Page 1

Sportswatch Spring 2016

What’s Inside From the QSport Office Page 3

84 Olympic Gold Medallist reflects on RIO 16 Page 5

Thinking of volunteering for the Commonwealth Games Page 6

Challenges ahead for state level sport Page 7

Rio Ramblings by Karl deKroo Page 10

Sport Awards Date Claimer Page 14

Australian Sports Foundation Snapshot Page 15

Australia’s Chris Bond pushes down the court as USA’s Josh Brewer reaches for the ball during an epic gold medal match to finish the Rio 2016 wheelchair rugby tournament. Photo credit: CWSA/Kevin Bogetti-Smith. ©

Our man Bond stars in Rio Sport and recreation organisation staff in Brisbane’s Sports House at Milton were as proud as punch on the closing day of the Rio Paralympics when co-worker Chris Bond OAM won gold in the final of the wheelchair rugby tournament. His team, Australia’s Steelers, went back to back after lifting gold in London 2012 to defeat the USA in double overtime 59-58 in front of a packed Rio stadium. Bond, who works out of the QSport Office on average three days a week for the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF), was pivotal in the win, scoring with less than two seconds left to send the match into double overtime and later safely inbounding the ball to team-mate Ryley Batt to run down the remaining seconds for a famous and well-earned victory. Well done, Chris. You’re a champion. More on Rio 2016 and the ASF inside. Sportswatch is a quarterly publication of QSport which is an independent collective of State sporting organisations established to enhance the development of sport in Queensland. Sportswatch aims to inform readers and views expressed in Sportswatch are not necessarily those of QSport. No responsibility is accepted by QSport for consequences emanating from actions or failures to act on material within this publication. For contributions, advertisements and enquiries, contact the QSport Office at Sports House, Cnr Castlemaine and Caxton Streets MILTON Q 4064 Telephone 07 3369 8955 Facsimile 07 3369 8977 Email admin@qsport.org.au


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Sportswatch - Spring 2016


From the

By the time this edition of Sportswatch is up and out, we’ll be well past Rio 2016 and the major football code competition Grand Finals, with spring well and truly sprung. In this edition, we look back on Rio 2016 through the eyes of two well credentialed onlookers in 1984 Olympic gold medal winner in athletics Glynis Nunn OAM, who like most of us watched these Olympics via Channel 7’s coverage and News Queensland’s Head of Sport Karl deKroo who was in Rio before and during the Games. There are differences between the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics and sad to say, it includes negativity that was directed towards our Olympians when the team didn’t finish top five that comes to mind. It is disappointing and does us no great credit. While there are undoubtedly some errors in judgement here and there that with the benefit of hindsight, could have been eliminated, does anyone seriously believe that our athletes weren’t trying to do their best? Isn’t that all that we should ask of and want for these mostly young people who put so much of themselves into it for their and our enjoyment. And if you’re beaten on the day, it’s just that. They accept it for what it is and if the chance can exist again, they try again. People in high and not so high places reminding us how much the Australian taxpayer contributed is handy, as if it was wasted because we didn’t end up higher up an Olympics medals ladder, as if taxpayers aren’t contributing to non-Olympic sports. Sport is about competing and when I look at the sportspeople who actually compete, I’m forever reminded that they’re having a go, participating, winning and losing and they and we are all the better for it. Sportswatch - Spring 2016

What happens next in the Olympics landscape will be interesting, as the focus moves from athletes competing in Rio to the backrooms of sport politics. The Australian Olympic Committee and indeed the IOC will conduct their own reviews of Rio ’16 while the Australian Sports Commission has already moved to reaffirm its Winning Edge program and foreshadow more governance reform for at least Olympic national sporting organisations. The Australian State Government sport agency dominated Committee of Australian Sport and Recreation Officials will continue to look at developing a better understanding of major issues affecting the sport and recreation sectors that have a close intersection with government. And post the Xmas / New Year break, it will be interesting to see if the Federal Minister for Sport sees the need for the traditional from time to time inquiry into the future of Australian sport, a la Crawford, Oakley et al over the past 20 years since Atlanta. Probably not, one would hope, given the track record of what happens to the outcomes of such time consuming, expensive exercises. Locally here in Queensland and particularly in the south east, the notion of an Olympics / Paralympics in this part of the world in 2028 or 2032 is gathering pace and it’s that question that increasingly will consume locals as a feasibility study rolls on. Finally, reflecting on non-Olympic sport on the weekend of the AFL and NRL premiership deciders, was there a greater contrast in Australian sport this year than the respective ladder positions of AFL wooden spooner Essendon and the NRL Grand Finalist Cronulla?

