmingham in the Athletics Australia Invitational event, he's confident his first taste of the recently completed MCG track will be one to savour.

``I'd definitely like to get under the four minutes and I think there's a pretty good chance of that happening with Craig in the race,'' Rowan said. "I'll certainly give it my all."

The Invitational will be Rowan's first race since winning silver in the 5000m at the national championships in Sydney earlier this month to qualify for the Games.

His hopes of competing in his pet event, the 1500m, were dashed when he injured his knee in the national final to finish seventh and out of the running for the three Games places up for grabs.

Having increased his workload this week, Rowan said his knee still wasn't 100 per cent, but did not expect it to hamper his preparations.

``It's improving slowly and I'm sure it will be fine by Saturday,'' he said. ``We've upped the training a bit this week and I've been getting through it OK, which is a good sign.''

Complete article & photo at Geelong Info

Posted at 13:25     [Perma-Link]

Pittman planning to go flat out to prove point

Jana Pittman wants to put the demons to bed. After two weeks of stress following a last placing in the 400m at the Commonwealth Games selection trials and a bitter falling out with fellow athlete Tamsyn Lewis, Pittman aims to put it all behind her today when she races on the MCG athletics track.

Her flirtation with the flat 400m is over and she will return to her pet 400m hurdles event when she runs at the Victorian championships. The Commonwealth Games track will be christened today when the first event of the three-day championships, the heats of the men's 100m, gets under way.

Pittman joined more than 100 of her Commonwealth Games track and field team-mates for a group photo and camp yesterday but kept her distance from Lewis.

The 2003 world champion was a little edgy and distracted, saying she was already in racing mode ahead of her run today where she plans to make amends for her shock performance in Sydney two weeks ago.

"I have had a fantastic week of training so I am hoping that the race will put a few demons to bed for me," Pittman said. "I was very upset after Sydney, but I have got some answers. Four or five things came together and explained what happened there," Pittman said.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 09:18     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, February 16, 2006 

Victorian Athletes put best feet forward

Victoria's elite athletes have issued a challenge to other runners across the state -- enter a team in the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids.

Close to 600 registered Athletics Victoria runners are expected to enter the charity fundraiser, which this year will replace the state 15km road championship race.
There are three team categories -- corporate, social and school -- for the April 9 event. Teams can have between six and 12 members and all must run, jog or walk the same distance.

Athletics Victoria has decided the unique course -- which takes in CityLink's Bolte Bridge and Domain Tunnel -- will become an official race for the winter athletics season.

"The opportunity to participate in something for such a good cause, a Melbourne cause, and that takes in so many highlights from around the city was very attractive to our members," said Athletics Victoria winter season manager Tim Crosbie.

Enter at or phone 9292 1928 to have entry forms mailed out.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 08:35     [Perma-Link]

CoolRunning wins industry award for athletics websites

For 2005, the same as in 2004, CoolRunning Australia was scored the most popular website in its category among Internet users in 2005 for the "Australia Sports - Athletics" category, beating sites such as Athletics Australia, Athletics Victoria and the Runners World Magazine website.

This is a double win for CoolRunning as CoolRunning New Zealand was top in the NZ Sports - Athletics category also.

More often than not, CoolRunning USA is also top-ranked in the Track and Field category

Posted at 00:35     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, February 15, 2006 

World Cross Country Championship Teams announced

Representing Australia at the World Cross Country in Fukuoka, Japan on the 1-2 April 2006 will be twenty-four of Australia’s top athletes. The team includes 2004 World Cross Country champion, Benita Johnson and Vicki Mitchell, both who have been selected in the women’s long course event and who have shown some recent good Cross Country form, Vicki placing 4th in the NCAA (US College) Cross Country in November.

The team will be the second largest Australian World Cross Country team since the 1991 World Cross in Antwerp, Belgium and will also mark Australia's 29th appearance at the Championships.

The Fukouka event will be significant in that it will be the last time ever a short and long course will be conducted in the same meet since it’s introduction in 1998. As from 2007, in Kenya, only long course events will be held.

Complete article at Athletics Australia

Posted at 13:33     [Perma-Link]

Advice runs from one generation to the next

by Len Johnson

THE sound of 90,000 people roaring you on can inspire, but it can also intimidate.

"It's just like being in a tank," John Landy said yesterday. "There's an enormous noise, but you can't pick specific sounds out. It's just a terrific noise.

"Your feet won't hit the ground," Mr Landy told champion runner Craig Mottram.

There are few athletes who can tell you what it is like to compete on a packed MCG. One of them happens to be the Governor of Victoria.

Mr Landy came to the MCG for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games as the country's best-known athlete.

Australians had followed him through his quest for the first sub-four minute mile and his epic race against England's Roger Bannister at the 1954 British Empire Games in Vancouver. They knew he had battled injury in the lead-up to Melbourne. He finished third in the 1500 metres behind Ireland's Ron Delany.

The Melbourne Olympians had not experienced the MCG before the Games. Mottram will get a preview this weekend, when the Victorian Open Athletics Championships are conducted there as a test event for the Commonwealth Games.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 13:25     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, February 13, 2006 

Get off my case: O'Sullivan

Irish distance running great Sonia O'Sullivan has hit out at critics of her selection to run for Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Frustrated at personal attacks since last week's team announcement, the former world champion and Olympic silver medallist said the level of misinformation about her recent citizenship and 5000m selection had shocked her.
"Every Tom, Dick and Harry has felt the need to express their opinion about my selection," she said.

