COACHES ARE SHITTY ABOUT THEIR OWN NATIONAL FEDERATION IN AUSTRALIA
Athletics coaches blast tickets fiasco
By PAUL MALONE
PREMIERSHIP football coaches like Tim Sheens and Leigh Matthews have never had to buy a ticket to their team’s grand final, so some of Australia’s Commonwealth Games athletics coaches are wondering why they need to.
Coaches not among Athletics Australia’s 13-member coaching team have had to buy tickets for some events in which their charges are trying to win medals for an Australian Games team funded by $30 million of Federal Government money.
Brisbane coach Gary Bourne said gold medal favourite Bronwyn Thompson had offered to buy him a ticket for the long jump qualifying competition tomorrow.
Bourne bought his own $15 ticket yesterday to enter the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch his teenage high jump prospect Kane Brigg fail to qualify for the final.
Queensland decathlete Jason Dudley said his coach Eric Brown bought more than one ticket to four sessions yesterday and today so he could watch from close quarters and offer advice.
Bourne and Brown both have coaching accreditation to the Games which does not guarantee them entry to the MCG.
Once inside the MCG on a ticket, Brown can sit in one of the seats reserved especially for coaches near the jump runway.
“That’s AA (Athletics Australia) now. It wouldn’t have happened under (former AA head coaches) Keith Connor or Phil King,” Bourne said.
“The right sort of support structure you need around an athlete doesn’t appear to be on their radar at this point.”
While the perception of Australia’s Games campaign can be that athletes have the best of facilities and support because they are at a home Games, the reality can be very different.
Maverick Melbourne coach Nic Bideau hit out on Sunday at the organisation of transport, a matter run by the Melbourne 2006 organising committee, after Kerryn McCann won the women’s marathon.
Bideau said McCann had taken her luggage to a St Kilda apartment via a bus and tram because a courtesy car could not be arranged for her to reach it after picking up accreditation and team gear.
“They are taking people to the Yarra Valley to taste wine and here I couldn’t get a courtesy car for the defending marathon champion,” Bideau said.