By Steve Larkin
CANBERRA, Jan 26 - Matt Shirvington thought he’d never be a winner again.
The one-time golden boy of Australian athletics had lost his lustre, convincing many he was yesterday’s man.
But the 27-year-old today returned to the winner’s circle with a stunning 100m victory at the Telstra A-Series meet in Canberra.
Shirvington won in 10.28 seconds - his fastest time since 2003 when he contracted glandular fever.
It's a long time and that was exactly when I got glandular - I expected to get rid of it in six weeks and took me two and a half years,'' he said. I have had such a terrible last three years … but it’s nice to be winning again.’’
Shirvington said his bleak 2005, when he contested the world championships in Helsinki decidedly out of shape, would represent a turning point in his sprinting career.
Helsinki was probably the indicator for me to start training properly,'' he said. I had to get through 2005 unscathed in terms of illness - it (Helsinki) was the trigger, it was embarrassing a little bit, to go and be in such bad shape, but I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t done that.
Pretty much the day I got off the plane from Helsinki I started again and basically went from training a couple of days a week to training fulltime again, nine sessions a week. It’s more the ability to be able to commit with my health - I didn’t know if that was possible at the end of 2004 so that is why I let it go but I knew I could put the pedal down a bit and push it.’’
Shirvington, who edged out Ambrose Ezenwa and Patrick Johnson today, said his triumph would heighten expectations for next week’s Commonwealth Games selection trials in Sydney.
But he said he would welcome the attention after years in which he almost fell off the Australian athletics radar.
I think it's great that I don't have to talk about it (myself) every week, and I think it's great for the public that I don't need to talk about it,'' he said. It is going to put a little bit of extra pressure on me this week but I think I am ready to fight.’’
By Steve Larkin