"I have no problem with people having an opinion, however, I feel that there are some people who are making statements without any knowledge of what they are talking about."

The suggestion she is keeping a young Australian out of the team and was only selected because of the influence of her partner, leading coach Nic Bideau, has outraged the distance-running great.

O'Sullivan ran second at last week's selection trials in Sydney, finishing just 0.76sec inside the required B-standard qualifying time.

Her selection was guaranteed when former world cross country champion Benita Johnson elected to focus on the 10,000m at the Games.

"Nic Bideau has not got his own way with my selection, I have earned my selection to be part of the Australian team," she said.

"I cut it a bit close at the trials, but I knew it was going to be difficult.

"I was unsure if my citizenship would come through in time for the trials. I had been doing a lot of marathon training at Falls Creek, so the trials kind of snuck up on me and I was under-prepared to run 5000m on the track.

"It was not for myself that I was able to get through those last few laps with less than a second to spare. It was for my family, friends and training partners who were all at the track to cheer me on."

On the Johnson decision, she said: "I am not keeping any young Australian out of the team. I train daily with Benita Johnson and she tells me that, along with the Commonwealth Games, the World cross country is a priority for her this year.

"And as it falls one week after the Games, she feels she would be compromising her chances to run an extra event at the Games."

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 10:05     [Perma-Link]

Brothers grin on eve of fairytale

Sam Edmund

THEY might fight over the corn flakes most mornings, but Craig and Neil Mottram will now fight together for their family's first Commonwealth Games gold medal.

The pair, who share a house in Richmond, created history yesterday after Neil, 24, joined Craig on Australia's Games team.
It is the first time two brothers have appeared in the same Commonwealth Games playing different sports, and the second time two siblings have managed the feat.

Ron and Raelene Boyle were together at Edmonton in 1978.

Craig is a legitimate gold medal chance in the 5000m, while Neil will be a valuable member of the Boomers basketball team after starring for the Melbourne Tigers in the NBL.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 08:56     [Perma-Link]

Mottram beaten in NZ at Mayoral Mile

Australian running ace Craig Mottram has promised Kiwi Nick Willis he will “have his way with him” at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games after Willis won the Mayoral Mile battle between the two on Cooks Gardens in Wanganui on Saturday night.

Willis sat centimetres behind Mottram throughout the race, followed him like a bad smell, and outgunned him over the final 50 metres to record the fastest mile yet (3min 52.75) on Cooks Gardens, with Mottram’s 3min 53.15 setting him in second spot amongst the 48 recorded at the ground.

It was a personal best by 22-year-old Hutt man Willis, and he believes natural improvement will see him get close to breaking 3min 50sec before this season is out.

Mottram, dubbed “the fastest white man in the world” over a middle distance because of his successful battles with Kenyan and Ethiopian opposition, was not at all impressed by losing the race, although he admitted his own tactics had played into Willis’ hands.
“No-one ever likes to come second. But you can’t always win everything. I thought I ran solid, but it was a frustrating way to get beaten – in the home straight. But look at the positive side – it was good for New Zealand running.

“He’s a super-fit and talented runner, he’s very good. He’s one of the top guys in the world and we always knew it was going to be hard.”

Mottram suggested pre-race plans to out-think Willis fell apart immediately when the Kiwi sat right in behind him from the start instead of dropping a little further back.

“I knew I was in trouble from the gun because he went straight behind me – and usually he sits a fair way back in the field. We had a plan, hoped I would be able to get a gap and him sit in the middle of the field, but he was right on it. “I suppose we half expected it because it was going to be a two-man race as soon as we both lined-up in it. I suppose I made a good race it by making it fast, but I still would have liked to won it.”

Mottram said he believed if he came to Wanganui and ran 3.51 or 3.52 he would win.

“But he’s obviously going very well. But……..I’ll have my way with him five weeks from now.”

Complete article at The Wanganui Chronicle

Posted at 07:54     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, February 11, 2006 

Quick time predicted for Mottram at Wanganui Mile

Nick Willis believes a time of between 3min 53sec and 3min 56sec is likely in tonight’s Mayoral Mile in Wanganui, with at least three or four runners breaking four minutes.

With top Australian Craig Mottram in good enough shape to threaten 3.52, and he and Willis keen to “eyeball” each other in the lead-up to the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, it’s more than possible that tonight at 9pm will see the quickest mile run on Cooks Gardens.

Top New Zealander Willis says his build-up towards the Games has gone superbly.

“I haven’t had any interruptions to my training, so I’ve got reason to believe that things shouldn’t go well,” Willis said yesterday. “If we run a fast time it would be nice, but it depends on how the race will unfold. How I approach a race depends on how I’m feeling throughout the race – especially early in the season because one is not exactly certain how you’re going to respond to different circumstances.”
Willis says if he feels good it’s more likely he will attack earlier.

“If I’m feeling a bit stiff I will wait until later on. It’s a lap-by-lap thing, based on how one’s feeling. The important thing is trying to race to the best advantage so one can have a good finish.”

To that end Willis remembers – not so fondly – his personal best time effort, which was in the same race Mottram ran his 3.49.98.

“Our major clash was when he ran his time. I had one of my tougher races but still ran a personal best – I was right with them until 100 metres to go but took 20sec for the last 100 metres.

“With 40 metres to go I was wondering whether I would reach the finish line. I was almost crawling. I don’t know the specifics, but the doctors thought I might have been severely dehydrated. After the race I was in a foetal position for 50 minutes throwing up.”

So Willis believes he will crack 3.53 at some stage this summer – if not tonight.