Peter Cummiskey CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER 3


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84 Olympic Gold Medallist reflects on Rio 16 Glynis Nunn- Cearns OAM who entertained QSport members and guests at the 4 July annual QSport Luncheon opens up on how the Gold Coast Academy of Sport Executive Director saw Rio 2016. THE OLYMPIC GAMES - RIO – exciting, eventful, defining, memorable, disappointments, difficulties, stunning, frightening and WOW. These are some words I have used to describe the greatest athletic show on earth. At a time where sport is battling for its very identity it is wonderful to have our lives filled with extraordinary performances. From the gladiatorial heights of Bolt and Phelps, to the lesser known athletes from smaller countries who attend for the experience, the Games hold pressures and expectations and a lifetime of memories. From my position in my chair watching the Games at the Gold Coast, in Australia, Brazil seems to be a country of contrast – from over the top opulence to inequality and poverty. What a backdrop - with Christ the Redeemer looking over everything from the sporting arenas to the poverty-stricken favelas. As with all Olympics there were always problems to overcome - issues such as doping concerns, country participation, security, accommodation, venues readiness, falling cameras, water quality (pools turning green) and the weather. Some were able to be controlled, others not. Before the Games started we had the issue of whether Russia would be there. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to leave it to each of the International Sport Federations ruling bodies to take the major and difficult decision regarding excluding cheats within their respective disciplines. It was the collective sanction originally put forward that affected many innocent athletes in many sports. In future, it would be great for these Sportswatch - Spring 2016

decisions to be made well before the upcoming major international event as the frustration of many who had worked so hard for so many years would be overwhelming. It is necessary to appeal to the intelligence of the collective sport leadership so they can analyse, consciously the facts and motivations which led to the IOC decision. For months and months prior to the Games, the fire smouldered with numerous warnings to the authorities of the International Federations. With these collective problems, I continue to question why countries who are struggling to feed and house their increasing population get the nod of approval to hold such expensive multi-sport celebrations. The Olympic movement seems to be ‘operate’ in a bubble away from the day to day existence of real life. But outside the bubble of the Olympics - there were empty seats at venues, an issue, especially in sports like beach volleyball which is so popular in Brazil. Again from watching on TV, the Brazilians have been vibrant, vocal and, in some cases, slightly hostile to opposition athletes. We haven’t seen many of the daily problematic issues, we have been shown the beautiful scenery on Guanabara Bay and the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and many stories show the personality of the country, not the day to day struggles of transport, security and food queues and the issue as Jess Fox stated, of remembering not to flush toilet paper. When competition started it was exactly what Rio needed. Athletic performances provided a break from the doom, gloom and controversy. It provided us a reminder of why we watch sport. What the Games needed was a few gold medals to be won and some outstanding performance to forget about all the problems. Some outstanding performances have come 5


from Brazilians. None quite so exciting as the young pole vaulter Thiago Braz da Silva who beat the renowned Frenchman. Of course you can’t go past Brazil’s national sport - SOCCER - yes, a GOLD. Gold to the men’s beach volleyball team, gold went to female judo athlete Rafaela Silver, boxer Robson Conceicao and the female sailors. Silver to two male gymnasts, male shooter, two to the male canoe sprinters, with a bronze to another male gymnast and canoe sprinter and female marathon swimmer and female Taekwondo athlete. Great for the home crowd to cheer on and a result of having a home games. Having said this, there has been a legacy - the subway line extension westwards to Barra seemed to have worked well. New roads, new venues and many jobs have resulted. Whether this is seen as a legacy in the years to come we will have to see. If we look at other countries who have held major sporting competitions such as foortball where now, the venues lay idle and overgrown. Unfortunately, the Olympics seems to have been an event primarily restricted to the elite of Brazil, arguably at the expense of spending on services vital for everyone else.

