http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2012/02/04/keating-on-vietnam-fast-track/Keating on Vietnam fast track
By Glen Mccullough
4th February 2012 GERRARD Keating is certain he has something to offer Vietnam athletics.
Toowoomba athletics coach Gerrard Keating will leave his position with The Glennie School to take up a national role in Vietnam.
GERRARD Keating is certain he has something to offer Vietnam athletics.
He is equally as sure his next 12 months spent there will give him plenty to bring home in return.
Keating next week makes what could be seen as a radical career move when he leaves his post as The Glennie School athletics director and successful Toowoomba-based coach to become Vietnam's head sprint coach.
"A lot of people raised their eyebrows when they first heard about me accepting the position," Keating said this week.
"Why Vietnam? seems to have been the general reaction.
"But I've done my research and the further I went, the more convinced I was that this is a great opportunity at a good time for me."
Keating said the standard of Vietnam's athletes was keeping pace with South-East Asia's increasing push for a higher profile on the world sport stage.
The former Australian 100m champion hopes to now play a role in that development which he believes can be part of a two-way street.
"Their athletes actually compare quite well with ours. Standard-wise, there is not that much difference," Keating said.
"They have a good female high jumper and talented female 800-metre runner who would be rated number one in Australia.
"They also have a sprinter with times of 11.38 seconds (100m) and 23.20 (200m), so she's obviously quite good.
"While the Olympics and Commonwealth Games are Australia's major targets, the Asian and South-East Asia Championships are very big over there.
"Vietnam also has an indoor track, which is something we don't have.
"I understand the athletes themselves are very respectful with a strong work ethic and I'm told are a joy to coach.
"I want to take what I've learned here and help take them forward.
"I'm only going for 12 months but I'm hoping to see some results during that time. I'm confident I can have an impact.
"But I want to be able to bring a lot back home with me as well.
"To be able to work with a fully-fledged national program is a step up and hopefully it will give me that opportunity."
Keating said ending his successful association with Glennie was a difficult decision.
"I love it here in Toowoomba and there's a lot more I want to do," Keating said.
"I want to continue working, not only with athletes, but other sports as well.
"The Toowoomba area has a great reputation for developing successful sport people.
"But I think that can definitely be improved on with the development of some sort of academy which can help guide our athletes to the next level."
Keating will be joined later this year in Vietnam by his family.
"This is a great opportunity for my family - especially our daughter Bronte," Keating said.
"She'll have the chance to be part of swimming program in Vietnam under a Hungarian national coach."