“My 1500 PB equates to a 3.49 or 3.50 mile.”

Does Willis see this race as a head-to-head with Mottram? “Somewhat, especially now that Adrian Blincoe’s not running. But some of these other athletes, especially the ones coming from Australia (like Jeremy Roff), are more in peak fitness right now than Craig and I.

“Since we’ve guaranteed our selection we’ve been aiming to peak at the Games, while these runners had to gain selection.

“That could play into the favour of one or two of the lesser-known runners.”

One of those is Paul Hoffman, with a listed best 1500m time of 3.39.6sec. Willis points out this is equivalent to a 3.56 mile.

“You won’t see any times under 3.50 tonight. If someone runs a 3.54 that brings others into it. I would assume the pace is going to be somewhere between 3.53 to the 3.56 range. That’s what I’m predicting.”

One problem could be the apparent lack of a good pacemaker. “They’ve had a struggle to acquire the services of a pacemaker which has been a bit of a question mark on the race. That’s a shame when you’ve got such a high-quality field. When you’ve got such a great race everyone wants to be in it.”

But Willis says that even if the field goes through the threequarters in 3.02, it would still be possible to run a 3.55 mile.

“That’s very feasible. But if you have a 2.57, then you have a 3.52 possible. Breaking four is not the question. Even if it was 3.08 at the bell (theoretically) we could probably run a 51sec last lap.”

Complete article at the Wanganui Chronicle

Posted at 10:56     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, February 10, 2006 

Kitted up, ready to run

Nick Higginbottom

COMMONWEALTH Games athletes Benita Johnson and Craig Mottram are sporting a new look for charity.

The long-distance duo yesterday took a sneak peek at the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids official T-shirt, with Royal Children's Hospital patient Leigh Todd.

The T-shirts, from race sponsor Nike, are made from a lightweight fabric using Dri-Fit technology that stops the T-shirt absorbing sweat for more comfortable running.

All three gave the shirts, available with an entry form or at Nike stores from March 15, a big thumbs up.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 13:59     [Perma-Link]

Lauren Shelley relieved to be in Games Marathon

Esperance distance runner Lauren Shelley was more relieved than surprised when she received a text message on her mobile phone letting her know her dreams had come true. Ms Shelley said she would keep the message notifying her of her Commonwealth Games selection success and not delete it like most other messages.

The message said: "Congratulations Lauren you made the team in the marathon in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Good luck from Athletics Australia and Telstra."

The busy physiotherapist had a patient 'about to walk through the door' when she got the message so she made a quick phone call to her partner Greg and to her mum to let them know of her selection and then it was 'on with business.'

Seven women qualified for three positions and Ms Shelley said the selectors' decision was fairly tough and there were 'no guarantees.'

"So I think the initial feeling was probably relief," she said.

Ms Shelley said her training routine would not change much before the games. She said she plans to continue training in Esperance, which has been her home for three and a half years. On an average day Ms Shelley runs about 20km or more, usually spread over two sessions. Each week she runs between 140km and 160km in total.

Ms Shelley has a day off about once every three to six weeks. "I had a day off last week and that was my first day off since about the seventh of December," she said.

Running so many kilometres each week Ms Shelley tries to vary where she trains.

"I've been seen out on the foreshore many times but I'd get bored if I ran along there every day."

She runs on bike tracks, bush tracks, golf courses and sporting ovals. Ms Shelley has also run the 38km Great Ocean Drive and said she does that run 'every now and again.' She said she has about another three weeks of high mileage training and then she will start tapering her training before the big race.

Besides her land running Ms Shelley also does water running once a week and some strength exercises and drills. She keeps an eye on her diet but is not 'super strict'. Ms Shelley said she eats pretty healthy food and eats a lot.

"I make sure I am getting in what I need to recover from training as well as not having too much," she said.

Although some athletes will travel to places like Falls Creek for altitude training Ms Shelley said Melbourne and Esperance were fairly similar and so she will continue to train here.

"Melbourne on the 19th of March could be anything from 35 degrees to about 15 degrees, so it is very hard to prepare for," she said. "I think sometimes your home environment and your home routine is the best way to go."

Ms Shelley said balance was important. "In the end you don't need to think about running 24 hours a day, it's not the only thing in life. You need that balance between work and between friends, between socialising and between running."

Her focus for the Games is on winning a medal. Ms Shelley said the course was not especially fast and had a lot of twists and turns.

"So I am not really focussing on times but more looking at where I am going to come place wise. Being selected was only half the journey and now that we're in the race anything can happen. I will be aiming to run as well as I can and hopefully maybe getting a medal," she said.

Complete article at the Esperance Express

Posted at 01:28     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, February 09, 2006 

Mum elated over sisters Games selection

The mother of two Mackay athletes who have made the Commonwealth Games team says she is thrilled about their selection.

Merrilyn Willis says it has been a dream come true for her two daughters to make the Australian track and field team for next month's games.

Middle distance runner Benita Johnson will contest the 10,000 metres, while sister Caitlin Willis, 23, will be part of the women's 4 x 400 metre relay team.

"We're just very proud of everything they have achieved," Mrs Willis said. "I remember telling them when they were young that they would probably grow up like me and they'd be too fat to run."

Mrs Willis and her husband Tony have already bought their Games tickets and booked flights to be part of the Commonwealth Games experience.

She says their selection is reward for their hard work. "They're both training up to 15 hours a week and they have also juggled university studies," she said.

