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National News

When Australia hosted the IAAF World Cup

Monday, 3 September 2018 | Rob Cumbrae-Stewart

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In one week the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup will be held in Ostrava in the Czech Republic. It is the 13th edition of the World/Continental Cup first held in 1977. Only once has the Asia-Pacific region held the event, being in 1985 when Canberra was the host. In the article we reflect on the event.

It started in 1977 when Canberra hosted the Pacific Conference Games, the swimming equivalent to the Pan Pacs. The late President of the IAAF, Adriaan Paulen attended the two day competition in December. He considered it one of the best conducted athletics meetings he had ever been to and suggested Canberra apply to stage the World Cup. 

In 1981 a feasibility study was held and they then presented at the IAAF Council Meeting in Kingston in April 1982. The party of six who went to Kingston were Tony Blunn, head of the Department of Capital Territory, Sir Laurence Muir chairman of the Canberra Development board and David Dickson, head of the National Sports Centre. The three Amateur Athletic Union of Australia (AAU) representatives were vice-president Graeme Briggs, Clive Lee and Dr Frank Larkins. Canberra defeated Tokyo to host the fourth World Cup in Athletics just the second global track and field event to be held in Australia.

At the three-day competition on October 4 to 6, 320 athletes from 52 countries competed. The reports of the meet said: “Despite a weak European team, the meeting exceeded the expectations of many. World records, the first in world cup competition, were set by the wondrous GDR women sprinters, by their 4x100m relay and Martia Koch with 47.60 in the 400m.The GDR won the women’s match to gain their revenge on their defeat by the USSR in Moscow (European Cup) and the USA the men’s match.”

Oceania’s best were Debbie Flintoff-King with bronze in the 400m hurdles (55.34). She also ran the 400m and a leg on the 4x400m relay. Teenager, Darren Clark was just as busy with bronze in the 200m, fourth in the 400m and anchored the 4x400m team to bronze. The team of Bruce Frayne, Gary Minihan, Alan Ozolins and Clark clocked a swift 3:01.35. Waiting for the baton on the third change, Darren Clark and Russia Vladimir Krylov traded shoves in a controversial race. Also impressive were Gerrard Keating who ran 10.22 in the 100m, an Australian record which would stand for over six years. Competing on her home track, long jumper, Robyn Strong leapt 6.80m for fourth place.

There were many familiar names involved in the successful organisation of the meet.

Chairman of the organising committee was Graeme Briggs, with John Treloar as his deputy. Other members included: Clive Lee, Kevin Gosper and Marlene Matthews.

Board of Management included John Marshall (Chairman) and Denis Wilson as deputy.

Headquarters staff included: John Marshall (General Manager), Len Johnson (Publicity and Promotions Officer) and Brian Roe (Project Coordinator).

Officials and committee members included:

  • Peter Hamilton – Competition Manager

  • Ian Boswell – Photo finish chief judge

  • Ian White – track judge

  • Geoff Martin – Chief Starter

  • Brenda Pearl – starter

  • Maree Tillett – jumps judge (her daughter Lyn won the long jump in 1977)

  • Lorraine Morgan – javelin judge

  • Ted Simmons – announcer

  • Brian Roe – Control Room manager

  • Paul Jenes – Statistician

  • Vern Hough – throws judge

  • Denis Goodwin – warmup track official

  • Matt Favier - warmup track official

  • Michael Thomson – publicity and promotions committee

  • Denis Wilson – Chairman Technical

David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia

 
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