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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Despite equalling the national record, Alex Rowe fined for late arrival. Pearson & Harradine also fined.

Despite equalling the national record, Alex Rowe fined for late arrival. Pearson & Harradine also fined.

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Commonwealth Games: Sally Pearson, Benn Harradine and Alex Rowe fined for late arrival

ABC News
21 July 2014

Athletics Australia are sticking by the controversial decision to fine Alex Rowe, despite admitting the rising star did the right thing by taking up a last-minute invitation to race in Monte Carlo.

The trio of Rowe, hurdles champion Sally Pearson and discus thrower Benn Harradine have been docked a third of their preparation fund for not arriving in time for a pre-Commonwealth Games training camp.

The three athletes failed to arrive at camp in Gateshead in northern England before last Thursday's deadline, as they instead chose to compete in warm-up events.

What I want Alex to do is what happened, to be honest. He went out, he ran incredibly well, he's planned things right and an opportunity came up for him that he couldn't probably have imagined six months ago.

Given the chance to take on the likes of Olympic champion David Rudisha at one of the most prestigious meets in the world on Friday night, Rowe responded magnificently by equalling Ralph Doubell's 46-year-old 800m national record.

AA has copped heavy flak for fining Rowe a portion of his travel funding - understood to be about $860 - and can expect plenty more derision in the likely event that Olympic champion Pearson is docked a larger amount.

Rowe and reigning discus champion Harradine were both docked a third of their funding for arriving late at the Gateshead team camp, but Pearson skipped the gathering altogether, deciding she would be better served by competing in London on Sunday.

Pearson went on to finish third in the 100m hurdles at the Anniversary Games in London - her final warm-up event before the Commonwealth Games.

AA high performance director Simon Nathan insisted that Rowe had to be fined for the sake of consistency and fairness to other team members, arguing it was vital that all athletes supported the team camps.

But he also said: "What I want Alex to do is what happened, to be honest.

"He went out, he ran incredibly well, he's planned things right and an opportunity came up for him that he couldn't probably have imagined six months ago.

"His plans were to come through the camp.

"He could have dropped into the camp for 24 hours and dropped back out again.

"That wouldn't have been great, but for him to do that, there's a consequence.

"I'm sure if I'm in Alex's shoes it's a bad look and not something he's going to be comfortable about."

Rowe - a university student who is still without a shoe sponsor - took the decision to have his cash slashed remarkably well.

"It certainly doesn't look great but those are the rules and I knew what they were," he said.

"If they was a discretionary clause in there and they were able to exercise it, perhaps that would have been the case.

"But having said that, you also have to look at the support Athletics Australia have provided me with throughout my whole career."

It certainly doesn't look great but those are the rules and I knew what they were.

Nathan said the controversial process would be reviewed at the completion of the Games.

Other prominent Australians who competed at the Diamond League meet in Monte Carlo, such as javelin thrower Kim Mickle and pole vaulter Alana Boyd, were not affected by the funding cuts as they had previously been in camp in Gateshead.

Having such an embarrassing and distracting affair crop up on the eve of a major championships revived memories of Australia's troubled buildup to the London Olympics.

Two years ago, 400m star John Steffensen claimed he had been racially vilified by AA officials and accused chief executive Dallas O'Brien of lying.

Steffensen had also been angry at being overlooked for a berth in the individual 400m in favour of Steve Solomon.

Steffensen was later suspended for six months for bringing the sport into disrepute after his allegations were found to be unsubstantiated.


Last edited by Admin on Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:42 am; edited 1 time in total



Alex Rowe fined $1300 for missing team camp due to race in which he equalled Australian 800m record

Scott Gullan in Newcastle
News Corp Australia
July 21, 20145:56AM

TRACK veteran John Steffensen has labelled the punishment of national 800m record holder Alex Rowe for missing the Australian team camp as “hopeless”.

In a move which has been widely condemned, Athletics Australia slugged Rowe $860 for racing in Monaco on Friday - where he equalled Ralph Doubell’s 1968 record - instead of attending the team camp in Newcastle.