The Willis sisters will join fellow Mackay athletes swimmers Linda Mackenzie and Nick Frost in the Australian team.

Complete article at the ABC

Posted at 08:21     [Perma-Link]

Officials tell Pittman/ Lewis to break it up

Athletics Australia has stepped in to try to broker an end to the feud between top Australian athletes Jana Pittman and Tamsyn Lewis.

The verbal barbs between the pair have overshadowed the athletics team's preparation for next month's Commonwealth Games, with Lewis describing their uneasy relationship as a "catfight and a bitchfight".

Athletics Australia (AA) chief executive Danny Corcoran today met with both women in an effort to ensure their differences were put aside in the interests of the sport.

"I have spoken to both Jana and Tamsyn today and have indicated in the strongest possible terms that they should focus on their own preparations for the Games rather than letting themselves be distracted," Corcoran said. "At a time where there is great optimism in the sport, with the selection of our largest team and a new generation of athletes representing their country for the first time, this distraction is both unwanted and unnecessary. From Athletics Australia's perspective, the ball is now firmly in both Jana and Tamsyn's court as to how they now focus on preparing for the Commonwealth Games."

Corcoran said he did not expect the spat to damage team morale.

"Any suggestion that the current personal relationship between Tamsyn Lewis and Jana Pittman is having any detrimental effect on the morale of the Australian team in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games is untrue," he said.

"Rivalry and competitiveness are integral parts of competing in elite sport, but sportsmanship and respect for fellow competitors are also important values when representing your country."

Pittman, who blamed Lewis for generating the feud, said she wanted to forget about the war of words and focus on training, saying the media spotlight created would not help her performance.

"As far as I'm concerned, bring the Commonwealth Games on, let's get back to what the atmosphere and what the Commonwealth Games spirit is about and let's forget about all this," she said on the Nine Network's A Current Affair.

Lewis said she regretted calling Pittman a "bitch" during a radio interview, after beating her at last Friday night's 400m race at the national trials.

"I only said one comment, I believe, that has been bad," she said. "I wish I could take back the comment ... I didn't mean it as nasty to Jana, I meant it as tongue-in-cheek and a joke."

Complete article at the SMH

Posted at 08:15     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

Lee Troop - father of Macy

Geelong marathon man Lee Troop is absorbing the magnitude of his latest calling in life. Troop and wife Freyja have welcomed daughter Macy Lee into the world.

``I look at this little baby in the crib,'' Troop said with certain pride yesterday. ``And know that for every second of every minute of every hour of every day for week after week, year after year I'm responsible for this life. I'm entranced with the little thing we've brought into the world.''

Macy's healthy caesarean birth was three weeks ahead of schedule because specialists were unsure she was continuing to gain weight.

``The specialist Dr Brian McCully said afterwards it was spot-on and we couldn't have waited any longer,'' Troop said. ``Most people who have had children would know the complexities. You have the first 12 weeks waiting for no miscarriage and then the 20-week milestone. We thought we were on the home stretch. The last few weeks have been tough but the end result is perfect.''

Macy weighed in at 2.7 kilograms, or five pounds 151/2 ounces.

The Troops had glowing praise for staff at St John of God Hospital.

Posted at 06:38     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, February 06, 2006 

Disappointed and tired Pittman wonders what went wrong

Jana Pittman is still searching for answers after she ran the worst race of her life and finished last in the 400m at the Commonwealth Games trials.

She ordered blood tests after her shocking performance on Friday night and will find out this morning if she has a viral infection. Tests yesterday cleared her of having low iron levels.

Pittman, however, suspects it is just fatigue. "I feel nothing but tired," she said. "So I presume it [the viral infection result] is clear also and it's just fatigue."

Complete article at the SMH

Posted at 02:00     [Perma-Link]

Mottram welcomes battle with Limo

Craig Mottram will have to beat the 5,000m world champion to win gold at the Commonwealth Games after all - and he couldn't happier.

Kenya announced its Games team overnight and the big news was that Benjamin Limo, the man who beat Mottram to win the title last year's world championships, had changed his mind and decided to come down under next month.

Limo had previously said he was going to concentrate on the world cross-country championships to be held the following week in Japan.

"His training has been going very well and we have decided that he can attempt the double," said Limo's manager Ricky Simms. "There has been some public pressure for him to run in the Commonwealth Games and he is proud to represent his country in both championships."

Mottram counts Limo as a good friend and said they enjoyed some friendly banter in the warm-down following last year's world championships final after the Australian had claimed a shock bronze medal.

The Kenyan said he was looking forward to coming to Australia and he didn't plan on taking home another silver medal, as had happened at the 2002 Games in Manchester.

"Bronze will be good then," was Mottram's comeback. "Ben laughed and said 'no chance'. From that day on there's been some mucking around rivalry and the impression I got at the time was that he wanted to come out. I've been preparing as though he would be coming out and I was proven right today."

Mottram confirmed he was in good nick today by winning the 5,000m on the final day of the Commonwealth Games selection trials in commanding fashion in 13 minutes 47.44 seconds.

He jogged around with the field for the first 10 and a half laps before powering off and running the last 800m in 1:53.

Mottram is almost certain to also contest the 1,500m at the Games next month, but the 5,000m - and Limo - is the No.1 target.

"If you get a team of three Kenyans who you don't know, it's going to be much more dangerous because they're likely to go and run 58 (second laps) in the middle of the 5km and you just don't know whether they're going to come back or not, whether they're going to blow up or stay out there," he said.

