Medal Hunt Continues in Tokyo
Words from Sascha Ryner of Athletics Australia
Medals eluded the Australian track and field team tonight at the Paralympic Games, but a series of mixed performances have athletes determined to build on results with just four more days left of their Tokyo campaign.
The 100m T54 brought both elation and devastation to Australian team members, as Sam Carter (Fred Periac) finished fifth in the final, while debutant Luke Bailey (Andrew Dawes) was unable to progress amongst worldwide heavyweights, placing fifth in his heat (14.55). Two-time Paralympian Carter was made to wait until after the heats had finished to be informed of his finals berth. Despite going into the race as the slowest qualifier, his fifth place finish in 14.08 – less than half a second behind first place – shows there is much potential from the 30-year-old.
“That was a very enjoyable final. It’s always a buzz to be out for a Paralympic final and the 100m is my favourite. I’ve had a lot of fun tonight and I had a better race than in the heat so that’s good. To be on the podium is a dream but I wasn’t unhappy with any part of my race,” he said.
“Being at the Paralympics again, every time I’m in the village, I give a mental high five to 10-year-old Sam, who always wished we could get here. We did it and it’s amazing. I’d encourage kids with disabilities, if it’s something you want to do, get out there and do it. If you work hard, you can do it. It’s totally within reach for sure.”
Now a three-time Paralympian, Rosemary Little (Karyne Di Marco and Breanne Clement) used her experience to make a mark on a new event – the shot put F32. Formerly a wheelchair racer who won bronze in London, Little made the switch from track to field after spinal surgery caused further damage in 2017, and placed sixth with a new personal best of 6.26m.
Little previous lifetime best was 6.12m set at the Australian Track and Field Championships in April, making this a significant improvement in the early years of her throwing career.
“I didn’t think I’d be here in Tokyo. My track coach suggested I make the switch – that was after my year in hospital rehab 2017-2018 with the spinal tumour – and I really wasn’t that keen,” Little said.
“Perseverance always wins out in the end though. And I don’t necessarily listen to advice from doctors. My neurologist always says if I wasn’t so stubborn I wouldn’t be here.”
Australian Cross Country Championships Cancelled
Athletics Australia and Coles Little Athletics Australia have today reached the decision to cancel the 2021 Australian Cross Country Championships.
Originally scheduled to take place in Adelaide in August, the Championships were postponed in July due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, but with many States unable to hold their own selection events and no end in sight for travel restrictions to ease, a decision has been made to cancel the 2021 edition of the Championships.
Athletics Australia CEO Peter Bromley said: “The 2021 Australian Cross Country Championships was an event that we were particularly looking forward to as it would have been the first of many held by AA and LAA, however COVID numbers are still rising across the country with restrictions firmly in place, meaning a national championships is no longer viable.”
“We acknowledge that athletes, coaches and officials of all ages were looking forward to this event, but until the Australian public gets COVID-19 numbers under control and there is a significant increase in vaccination rates, it won’t be possible for this event to take place.”
Coles Little Athletics Australia General Manager Operations Andrew Johnston said: “The decision to cancel this event did not come lightly, and together with AA, we looked at every possible option to still hold the Championships.”
“Instead we will focus our efforts on the Summer season ahead, with a view of holding the joint Australian Cross Country Championships next year in 2022.
“We would like to thank everyone for their patience, and AA and LAA will now work with each of our Member Associations to ensure competition opportunities are readily available at a safer time.”
Details around the 2021/2022 Australian Summer of Athletics will be announced next month.
Cross Country Presentation Day
The YRA Cross Country team are working hard to bring our community a Presentation Day to celebrate the achievements of all of our athletes over the Cross Country season. Watch this space!
Athletics Victoria Message
Thank you for your continued support around the challenging periods of lockdown, which has significantly impacted what the AV team has been trying to deliver this winter. Like you, we are waiting for the next round of advice from the Victorian Government on what will occur after the current lockdown.
Over the past 18 months, we have managed to find avenues to provide competition and opportunities within the government restrictions and passed on reductions in membership fees to acknowledge the financial pressure points that come with community lockdowns. When this season commenced in April 2021, we were hopeful that we could complete the winter competition. While there were roadblocks, significant pre-event preparation continued, financially supported by government grants and subsidies in the previous year. However, in 2021, this level of prior support is not available.
As we are unsure what is to come in the following weeks, we have decided to cancel the remainder of the Winter Season. AV Members who have purchased packages (XCR and MAX) have been emailed earlier today with three options:
- For XCR Packages – a free upgrade to a Max Package
- For Max and XCR Packages – a partial refund or
- No upgrade or refund.
For XCR21 Bundoora, all individual event entries will be refunded. All individual entries in the 2021 All Schools Cross Country Championships will also be refunded. If you are in these groups, you will have received an email with further information.
If circumstances change post 2nd September and there is the capacity to schedule a cross-country event (as prescribed within the government directions), further information will be provided, including how to enter and individual entry fees.
This season has already been ‘challenging’ with the cancellation of the winter season, which will put pressure on the financial outcome. However, we will continue to work hard to provide opportunities when restrictions ease.
I want to thank each and every one of you who has committed to Athletics Victoria, all our AV clubs, coaches, officials, Club Administrators, and volunteers for the past 18 months. Your understanding and hard work have been a bright spark during this time.
Chief Executive Officer