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Australia's walking and field athlete performance since 2000

By Chris Lewis - posted Friday, 18 July 2014


Following on from a previous focus on the decline of Australian running since 2000, this article discusses the recent performance of Australia's walkers and field event athletes.

Like running, Australia has produced a number of global medalists since the silver medals won by Jai Taurima (long jump) and Tatiana Grigorieva (pole vault) at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Global champions have been Dmitri Markov pole vault 2001; Nathan Deakes 50km walk 2007; Steven Hooker pole vault 2008; and Dani Samuels (AUS) discus 2009.

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Minor global medals have been won by Bronwyn Eagles hemmer; Nathan Deakes 20km walk 2004, Jane Saville 20km walk 2004, Mitchell Watt long jump 2009, 2011, and 2012; Jared Tallent 20km walk 2008, 50km walk 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2013; and Kimberley Mickle javelin 2013.

More importantly, in terms of top 50 and 100 world performers since 2000, the decline in walking and field events appears less dramatic than evident by running.

As table 1 indicates, while the number of Australian reaching the top 50 list reached a low of 18 in 2013, having reached 33 in 2006, Australia had achieved a similar number around 23 or less in seven of the 12 years since 2002.

Of events where Australia had more than one individual amongst the top 50 world performers, this occurred in five events in both 2002 and 2013, although the figure reached 9 in 2010.

Table 1: Number of Australians amongst top 50 world individuals for walking and field events 2000-2013

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Table 2, which examines the top 100 world performer lists, indicates figures of 48 in 2000 and 28 for 2013, although again the 2011 and 2012 total figures are similar to that of 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009.

Of events where Australia had four or more top 100 list athletes, there were 5 in 2000 yet zero in 2013, albeit no data was observed for four 2000 events. The best result was 9 in 2006.

Table 2: Number of Australians amongst top 100 world individuals for walking and field events 2000-2013

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About the Author

Chris Lewis has an interest in all economic, social and environmental issues, but believes that the struggle for the ‘right’ policy mix remains an elusive goal in such a complex and competitive world.

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