"It's a lot harder to race those guys, whereas with Ben it's a lot easier to predict what he's going to do. Saying that, he's got one of his training partners as the third member of the team. But I'll be very ready in five weeks. It will be a good race and I'll be there or thereabouts coming into the straight."

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 00:38     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, February 05, 2006 

O'Sullivan's fate rests in second place

Sonia O'Sullivan's bid to represent Australia in the Commonwealth Games will be left to the discretion of the selectors after she finished second to Eloise Wellings in the 5000 metres last night.

O'Sullivan, who was granted Australian citizenship on Australia Day and cleared to represent her new country by the Commonwealth Games Federation last week, slipped inside the B-standard of 15 minutes 45 seconds by 0.76.

Wellings broke clear in the last five laps to win in 15:28.72, also a B-standard. Wellings is obviously ahead in getting the selectors' consideration, but Benita Johnson and Sarah Jamieson, who ran earlier in the championships, have asked to be considered in the 5000 and have faster times than O'Sullivan ran last night.

O'Sullivan said she had been in marathon training and was confident she would be able to improve considerably if she was selected. O'Sullivan's best time is over a minute faster than she ran last night.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 09:14     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, February 04, 2006 

Sydney jogger dies in ambo mix-up

The family of a jogger who died after collapsing while out running said last night he would still be alive if it was not for a triple-0 mix-up.

David Hughes, 66, died near McCarrs Creek Rd, Church Point, during the 40 minutes it took ambulance officers to realise they were at the wrong address - 625km away.
The Ambulance Service had dispatched paramedics to McCarrs Creek Rd, Grafton.

When his Hash House Harrier running mates first rang for an ambulance at 7.30pm on Monday, Mr Hughes was unconscious but still had a weak pulse. His fellow runners performed CPR on the grandfather-of-two while they waited for help to arrive.

It took paramedics in Grafton 30 minutes to realise they were at the wrong address and to have another crew sent to the correct location. By the time ambulance officers finally arrived in Church Point at 8.10pm, Mr Hughes was dead.
His devastated son Nicholas said he will now never know if his father's life could have been saved if help had arrived sooner.

"It's a hypothetical - we don't know, we'll probably never know," Nicholas said. "An ambulance still would have taken 15 minutes to get to that location ... we are still piecing everything together."

Mr Hughes' death is now the subject of a coronial investigation. The ambulance service has also launched an investigation.

It said yesterday the mistake happened because the caller confirmed the wrong address when the triple-0 operator read it back. The Hughes family said the service is yet to contact them to explain the tragic mix-up.

"The ambulance service hasn't contacted us to our knowledge so we don't have it [what happened] from their perspective," Nicholas said. "Whether it was a mix-up or whether they logged it in wrong, we don't know."

Premier Morris Iemma apologised to the family through the media but was last night yet to contact the family personally.

Nicholas said his father was a third generation builder who was about to finish his last development - a new home for him and his wife of more than 40 years, Sandra.

He said his father had loved running and was a fit man for his age. "At 66, he wasn't as fast as he used to be but he still went running every Monday night with the Sydney Hash House Harriers. He'd been a member for 36 years," Nicholas said.

"He wasn't a competition runner - he was more of a fun runner. He only ran with that group and he would sometimes go with them to run in other parts of Australia. He was one of the longest standing members of the club. He wasn't unfit - at 66 he was in reasonable condition. Running was something he loved so in a way it was sort of fitting that he died doing something he loved."

Complete article at

Posted at 20:29     [Perma-Link]

Tamsyn Lewis leaves Jana Pittman in shock

The feud is over, Tamsyn Lewis is the national champion and Jana Pittman shocked and embarrassment after the worst performance of her career.

That was the wash-up from last night's much-hyped 400m final at the Commonwealth Games athletics selection trials at Homebush, Sydney, which after all the Lewis-Pittman publicity was actually won by a New Zealander.
Jane Arnott produced the boilover, winning in 51.98sec from Lewis in 52.36sec with Pittman finishing last, almost 10m adrift.

Pittman described the performance, which left the crowd stunned, as the worst of her career.

"I am shocked, so shocked," she said. "I don't understand it, that is by far (my worst performance). I'll now have to go back to the drawing board and see where I am at. I didn't feel that bad warming up but at the 200m l had nothing, absolutely nothing. I don't have any excuses I am in really good shape but tonight it did not show. With 100m to go my legs wouldn't move, I couldn't chase and that is not like me. I am very disappointed in myself, I have no idea what has happened. I just need to go away and digest that."

Lewis was quick to play down her falling out with Pittman saying she would meet with her former best friend next week to sort out their differences.

"It has been a tough week," Lewis said. "We'll speak to each other next week, she is a great athlete and I have never said anything other than that.

"There really is nothing going on, it's good for the sport because people are talking about the sport.

"I was really nervous coming in because there was a lot of extra pressure because of the build-up so I am so relieved."

The 800m champion also defended the performance of Pittman.

"She was up there but you've got to give the girl a break. It is her first 400m for a long time since injury," Lewis said.

Lewis praised the work of her brother, Justin, who has taken over her coaching this year. "I love running again, he has been great for me," she said.

Two Sydney girls put themselves in the Games selection picture with Rosemary Hayward (52.79sec) and Jaimee-Lee Hoebergen (52.87sec) both registering B-standard qualifying times.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 05:40     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, February 03, 2006 

Fish out of water run for the kids

Jordana Borensztajn

FORMER swimming stars Linley Frame and Nicole Livingstone are tackling a dry sport to help the Royal Children's Hospital.

