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Australia to contest inaugural World Youth Championships

David Tarbotton

Australia will send a very strong team of 23 athletes to the inaugural IAAF World Youth Championships to be held in Bydgoszcz Poland in July. Australia is one of only a few countries to have contested every Olympic Games, World Championships and World Juniors. Already over 130 countries have confirmed their participation for this championship.

The inauguration of the World Youth Championships follows the IAAF's introduction of World Championships (in 1983) and World Juniors (in 1986). Australia won gold at each of these inaugural championships (De Castella marathon and Miles Murphy 400 metres) and at the World Youth Championships will have many potential champions.

Four athletes in particular will head the team. Georgie Clarke, Eloise Poppett, Jana Pittman and Shermin Oksuz are all capable of representing Australia at the 2000 Olympics. Georgie Clarke, from Melbourne, broke the Australian under-18 & 16 800 metre records on four occasions last summer. She capped the season off with a fourth place in the senior 800 metres championship. Perth long jumper, Shermin Oksuz improved her long jump by one metre last season, closing her summer campaign with a best of 6.32 metres. Sydney middle-distance runner Eloise Poppett, was a finalist in the 3000 metres at the 1998 World Junior Championships and continued to improve last summer. Hurdler, Jana Pittman developed very well last season in her debut year over the 400 hurdles. Pittman lives just 15 kilometres from the Sydney Olympic stadium. The Australian athletes have enjoyed the inspiration, excitement and opportunities of living in a country as it prepares for the Olympics.

The Australian management team includes 1984 Olympic heptathlon gold medallist, Glynis Nunn-Cearns; one of only two Australian athletes to win an Olympic title in track & field in the last 30 years. Glynis, who will assist with management and coaching of the team, joins 1998 World Junior management: Trish Kinnane (Team manager), Graham Boase (Head Coach) and Tony Ward (Physiotherapist). 

Australian Team for Bydgoszcz

100m Matthew Bouveng N
200m Matthew Bouveng
1500m Mark Fountain V
110mH Sean Avery V, Ryan Purcell W
400mH Sean Avery
HJ Keith Elliott N, Phillip Nelson W
TJ Ben Castle W
Shot Scott Martin V
Discus Tim Dreissen V
Hammer Tim Dreissen, Michael Gusbeth V
Javelin Andrew Hall W

100m Crystal Attenborough NT
200m Crystal Attenborough
400m Jana Pittman N, Rebecca Irwin N
800m Georgie Clarke V
3000m Catherine Lamb N, Eloise Poppett
5000mW Michelle French N
100mH Georgie Power V
400mH Jana Pittman, Rachel Delphin T
PV Jenni Lovell S
LJ Shermin Oksuz W
Discus Deborah Lovely Q

Team facts and figures:
Trish Kinnane - (Team Manager) her daughter (Kerri) contested the 1988 World Juniors.
Graham Boase - (Head Coach) competed at the '64 Olympics and '62 Commonwealth Games
Chrystal Attenborough - is the only representative from the Northern Territory
Georgie Clarke - was the youngest competitor at the 1998 World Juniors
Jana Pittman - collects Wombat cards (Australian marsupial)
Sean Avery - plays in rock & roll musicals
Tim Driesen - coached by five-time Australian hammer champion
Jana Pittman & Eloise Poppett - born on the same day
Rachel Delphin - born two days before Deek won the marathon at the inaugural World Champs
Catherine Lamb - after just 15 months in the sport, Catherine is on her third team to Europe
Jenny Lovell - Jenny & her twin brothers are strong contenders for the 2000 World Juniors
Deb Lovely - contested 18 Australian titles last season
Rebecca Irwin - contests national beach sprint competitions
Scott Martin - plays the bass guitar

All information compiled by David Tarbotton - Athletics Australia Junior Statistician - with the assistance of: Paul Jenes, Peter Hamilton, Mirko Jalava and Athletics Australia.

For more detailed information about the Australian team please consult the Athletes section.