That is Rio. Some great performances, some absolutely amazing performances and some disappointing feats. It remains an unenviable job for the coach and athlete - to time the ultimate peaking on the day that counts. For me, the outstanding performances from ALL sports (that I saw on my TV) were Wadye van Niekerk (400m WR) and Katie Ledecky (800m freestyle WR). I can’t go any further without mention of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. Both absolute legends in their respective sports but I must admit, they were expected to win. For all of the struggles and media reports, congratulations Rio for putting on a terrific Games. Bring on 2018 and the Commonwealth Games. GLYNIS NUNN-CEARNS OAM Executive Director

Thinking of volunteering for the Commonwealth Games With the Rio Games now over, the Gold Coast can look forward to the Commonwealth Games in April 2018. It will be such an exciting time on the coast with thousands of visitors and the best athletes in the Commonwealth celebrating sport and performance. If you would like to be involved, keep an eye out for the ‘volunteer portal’ to open on the Commonwealth Games website. The public applications open in February with a messaging campaign commencing in December. Start thinking what type of volunteer you would like to be, where you would like to be based and what 6

you need to get ready to put in an application. A number of sports will put a specific call out to youngsters to be involved, so please ask your sports how they might be involved. One important criteria that everyone needs to keep in mind is that the minimum age for volunteers is 16 years of age. Volunteers must be available to be involved in test events prior to the Games to ensure that all procedures are in place and work correctly. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE VOLUNTEER PORTAL AN OPPORTUNITY NOT TO MISS. Sportswatch - Spring 2016


Challenges ahead for State level sport

Copy of article appearing in The Australian newspaper on 2 September, 2016 Queensland State sporting organisations and their interstate counterparts face continuing attempts by Federal sport agency officials and inevitably national sporting organisation personnel to adopt more unitary / unified governance structures, if recent press coverage along the lines of the article above turns out to be the case. And while the article shown above makes reference to the push applying to Olympic sports, past Australian Sports Commission behaviour indicates that the push may well embrace Sportswatch - Spring 2016

other sports, particularly others involved in Commonwealth Games. The media speculation forms part of the conversation in the Australian sporting system in the wake of the Rio Summer Olympics that has drawn criticism from the Australian Olympic Committee’s John Coates over the Winning Edge program underpinning Federal funding to national sporting organisations, with a national lottery for elite sport another concept being pushed to boost Federal funding. 7


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Rio Ramblings By Karl deKroo

Games Managing Editor for News Corp Australia

THE first Olympic Games in South America. An Olympics in a city challenged by political upheaval, financial uncertainty and social unrest. An Olympics beset by issues of unfinished infrastructure, security concerns, traffic chaos, poor water quality and the threat of Zika virus. One thing we knew, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad were never going to be dull. And so it proved. Each day in Rio there was a new drama. Suspicious packages were detonated, stray bullets flew through media tents or into buses, suspended cameras fell from the sky. And yet amid the chaos there was a certain rhythm to these Games that was impossible to ignore and made them difficult not to like.

Were they perfect? Not by a long way. Did they lack the finish and polish of Sydney, Beijing or London? Most certainly. But in the end the majority of us left Rio enlivened and enriched. On the field of play the stars were obvious. From Michael Phelps in the pool to Usain Bolt on the track there were benchmarks set, which are unlikely to be ever bettered. Phelps was phenomenal. Having announced his retirement from competitive swimming after London, the American superfish returned at 31, seemingly better than ever, and virtually unbeatable. He claimed individual golds in the 200m butterfly and 200m medley, an event he has now won four times in a row. Phelps also landed relay gold in the 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley, as well as silver in the 100m butterfly.