The two close friends will be in the inaugural Herald Sun/City Link Run for the Kids on Sunday, April 9.
The pair -- who went to school together, swam together and retired about the same time -- will check their fitness before deciding whether to run 4.5km or 14.7km.

Either way they haven't forgotten teamwork or competitiveness.

"If we do the long one we'll drag each other through and if we do the short one we'll probably race each other," Frame said

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 16:09     [Perma-Link]

How fast can you go around Tan?

RUNNING around the 3.87km Tan at the Botanical Gardens is an institution.

But just how long does it take?

Today, tomorrow and on Sunday, joggers will have the chance to test how fast they can run around the track with professional athletes.

Last year, Commonwealth Games hopefuls Mark Tucker and Sarah Jamieson did it in 10:49.40 minutes and 11:57.86 minutes respectively.

Olympic champion Cathy Freeman took 22.31 minutes.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 16:07     [Perma-Link]

Mottram to run Mayoral Mile in Wanganui

Top Aussie runner Craig Mottram is in good enough shape to give 3min 52sec a shake in tomorrow week’s Mayoral Mile in Wanganui. That’s the word yesterday from Mottram’s coach Nic Bideau, speaking from Melbourne.

Mottram will run in the 5000 metres in this weekend’s Australian national championships. But while he’s the fastest white man in the world over 5000 (12.55.76), he’s also made remarkable strides in his mile running over the past year or so.

He will come to Wanganui with a best time of 3.48.98 which he ran in Oslo last year. And this makes him a great catch for Athletics New Zealand, which has been organising the mile field for Mayor Michael Laws’ February 11 initiative.

"He’s in very good shape,” Bideau said yesterday. “He won a two-mile race in Boston last Saturday from a field which included five Ethiopians including world 5000m silver medallist Sileshi Sihine and also European indoor 3000m champion Alistair Cragg of Ireland,” Bideau said.

Mottram went straight to Boston from eight weeks of altitude training at Bideau’s Falls Creek (north-east Victoria) with English runner Mo Farah, who is also in the Wanganui field.

"He is close to sharp enough to run 3.52 at Wanganui – and maybe better," Bideau said.

Mottram has never raced in New Zealand before. He will decide after his Australian championship 5000 metres whether he will add the 1500 or 10,000m to his Commonwealth Games programme – at present he’s only committed to the 5000m.

Bideau says the Wanganui mile timing is ideal for his preparation. The coach says Mottram’s recent sharp mile form has been as a result of his gradually improving endurance as he’s got stronger.

“He’s improved a lot over the 5000m in the same period,” Bideau said.

Mottram (25), in fact ran 1500m in 3.35.40 in 2001, and a mile in 3.52.90 in 2002. His 5000m improvement has been from 13.12.04 in 2002 to 12.55.76 in 2004 (and fractionally slower last year).

His strongest opponent appears to be New Zealand’s Nick Willis, who has a best time of 3.53.43. The New Zealand national (fastest in NZ) record is 3.50.6, recorded at Auckland on March 19, 1981.

Complete article at Wanganui Chronicle

Posted at 13:47     [Perma-Link]

McCann running Great Ocean Road

Australian distance running's super mum Kerryn McCann will tackle the Great Ocean Road half marathon in May. The Sydney mother-of-two and marathon gold medallist at the 2004 Manchester Commonwealth Games has driven the road and described the 23km course as absolutely beautiful.

But first McCann, 38, will represent Australia at her third Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next month. She has also competed in three Olympic Games marathons, with a best performance of 11th in Sydney during 2000.

"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.

McCann holds the Australian women's half marathon record of 67 mins 48 secs, set during 2000 in Tokyo. Her best marathon time of 2 hours 25 minutes 59 seconds is the second fastest by an Australian woman.

She is running about 180km a week in training for the Games. McCann will be one of the major attractions at the Great Ocean Road International Marathon and Festival of Distance Running, to be held on the weekend of May 20-21.

Complete article & photo at Warrnambool Standard

Posted at 13:45     [Perma-Link]

$6m campaign against obesity epidemic

The federal government will spend $6 million on an advertising campaign urging children to exercise more, in a move designed to tackle an obesity epidemic.

The television advertisements, launched today by Health Minister Tony Abbott and champion swimmer Kieren Perkins, urge children to "get active for an hour a day".

"We want everyone to try to be active for at least an hour a day," Mr Abbott told a group of Sydney school children as he unveiled the package.

"We would like to think that the young people of Australia would spend less time in front of the television set, less time on the computer, less time on the Game Boy and more time running around exploring the bush, going to the beach, playing cricket, football, soccer, whatever it might be."

Almost one quarter of Australian teenagers are overweight or obese, Mr Abbott said.

The ads, to screen from this month, show Australian children being forced off the couch into physical exercise.

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 13:42     [Perma-Link]

Benita Johnson wins 10,000m comfortably

Three finals, plenty of interest in the opening heats of the short sprint and the prospect of an interesting battle in the 400m finals between Jana Pittman and Tamsyn Lewis were the highlights of the opening day of the Telstra Selection trials and 84th Australian Athletics Championships in Sydney today.

2004 world cross country champion Benita Johnson recorded a comfortable win in the 10,000m in a B qualifying time of 32:33.09 is decidedly unfavourable conditions. Despite not achieving automatic selection, only a harsh decision at the selector’s table will deny the Melbourne based Queenslander the opportunity to race off against England’s world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe and a trio of talented Kenyans at the MCG.

