There was a much improved performance by The Australian Track Team at The World Championships in Poland, which managed to finish top of the medal table with 10 medals made up of four Gold, four Silver and two Bronze medals – ahead of France with three Gold, two Silver and one Bronze. Great Britain finished third on the table with two Gold, four Silver and three Bronze.
Cameron Meyer – Men’s Points Race
Anna Meares / Kaarle McCulloch – Women’s Team Sprint
Josephine Tomic – Women’s Omnium
Leigh Howard – Men’s Omnium
Anna Meares – Women’s 500m Time Trial
Jack Bobridge – Men’s Individual Pursuit
Jack Bobridge, Leigh Howard, Cameron Meyer and Rohan Dennis – Men’s Team Pursuit
Cameron Meyer & Leigh Howard – Men’s Madison
Josephine Tomic, Sarah Kent and Ashlee Ankudinoff – Women’s Team Pursuit
Belinda Goss – Women’s Scratch Race
This was a massive improvement on both last years World Championships and The Bejing Olympic Games where Meares was the only medalist for Australia.
Cycling Australia’s National Performance Director, Shayne Bannan said “Overall there is still a lot of work to do and we’re not getting carried away because we realise that to be competitve in London we really need to progress each year, so that’s the aim,” he explained. “Certainly didn’t expect it (medal haul) and we, like a few of the other top nations, are concentrating on development and the emerging athlete as we lead into London” and with a more than a few teenagers in the team things are now looking very bright for the future.
Just a few days after the Australian team returned to Adelaide from Poland the early morning news carried the shock story that former world cycling champion Jobie Dajka had been found dead at his home in Australia. The 27-year-old’s body was discovered by police in Adelaide but his death is not being treated as suspicious.
The 2002 Commonwealth team sprint Gold medallist and Keirin world champion had battled with alcohol and depression. He was excluded from Australia’s team for the Athens Olympics for lying to an inquiry into doping allegations and seemingly never recovered from this. He was also given a suspended three-month jail term and barred from cycling for three years in 2005 for assaulting Australia’s national track coach Martin Barras, although the ban was lifted ahead of sched
ule in 2006 on condition he seek medical treatment.
Cycling Australia chief executive Graham Fredericks paid tribute to Dajka’s achievements in cycling. “While his final period with the sport was often troubled, we hope that Jobie will be remembered for his remarkable achievements as one of Australia’s best sprint cyclists of the past decade.”
I remember Jobie as a vibrant young man exceling at our sport in both The Commonwealth Games in Manchester, where he made it a 1-2-3 for Australia in the Dprint competition finishing 3rd behind Sean Eadie & Ryan Bayley – and at The World Championships in 2005 at Los Angeles where he again finished 3rd in the sprint competition.
The track season in Australia is coming to a close with the Junior National Championships held in Adelaide in March and the Masters National Track Championships – this year being held in Tasmania – at the start of April. I was very impressed with most of the racing at The Junior Track Championships where a number of National Records were broken although most of my interest was centred on the Queensland State Team, with my club members Tatham White, Robert Bell and Hayley Jones all gaining selection after the State Titles back in January and after many hours spent at Chandler Velodrome (where the 1982 Commonwealth Games were held) training hard, all produced personal bests.
At the Masters National Championships again many riders were setting personal best times and a full list of all the results from both the Junior and the Masters Championships can be found at www.cycling.org.au the official web site of Cycling Australia.
April now sees many major Road Events taking place the first of these being the Mersey Valley again being held in Tasmania with separate events for Elite & U23 Men, Elite & U23 Women, U19 Men & U19 Women with the U19 events being part of the selection procedure for The Junior World Championship Team. The next and final event of the selection procedure will be The Australian U19 Road Race Championships being held at Murwillumbah, NSW, on Saturday 2nd May with The Mens event being held over 123km and the Womens event over 70km on a rolling circuit so expect Junior Coach Gary Sutton to be taking a keen interest in both these events.