Sport

Aussie sprinters are falling too far behind

PLAYING CATCH UP: Australia’s fastest man Joshua Ross (right) was a strong medal hope for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but is currently serving a suspension for breaching ASADA’s athlete whereabouts code
PLAYING CATCH UP: Australia’s fastest man Joshua Ross (right) was a strong medal hope for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but is currently serving a suspension for breaching ASADA’s athlete whereabouts code Getty Images

COULD you name Australia's fastest man?

If you can without searching Google, then you're doing better than most.

On Thursday, Athletics Australia named a 103-strong team to compete at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games - the biggest track and field team Australia has sent to a major overseas competition.

However, this country doesn't have a single starter in the men's 100m.

Some would say that's an absolute disgrace, others would shrug their shoulders and say: "We've got Sally Pearson to cheer".

But the truth is, in the land of speed, Australia barely gets out of the starting block.

Australia went to the 2012 London Olympic Games without any male sprinters in either the 100 or 200 metres, while Melissa Breen was the only athlete selected in the women's 100m despite not having run an Olympic qualifying time.

The blue-riband men's 100m generates the greatest hype and excitement at the Olympic Games, yet without a headline act in the making track sits mired in a slump.

So what's happened to sprinting?

Is Australia no longer obsessed with speed? Has not enough been spent on development? Have the Americans and Jamaicans raised the bar so high it's just too hard?

During a frank discussion with Gerrard Keating at the Hervey Bay Athletics Club's sign on and fun day on Saturday, the former Commonwealth Games sprinter put the onus squarely on the athletes.

While they are increasingly becoming prime targets for the football codes, Keating, who now works as a development officer for Little Athletics Queensland, believed today's crop of male sprinters would rather take the easy option, labelling them "soft".

"Unfortunately with athletics in this country, only a few get sponsorships and can make a living out of it, the rest you have got to work or have to study and that's the reality," he told the Chronicle.

"You can use that as an excuse, but you look at what they do in Africa, the Caribbean or other countries they're far worse off than us but they manage.

"That just comes down to their soft.

"Our generation of sportspeople, particularly individual sportspeople are soft and aren't willing to do the work so will either leave the sport or go to another sport and are happy to play that sport at a lesser level.

"You will find a lot of athletes who are great at school are happy to play for their local club in rugby league and get $200 a week.

"They put that as better than representing Australia and to me that's sad."

Keating was unequivocal in saying Australia can produce the talent to go on and dominate men's sprints.

Sad as it might be, though, our future track and field stars don't know who their heroes are.

Aside from Pearson, Australia's Commonwealth track and field team features no household names- the glamour, flash and superstars who command air time and print space are missing.

With less than four years until Gold Coast hosts the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Australian athletics needs an injection of star power.

We need our star male sprinters. Someone who can not only motivate an entire squad, but also inspire our future Olympians who want to be like him.

While other sports are ridden with success and big names with big personalities, Keating believed Athletics Australia miss the boat when it comes to promoting their top athletes.

"It's the federation's fault for not getting our athletes' names out there and it's not that difficult," he said.

"We need role models and people to know who these people are to get kids interested in the sport."

So who is Australia's fastest man?

That honour would go to Joshua Ross, a seven-time national champion and dual Olympian who is serving a ban for breaching ASADA's athlete whereabouts code.

Ironic isn't it?



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

About time we see tough laws on emergency assaults

Ambulances "ramping" at the Ipswich Hospital emergency department.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

These men and women are our community's real life heroes.

McCulkin murders: How the trial nearly collapsed

Vincent O'Dempsey.

It was the verdict that nearly never came.

Everyone gets to scoot along to the show

IT'S SHOW TIME: Hervey Bay sisters  Rae Thomas (left) and Fay Phillips had their first trip to the show in more than 20 years thanks to the mobility scooter transport service.

Residents enjoyed a free scooter transport service to the show.

Local Partners

Pier Park Markets raises money for charities every week

Every Saturday, a group of enthusiastic volunteers including Mike McNeil arrive to Urangan at about 3am to set up for the upcoming market day.


What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Things to do on the Fraser Coast this weekend

Kayla Schmidt, Charlie and Nitro at this year's Million Paws Walk. May 15th, 2016

Find out when and where things are happening this weekend.

Marking Maryborough Hospital's 130th birthday

A PIECE OF HISTORY: Nursing director Trish Spreadborough shows what it would have been like to care for patients in the early days of the Maryborough Hospital.

Learn about the rich history of the Maryborough Hospital

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

JUST WHEN you thought you’d all of Bella Hadid’s supermodel figure — she gets her Cannes out on the red carpet of an AIDS gala dinner in France.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Is this the talent you get when you limit electronics?

Cassidy Kilburn in the Get the Beat International Dance Competition.

Cassidy, 11, preparing for national dance championships

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!