I’m very excited to race the world’s best runner at the MCG. I’m going there to win the race, it’s what I been working for and I’m really looking forward to it."

Johnson confirmed she also wanted a place in the 5000m, although she won’t toe the start line in Saturday’s final.

Complete article at Athletics Australia

Posted at 09:19     [Perma-Link]

Benita ready to face the best

by Len Johnson

SOME people relish the easier competition in the Commonwealth Games. Not so Benita Johnson, who says her event will be as tough as a world championships final, and that she relishes the prospect of taking on the world's best.

After winning her second Australian championship at 10,000 metres last night, and virtually booking her place in the Melbourne 2006 team, Johnson said she is motivated by the prospect of taking on Paula Radcliffe and the top Kenyans.

Radcliffe, whom Johnson called the world's best distance runner, has indicated she will be running in Melbourne, though she has not confirmed which distance. Johnson hopes it will be the 10,000, though she admits that will make it harder to win.

"I'm really looking forward to racing her. When I'm in my best shape I've got a chance of beating her. I could wish for nothing better than for her to come out and to race her and the top Kenyans in front of my home crowd."

Johnson broke away over the last 10 laps of last night's race to win in 32 minutes 33.09 seconds. It was a Commonwealth Games B-standard (she already has the A-standard), and good running in the windy, humid conditions.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 09:16     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, February 02, 2006 

Pittman chasing "Debbie double" Gold

Jana Pittman says she is aiming for "double gold" at the Commonwealth Games - the 400m hurdles and 400m flat titles. Pittman wants to emulate her idol, Debbie Flintoff-King, who scooped Commonwealth gold in both events 20 years ago.

"If I'm in super, super form, and fit and well - in that case I'll try and do the double," Pittman said yesterday.

While she has not run a 400m flat race for 12 months, Pittman said she was in top form.

"It's my first 400 metres in a year," said Pittman, who will compete for a 400m berth at the Commonwealth Games trials, which start today at Sydney Olympic Park. "I'm pretty excited. I haven't run for a while but I'm in similar form to 2003.

"The shape I'm in, I'm not far off when I defeated Cathy Freeman. That was the first time I ran 50.4 [seconds] and my form and preparation in the weeks leading up to the Commonwealth Games trials is similar and I take some confidence out of that. I'm hoping the Commonwealth Games is going to be the performance of my career. This and Beijing is what I want to remember my career for."

It was in Edinburgh in 1986 that Flintoff-King became the only woman in Commonwealth Games history to complete the flat 400m and 400 hurdles double. "Debbie did it once, and this could be pretty special," Pittman said.

Her coach and fiancee, Chris Rawlison, said: "She's always wanted to do the double like Debbie did."

Pittman's best 400m time is 50.43s and Rawlison said the trials would be a tough test.

"It will be a baptism of fire," he said. "She needs to run the heats to find out how to run the flats over the coming days. We don't do a lot of 400s in training. Physically she's in good condition. From the time I've spent with her, I think she'll run quite well. She just has to believe in herself. She had a lot of time off during the European summer - over July-August - she hasn't raced that much. She is lacking a little confidence."

The past few years haven't been kind to Pittman. Knee problems led to a tumultuous Athens Olympics and last year she suffered a stress fracture in her spine before the world championships, disrupting her season again.

"I haven't had a real season over the last few years," she said.

If things go awry again, this time Pittman has a contingency plan: "Say if I get hurt, well, then I'll just run the 400m hurdles."

No Australian woman has bettered the GamesA standard of 51.90s for the 400m this season. Pittman's main rival, former friend Tamsyn Lewis, has a season-best time of 52.48s, and the pair will face off on the track tonight. Pittman had a dig at Lewis for modelling bikinis last year, and the feud is still simmering.

"I do laugh about it," Pittman said. "I'm running in a bodysuit at the trials. It's a body suit that covers me down to my knees and to my elbows. I'm not showing any skin."

Complete article at The Sydney Morning Herald

Posted at 10:03     [Perma-Link]

Aussie athletics team to number 100-plus

The planets have finally aligned for Australian athletics with the host nation likely to be represented by a record track and field team numbering more than 100 at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Seventy athletes have already bettered the A qualifying standards heading into the February 2-5 trials at Sydney Olympic Park, with a host of others on the cusp of selection.

Nowhere is competition more fierce than in the men's 400m, where four Olympic silver medallists and a trio of rising stars will lead the battle for the three individual berths and positions in the 4x400m relay squad.

The men's 10,000m is the only event where Australia currently has no-one who has bettered the A or B qualifying standard.

If, as expected, the selectors decide Australia is best served by a large team on home soil, the squad is likely to number more than 100 for the first time at a major championships.

The previous biggest Australian teams were at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (86 athletes) and the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games (83).

Australia's track and field contingent at the last four Commonwealth Games has numbered more than 70.

The comparison is stark with the small 20-strong squad for last year's Helsinki world championships, by which stage many Australian athletes had their sights firmly set on the MCG in March.

"I've always been of the view this team would be among our largest," said Athletics Australia national performance manager Max Binnington. "And post-world championships there have been a lot of encouraging signs and it now looks like we could well reach three figures."

Elite athletes with a disability will be counted as full members of the Australian team for the first time.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 07:47     [Perma-Link]

Corcoran's $5m plan to target kids

Athletics Australia is on a desperate search for the $5million extra funding needed each year to offer scholarships to junior athletes and make the sport a serious international player.

As the Commonwealth Games selection trials begin in Sydney today, AA chief executive Danny Corcoran admits he has just come out of the blocks in the marathon effort needed to overhaul the under-achieving sport.

