Aussies dump PatJohnson

Jessica Halloran
May 2, 2007

Non-starter … sprinter Patrick Johnson.
Photo: Getty Images

AdvertisementAUSTRALIA’S only sub-10 second sprinter, Patrick Johnson, has been left out of the world championship relay squad because he would not commit to Athletics Australia’s training program.

As a result, Johnson will not run in the 4 x 100 metres relay at World Athletics Tour meeting in Osaka this Saturday, a selection trial for the world athletics championships, leaving team members Josh Ross and Adam Miller disappointed by his omission.

Athletics Australia’s chief selector, Peter Fitzgerald, said Australia’s fastest man “clearly” did not satisfy the 4 x 100m selection criteria.

“One of the eligibility requirements was to sign a commitment to the relay program, and that you make that commitment,” Fitzgerald said. "The relay coaches came to us with rankings and, at the end of the day, their view was for a number of reasons [that] Patrick Johnson didn’t rate in the top six to eight nominations. We took their advice.

“Patrick was the only one who was an omission that we would’ve picked off the list because of how fast he is. We questioned them [the relay coaches] intensely about how the sprinters were ranked, and the end of the day, we were satisfied.”

Potential relay team members were ranked on a number of criteria, including: commitment to the program, raw speed, their ability to pass and receive the baton, and ability to work within the group.

However, Johnson’s manager, Clive Stephens, said the sprinter was committed and available to represent Australia whenever he was needed. “If the selection committee wish to include him closer to the world championships and the relays, then Patrick Johnson is always available,” Stephens said. “From Patrick’s perspective, he is always committed.”

Fitzgerald said there had been some tension surrounding Johnson’s level of commitment.

“The feedback I have got is there is a disagreement between Patrick, his coach and the relay coaches to exactly what his position is,” Fitzgerald said. “But they [the relay coaches] have rated him on all of those matters - his ability to work with the group, his commitment to the program and ability to do so - but it’s not a secret, clearly, that he doesn’t rate very high on those points as far as they are concerned.”

Fitzgerald also added that AA could use its discretion to add athletes to a relay team at any point closer to the world championships.

Relay team members Miller and Ross are disappointed that Johnson will not be running with them at the world championship relay trials this weekend in Osaka. Other members of the squad are Aaron Rouge Serret, Steven Tucker, Tim Williams.

Miller said not having Australia’s fastest man in the team was a huge blow. “It’s a hard situation,” he said. “Patrick is a very, very talented runner, and he’d be a great asset to any team. He’s still the fastest Australian ever, with 9.93 seconds. He’s an amazing athlete.”

been a long time coming but one has to wonder if this is also aimed at PJ’s coach Tudor Bidder whom has been critical of the relay program in recent times.

Talking of politics, here is a Question;

if one runs fast enough qualifying time, but due to political reasons such as above, one is excluded from the team, and, saying one has easily enough $$ to make the flight over to words champs or where ever, could it be possible to still go if you pay your own way? or is it solely up the AA or your national governing body?
ie, what if you just don’t get on with the selectors for whatever reason but clearly are fast enough to be competing, what are ones options?

p.s. not saying i am, but say Patric gets told to piss off the individual events as well say? could they do that? Even though he has fast times, they could simply say he is a choker and too old and others are better suited to run.

i am sure the selectors decision is final although KK may have memory of some of the great appeals over non selections over the years…

I’m sure the issues between Tudor and AA, the only reason PJ may of been affected by this is Tudor wanted him to take a different path than AA wanted him to.

Sad really.

By any genuine measure of performance, given the athletes and resources at his disposal, Tudor Bidder has not exactly set the world on fire in the last 12 months.

If I was in AA’s hierarchy I’d be asking questions too. There has to be some level of accountability to why the country’s number two sprinter can’t commit to the relay program and the 400m blokes in particular are either constantly injured or did not perform to the levels they had previously attained.

But doesn’t Tudor coach Miller as well?..
So is the issue Patrick in particular or an Issue about who runs where with Hallam and co.

I’m not sure who coaches (or takes the credit for) Adam Miller, but I believe Matt Beckenham has a lot to do with looking after him.

Beckenham may well be coaching him, but maybe Nanny or KitKat1 can confirm this.

from what i hear Matt B is looking after Miller…

been some strange going ons down the the capital this season,like 2 days prior to A series meet this year they decided to do a radar test for speed as they had a huge tail wind behind them, result was 2 non starters from hamstring injuries…

why test when 2 days later you are racing :confused:

Jacko - thats an interesting point you bring up

I also hear that of the 4 girls trying to qualify the 4x1 team on Saturday only three can actually run at the moment…