“I think it’s hopeless,” Steffensen, a member of the 4x400m team, said. “These athletes really work their backsides off to run for their country and their coaches and themselves plan meticulously to make sure they run their best at the Commonwealth Games and they should be supported regardless.

“There are rules which have been put in place in the beginning and they have to be respected but also common sense has to prevail.”

Asked if he thought the fine should be reversed, Steffensen said: “One hundred per cent. I think especially when you run a national record it would be nice to get paid.”

Olympic hurdles champion and team captain Sally Pearson will also be fined, most likely around $1300, for bypassing the camp in favour of running at the Anniversary Games in London.

Reigning Commonwealth discus champion Benn Harradine, who competed in Monaco, also didn’t get to the camp before Friday’s deadline and will be fined.

Rowe got a late call-up to the Monaco Grand Prix after winning in Lucerne three days earlier which meant rather than fly back to attend the camp he went straight to Monte Carlo.

“To come here for a day and then the day after have to travel just wasn’t feasible so I made the decision to go straight to Monaco as the best preparation as possible,” he said.

“I wanted that Australian record and it’s not some little small issue about funding, it’s about running fast times and that’s all I was concerned about

“Going into Monaco I knew what the consequences were heading in, I knew part of the agreement that if I missed the team camp by the 19th that I would forgo some funding.”

Rowe, a 22-year-old Melbourne University student, finished seventh in Monaco - ironically earning him prizemoney of $720 - in 1min44.40sec to equal Doubell’s mark which he set in winning the gold medal at the Mexico Olympics.

He said in the future AA should have a discretionary clause which could handle exceptional circumstances.

“Potentially if there was a discretionary clause in that, maybe I would have liked that to be exercised but there wasn’t so there is no point in worrying about the past because what is done is done,” Rowe said.

AA high performance director Simon Nathan said the decision was based on being fair to rest of the Australian team who had followed protocol despite conceding Rowe had done the right thing by racing in Monaco.

“He did the sensible thing of not coming through (the camp), in a sporting sense that was a sensible thing but there had to be a consequence for that because other people changed their plans in other ways with their circumstances and there has to be some consistency,” he said.

“It’s not something I would have chosen if I had lived my life again but I still think that being consistent is incredibly important and it’s everybody having similar rules along the way is the best way for now but also for the next camp and the next camp.

“I’m sure if I am in Alex’s shoes it is a bad look and it’s not something that he is going to comfortable about but I’m sure if I am in the shoes of a high-quality athlete in the rest of the team who decided to stay here, it is a good look because it is just consistent from their point of view so it feels consistent to me.”

Sally Pearson is also facing a fine for not being at a team camp because she was competing in London.Source: News Corp Australia

Nathan said the camp rules would be reviewed after Glasgow.

“It doesn’t look like it or feel like we are a sensible organisation,” he admitted. “But we will have conversations, we will make sure that none of the preparations of any of those athletes is compromised by what happens here but there is a clear message about the way that we operate.”

Rowe’s coach Justin Rinaldi wrote on Facebook of his dismay at the technical breach that has prompted the punishment.

“We emailed AA asking for permission to run the meet and were informed in the response email that he would lose ⅓ of his funding for breaking the rules!

“I completely understand the need to have rules in place, but also understand that each case needs to be looked at in isolation. Alex running there with the possibility of breaking the longest standing record on the books was an opportunity no one in their right mind would/could pass up.

“It’s not about the money, it’s more about the message being put out there. I would hope that Alex’s performance does more for OUR sport than turning up to a camp on time would ever do.”

The Rowe debacle comes on the back of AA’s funding blunder surrounding new Australian 100m record holder Melissa Breen whose great achievement earlier this year was over-shadowed by the federation’s refusal to back her financially.



Muddled message by AA on Rowe fine

By John Salvado
Sydney Morning Herald
July 21, 2014

There wasn't much of high performance standard in the muddled attempt by Athletics Australia high performance manager Simon Nathan to justify fining Alex Rowe.