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Sportswatch - Spring 2016


He then retired again, finishing with a record 23 Olympic golds to his name and an astonishing 28 medals overall. While the efforts of the Phelps were amazing, he was not the only American swimmer to tower above the Rio pool deck. In her second Games Katie Ledecky, 19, proved a star in her own right, matching the feats of compatriot gymnast Simone Biles, winning five medals, four of them gold. Ledecky landed the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle treble and posted world record marks in the 400m and 800m.

controversy of intersex athletes such as Caster Semenya. While there was many other international stars, perhaps the moment of the Games (at least from this humble journo’s perspective), was Brazil’s mesmerising performance to claim a maiden Olympic football title. In a script almost too good to be true, Brazil met Germany ¬in the play-off for gold - the nation which humiliated them 7-1 in the semi-final of their home World Cup in 2014.

There can be no dispute that Bolt is the king of the Olympic track and the best sprinter we have ever seen. He underlined that status by making another clean sweep of the sprints at Rio, matching his feats at Beijing and London.

In front of a packed stadium at the Maracanã, the Brazilians scored a brilliant victory, one inspired by superstar Neymar, who netted a jawdropping free-kick and then converted the final penalty in a tense shootout that sent a nation into rapture.

Now 30, Bolt insists he will be retired and sitting on a beach in Jamaica by the time Tokyo rolls around. If so, he will leave a massive hole in a sport beset by ongoing doping drama and the

As for Australia’s campaign, well in a word it felt disappointing. Under the leadership of new chef de mission Kitty Chiller the build-up had been full of promise and optimism.

Sportswatch - Spring 2016

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It felt like so much had been learned from the failures of London and there was a belief, that led by our flagship swim team, the key barometer of our Olympic fortunes, that a top five finish was well within grasp. There were still great moments. The surprise successes of shooter Catherine Skinner in the women’s trap and a beaming Chloe Esposito in modern pentathlon and the brilliance of the women’s rugby sevens team and rower Kim Brennan will be forever etched into our rich Olympic history. Another successful haul for our sailors was highlighted by gold to Tom Burton in the men’s laser, but other traditional strongholds proved not as rewarding. Despite the stunning success of Mack Horton and the women’s 4x100m relay team on the opening night, and the less expected heroics of The Big Tuna from Port Lincoln, Kyle Chalmers in the 100m freestyle, the campaign in the Rio pool left us feeling flat. The much adored Campbell sisters left without an individual medal, as did the flying professor

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Cameron McEvoy and the similarly fancied Emily Seebohm. The success Australia enjoyed at the world titles in Kazan was quickly put in perspective as the allpowerful Americans dominated the meet. While it was the Phelps, Ledecky and Co. who lowered our colours at the pool, at the velodrome it was Great Britain that destroyed Aussie hopes and dreams. Just as they were in London, Great Britain’s track cyclists were ruthless. Jason Kenny led the charge with three golds, taking his tally of Olympic titles to six. His partner Laura Trott was not far behind him - victorious in the omnium and team pursuit. Perhaps the most crushing blow came in the team pursuit where Australia shattered the previous world record in the final, but still had to settle for second behind the Brits, who inspired by five-time Olympian Sir Bradley Wiggins stormed home for gold. Hopes were never as high at the athletics track, particularly with injury denying Sally Pearson the chance to defend her London title, but again

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there was a sense of disappointment and even frustration at our performance, or lack thereof. There were positives with walkers Dane Bird-Smith delivering bronze in the 20km event and Jared Tallent silver in the 50km, as well as the arrival of Ella Nelson, who narrowly missed the 200m final and the continued improvements of Genevieve LaCaze and others - but not enough to really shift the dial. Similar disappointment came in hockey, women’s basketball and water polo. And while the Boomers captured the heart of a nation as they stormed through the preliminary rounds, even giving the much-hyped Dream Team a scare, their campaign ultimately ended in disappointment following the semi-final loss to Serbia and a heart-breaking defeat to Spain in the bronze medal match. Inevitably that sense of disappointment led quickly to debate over funding models.As the lottery powered Brits did the previously unthinkable and edged past China to claim second overall, Australia had to settle for 10th and the recriminations and finger pointing began well before the closing ceremony.

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