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An Exciting Time for Our Sport - A Letter from Mark Arbib, the President of Athletics Australia

Thursday, 28 March 2019 | Lara Tamsett

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Athletics Australia’s successful bid to host the 2021 IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in the NSW city of Bathurst is a tremendous opportunity for our sport.

It’s been 25 years since an IAAF Championship has come to our shores, and it represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our best cross-country runners to compete in this pinnacle event, on home soil. There is no greater honour than representing your nation, and in 2021 our athletes will get to do just that, in front of a home crowd, with their eyes on the podium.

I am sure this will not only inspire our best runners to train that bit harder as they work towards their goals, but I also hope it will encourage our developing athletes and juniors who are coming through the sport.

One of our Board’s greatest hopes for this event is that it will inspire our next generation of runners. To witness the talent and impressive athletic feats of the world’s best endurance athletes at home will no doubt have a lasting impact on many young athletes. I  encourage all friends, families and fans to plan a trip to Bathurst in 2021, to take part in this history-making competition for our nation, and to also cheer on our Aussie athletes. There will be numerous running events for the wider athletics community and we are hoping to create a “festival of cross-country” and mass participation.

Athletics Australia has a long and proud history in the discipline of cross-country, with our first National Cross-Country Championship event dating back to 1910. As a nation, we have won one individual medal (Gold, Benita Willis, 2004) and two team medals (Bronze, Open Women, 2008 and Bronze, Open Women short course, 2006). 

We will continue this strong history, starting this Saturday in Denmark where 24 Australian’s are competing in the 2019 IAAF World Cross-Country. The men’s team includes Brett Robinson (VIC), Jack Rayner (VIC), Harry Summers (NSW), Jack Bruce (QLD), Stewart McSweyn (TAS) and Matt Ramsden (WA).

In the senior women’s team, Melissa Duncan (VIC) and Caitlin Adams (SA) were automatic selections as the first and second Australian women across the finish line at the Selection Trials. They will be joined by Paige Campbell (NSW), Emily Brichacek (ACT), Marnie Ponton (NSW) and Leanne Pompeani (ACT).

Our junior teams are equally as impressive, with the boys consisting of Jackson Sharp (NSW), Chekole Getenet (QLD), Sam Clifford (TAS) and Oli Raimond (NSW) and the girls team including Sarah Schiffmann (NSW), Nikita Moore (QLD), Lucinda Crouch, Abbey Caldwell (VIC) and Lauren Carey (NSW).

 Following Denmark’s World Cross Country Championships, our sport see’s another major event with our own Australian Track & Field Championships. 

Set to span an impressive eight days from 1st-7th April at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre, the 2019 Australian Track & Field Championships will be the largest annual athletics event in Australia and Oceania-Pacific region. More than 3,500 track and field athletes of all ages will compete in the pursuit of personal bests and national championship medals. 

It is an exciting time for our sport, not only over the next few weeks, but also over the next two years as we build towards Bathurst 2021. I encourage our participants, supporters, fans and aspiring athletes to get excited, to get involved and to aim high. 

Mark Arbib,

President of Athletics Australia

Watch the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on IAAF YouTube, AEDT times below

 
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