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[racewalk] Tony Ward column in AW

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  • Tim Watt
    I sent this message today to AW, Tim Dear Nigel It s encouraging to see your leading column attempt to address some of the problems faced by UK Race Walking.
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 1, 1999
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      I sent this message today to AW, Tim

      Dear Nigel

      It's encouraging to see your leading column attempt to address some of the
      problems faced by UK Race Walking. Though Tony Ward might do better to
      check his facts next time, he raises some valid points and positive
      suggestions. However, I think we should also be looking more broadly for
      new champions.

      The lowly position of the UK Team at the recent World Cup was no suprise
      considering our part-time athletes were competing against some of the
      fittest and most supported athletes on the planet. While athletes in the
      glamour events in this country have incentives of sponsorship, prize and
      appearance money, the most demananding of athletic events offers our best
      personal satisfaction and the glory of representing Great Britain.

      The answer lies partly, as Tony Ward says, for walking to be more closely
      integrated with the rest of track and field and hopefully UK Athletics will
      keep this in mind. However, more athletes need to try the event to see
      where their talents can be best rewarded in terms of representational
      honours. Athletes are athletes and, as Chris Cheesamn has shown,
      opportunities are available to runners willing to try a really tough event.
      The question is, are there athletes out there with the guts to try!

      Tim Watt



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    • Andidrake@aol.com
      Dear newsgroup, Tony Ward s facts were spot on. I should know because I gave them to him. UK athletes can access funding to allow them to train full time from
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 2, 1999
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        Dear newsgroup,

        Tony Ward's facts were spot on. I should know because I gave them to him.

        UK athletes can access funding to allow them to train full time from the
        National Lottery World Class Performance Plan. Athletes must meet set
        criteria to attain this funding. Currently this STARTS at the following
        levels:
        1.24.16 20km (m), 4.07.05 50km, 43.10 10km jr, 45.48 10km (w), 23.10 5km jr
        (w); 20km standards for women will be in place in the near future when global
        rankings have settled down. This is "C" catagory funding - "A" and "B"
        funding is attained if higher standards are met. This funding includes
        support towards lifestyle costs, equipment costs, personal training costs,
        overseas training costs, personal coach overseas costs, medical insurance,
        physiotherapy costs, physiological testing costs and overseas competition
        costs.

        Currently few UK athletes meet the above criteria but many UK athletes and,
        sadly, their coaches believe that being given a pot of money will turn them
        into world beaters. As a coach it would be unforgiveable of me to encourage
        an athlete to give up their job/studies to train in the vain hope of making,
        e.g. an Olympic team if they were nowhere near the above standards. At a UK
        Squad Training Weekend earlier this year Ian McCombie (our only truly world
        class male walker in the last 10years) was introduced to the athletes and
        told them how he attained top 10 in the World Champs (1987) and 11th (1988)
        in the Olympics while working full time. If lottery funding had been
        available ten years ago, Ian would have been able to give up his job for a
        while and push for a medal in 1991 and 1992. Any athlete who cannot get down
        to Ian's level (82 min 20km) but gives up their job is a mug. Any athlete
        who can get down to Ian's level or 3.50 for 50km/1.33 for 20km (w) should go
        fulltime, safe in the knowledge that they will be fully supported in their
        endeavours.

        My job as event coach is to help athletes to try to attain such goals - if
        you want help e-mail or phone me (01203 679000). Just get your facts right
        first!

        Cheers,

        Andi Drake
        Performance Athlete Services
        UK Athletics

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      • Tim Watt
        I just love stirring-up a bit of interest - I think this list is working already! Andi replied to me privately and he kindly forwarded his reply for us all to
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 2, 1999
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          I just love stirring-up a bit of interest - I think this list is working
          already!

          Andi replied to me privately and he kindly forwarded his reply for us all
          to see, so I'll do the same. Keep it coming and spread the word about this
          list.

          Tim

          >
          >
          >Dear Andi
          >
          >
          >Thanks for joining my newsgroup. If you want to reply to it e-mail:
          >racewalk@egroups.com
          >
          >It seems to have paid off already as your message was instructive to me -
          >perhaps you could send it to the rest of the list?
          >
          >I also like the fact that I seem to have provoked a flame war which was
          >the point of my e-mail!
          >
          >With another look at my previous message you will see that I acknowledge
          >that our present walkers aren't currently good enough to qualify for the
          >same support as the best receive in some other events. I didn't enter into
          >any discussion of central funding just pointed-out that the same
          >incentives as for our top runners for sponsorship, appearance and prize
          >money aren't available. I'm not complaining about this as that is just a
          >reflection on the popularity and interest in the event - just compare the
          >number of people and money in the London Marathon say with any 50km race
          >in the UK. That's the reality - we need to be more popular and successful.
          >
          >I thought I was being supportive of your efforts too. Well done for
          >suppplying Tony Ward with information and getting him interested enough to
          >publish. (BTW - I've worked in publishing so I can spot lazy journalism -
          >ie a glaring error in the first sentence! Otherwise mostly excellent).
          >Keep up the good work!
          >
          >An interesting discussion point you raise about giving-up jobs for
          >athletics success. I guess the reality, unless an athlete has their own
          >private fortune, is that in the UK this is not possible. However, if it
          >was possible for an individual and they wanted to be successful enough, I
          >think this should be more of a matter for individual choice.
          >
          >Please send your message again to the whole list (all 4 of us!) I'm sure
          >we'll all be interested to get discussion like this in the open.
          >
          >Spread the word.
          >
          >Best wishes, Tim
          >



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