Corcoran, who took over 18 months ago when the sport faced a $1.3million loss and was at its lowest ebb, needs millions of dollars to tackle the most pressing issue - the exodus of junior talent.

The sport receives $4million a year from the Australian Sports Commission, as well as sponsorship from companies including Telstra and Asics. Under Corcoran's management, AA is back on a steady financial footing but the funding is not enough to halt the talent drain to other sports.

Hundreds of promising junior runners, throwers and jumpers competed at the national schools' championship late last year. But less than five out of every 100 will go on to bigger things. AA figures show at least 95 per cent don't make the transition from junior to senior ranks, dropping out of athletics when they finish secondary school.

Most drift away because they can't afford to continue the intense twice-daily training required to match it with the world's best.

The cream are drafted to high-paying sports like the AFL, where they earn more than $50,000 in their first year. Corcoran, who came to AA after a long career with AFL clubs Melbourne and Essendon, understands the pull of team sports such as football.

But he wants extra funding so he can offer an alternative to athletes like Sean Rusling, who as a teenager ran 10.8sec for 100m and 50.1sec for 400m, but opted for an AFL career and was drafted to Collingwood in 2004.

"We have a huge amount of work to do," Corcoran said. "The few athletes we can support now are trying to get by on a few thousand dollars a year. They can't live on it. We need to raise enough revenue to offer 50 to 60 scholarships a year at up to $50,000 each, and to enable us to pay coaches, so we can have a shot at competing on the international stage."

On the surface, track and field is healthier than it has been since the glory days of the 2000 Olympics. The Melbourne Commonwealth Games, from March 15-25, has given athletes renewed drive - from up-and-comers such as 19-year-old Sally McLellan, who wants to run the 100m and 100m hurdles, to 30-something veterans like 1996 Olympic hurdles finalist Kyle Vander Kuyp.

There will be gifted juniors on show at the trials, particularly in the men's long jump and women's pole vault, where Vicky Parnov, 15, will vie with her 30-year-old aunt, Olympic silver medallist Tatiana Grigorieva (Vicky's mother is the sister of Grigorieva's former husband, pole vaulter Viktor Chistiakov).

AA's national performance director Max Binnington is impressed with recent performances and predicts Australia will win the track and field medal count in Melbourne.

But Corcoran remains concerned about the long-term prospects of keeping the best athletes competing.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 07:47     [Perma-Link]

Sonia's plan ok by Commonwealth Games Federation

Sonia O'Sullivan and Ambrose Ezenwa are both free to run for Australia in the Commonwealth Games after being cleared by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

The federation decided that its rules did not prevent either athlete from representing Australia, though neither could do so under the rules applying to Olympic Games and world championships.

O'Sullivan was granted Australian citizenship last week in an Australia Day ceremony at the National Gallery of Victoria.

She has two Australian children — Ciara and Sophie — with her partner, athlete manager and coach Nic Bideau, and has split her time largely between London and Melbourne for almost a decade now.

O'Sullivan's situation was complicated by her desire to continue to represent Ireland, but she is believed to have ruled out running in the world cross-country championships in Japan a week after the Commonwealth Games as she will be running the London marathon in April. Her farewell appearance for Ireland could come at this year's European championships in August.

Commonwealth regulations require only a passport for representation and O'Sullivan now has one.

She will run in the 5000 metres on Saturday night and will be nominated for the team for Melbourne if she qualifies.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 07:42     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, February 01, 2006 

Meter's ticking on Mottram decision

Scott Gullan

WORLD 5000m bronze medallist Craig Mottram will decide by the end of this weekend's Commonwealth Games selection trials whether he chases a second gold medal in the 1500m or 10,000m.

Mottram returned home yesterday after winning over two miles at the Boston Indoor Games and admitted he was still to decide.
He is only racing in the 5000m, his pet event, at the selection trials in Sydney.

"I don't know to be honest," he said. "I have run the time for both of those events but I am not going to run them at the trials.

"The race on the weekend showed that I have got good strength and got good speed but I am going to wait and see how this 5000m goes in Sydney."

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 10:00     [Perma-Link]

Gorgi trains for the fun of the run

Annalise Walliker

PLAN to bolt across the Bolte? The newest recruit on Channel 9's Today Show, Gorgi Quill, will do just that on Sunday, April 9.

Quill will join thousands of Victorians in the inaugural Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids fun run.
The unique 14.7km course starts at the Docklands and features the Bolte Bridge and Domain Tunnel, ending at the Royal Children's Hospital.

And Quill -- who until recently lived at the Docklands overlooking the bridge -- is excited to see Melbourne from a different perspective.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 09:57     [Perma-Link]

Mottram ignores critics, makes Games a priority

CRAIG Mottram still has not made up his mind what events to run at Melbourne 2006, but he has made up his mind about how important the Commonwealth Games are to him.

Looking remarkably fresh just hours after returning from Boston, where he won a big indoor race over two miles, Mottram was asked to comment on the mooted non-appearance of Kenya's world champion at 5000 metres, Benjamin Limo, and disparaging remarks on the Games by UK Athletics high-performance manager David Collins.

Mottram said it made no difference. "The Commonwealth Games are my number one priority," Mottram said, "and (the priority) of every track and field athlete in Australia for the next two months."

It was a big opportunity to put international athletics in front of a home crowd, Mottram said, "and to show that myself and the rest of Australia's athletes are good internationally".

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 09:55     [Perma-Link]

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