Chris Rawlinson makes athletics comeback
November 30, 2008 - 5:49PM
The husband and coach of dual 400m hurdles world champion Jana Rawlinson is making a comeback and wants to compete for Australia at next year’s world championships.
Chris Rawlinson, who won the men’s 400m hurdles representing England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, retired after the 2006 Games in Melbourne to oversee his wife’s career.
The 36-year-old coached Jana Rawlinson to a second world title last year in Osaka.
She is now back in full training after complications from a serious toe injury ruled her out of the Beijing Olympics.
And a recent move to Canberra by the couple and their young son has coincided with Chris Rawlinson also returning to the track.
He is on the verge of gaining Australian citizenship and has the blessing of UK Athletics and Athletics Australia in his bid to wear the green and gold at the worlds in Berlin next year.
The A qualifying standard is 49.25 seconds, a time Rawlinson bettered off a limited training base at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
“The time itself wouldn’t ordinarily be too much of an issue but I haven’t raced for a couple of years and I won’t really find out until I start racing, probably in January,” Rawlinson told AAP on Sunday.
"At this point I’m just going to ride the wave and see what happens.
“It should be a motivator for the other Australian 400 hurdlers, because I’m sure they won’t want to get beaten by a 36-year-old.”
Australia has not had a representative in the men’s 400m hurdles at world or Olympic level since Blair Young was eliminated in the semi-finals at the 2001 world championships in Edmonton.
Rawlinson’s personal best of 48.14 set in 1999 placed him third on the British all-time list. The Australian record of 48.28 was set by Rohan Robinson at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Jana Rawlinson was fully supportive of her husband’s plan.
“He just wants to enjoy it again and he figures that while I’m running, he might as well do it too,” she said.
"It gives him something to focus on other than just me because when I get injured, like I did this year, then the whole family does nothing.
"At least if I get injured and he’s still running, we can still go and enjoy the circuit.
“We like being in Europe and racing, although we also miss home quite a bit.”
The situation is similar to that of former Irish distance running superstar Sonia O’Sullivan, the wife of leading Australian coach Nic Bideau.
Late in her career, O’Sullivan was cleared to represent Australia at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, although she was forced to withdraw on the eve of the 5,000m with a hamstring injury.