The 22-year-old Rowe has been the toast of Australian track and field since equalling Ralph Doubell's national 800m record on Friday night - a mark that had stood untouched since the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Rowe - a biomedicine student who is still searching for a shoe sponsor - was docked $860 for arriving late to the team camp in Gateshead after taking up a last-minute offer to race in Monte Carlo, where he matched Doubell's record.

Defending Commonwealth discus titleholder Benn Harradine was fined a similar amount of his travel funding.

And Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson can expect to be docked a bigger fee after missing the camp altogether, having decided her interrupted preparation was better served by racing in London on Sunday.

Nathan acknowledged that it would have been almost impossible logistically for Rowe to have made it to the team camp and then headed to Monte Carlo, as he had only three days' notice and was in Switzerland at the time.

The AA official also said Rowe did the right thing "in a sporting sense" by taking the opportunity to test his mettle against the likes of world record holder David Rudisha and Botswanan star Nijel Amos.

And then he fined him anyway.

"I know it probably doesn't look like it or feel like it but we're a sensible organisation and we'll have conversations and make sure none of the preparations for any of those athletes is compromised by what happened here," he said.

"But there's a clear message about the way we operate."

Really? What message?

Last edited by Admin on Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:55 am; edited 1 time in total



Funding cut for Rowe

John Salvado
Sydney Morning Herald
Date July 20, 2014

Rising Australian star Alex Rowe has had his funding cut for arriving late at the pre-Commonwealth Games camp, having chosen to race in Monte Carlo where he equalled the longstanding 800m national record.

A similar fate could also befall Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson, who made a late decision to compete in London on Sunday, meaning she skipped the camp in Gateshead altogether.

Rowe's coach Justin Rinaldi revealed on Facebook that the 22-year-old Rowe would have his Athletics Australia funding cut by a third.

Rowe only got the chance to compete in Monte Carlo on Friday night after winning a race in Switzerland three days earlier.

He went on to equal Ralph Doubell's 46-year-old Australian record by clocking one minute 44.40 seconds.

"On face value, I appreciate that it seems like a harsh measure to reduce Alex's preparation fund because he was afforded the opportunity to compete at the Monaco Diamond League, where he competed with our support and obviously performed amazingly," Athletics Australia high performance director Simon Nathan said in a statement on Sunday.

"That being said, we have a team of 99 athletes and to ensure equality we have always stressed that athletes would see a reduction of their preparation fund if they didn't come through the compulsory team camp before July 17 for medical screenings and one-on-one catch-ups with team coaches.

"This is the outcome for Alex, and other athletes in similar circumstances."



Alex Rowe accepts AA fine

Nicole Jeffery in London |
The Australian|
July 21, 20149:42AM

NEW national 800 record-holder Alex Rowe is refusing to allow a mean-spirited Athletics Australia decision to fine him for being late to the national team training camp to dampen his excitement about equalling the oldest national record in the book on Friday night.

Under the Athletics Australia team agreement for the Commonwealth Games, all athletes were required to present themselves at the national camp in Newcastle by last Thursday for medical screening.

However Rowe was given a late invitation to run at the Monaco Diamond League meet on Friday night and elected to go there directly rather than detouring via the camp because he believes it would be better for his preparation.

Having equalled 1968 Olympic gold medallist Ralph Doubell’s 46-year-old national record in Monaco, Rowe has no regrets, even at the cost of one-third of his travel funding, up to $1300.

“Going into Monaco I knew what the consequences were, I knew it was part of the agreement that if I missed the team camp by the (17th) I would forego some funding. I knew that and I accepted those consequences.’’

“To come here for a day and then a day after to travel just wasn’t feasible so I made the decision to go straight to Monaco to get the best preparation possible. I wanted that Australian record and it’s not about some small issue with funding, it’s about running fast times and that’s all I was worried about.’’

“I’ve run the time and I’m absolutely thrilled. I haven’t even given it much thought. I’ve just been so happy and the messages I’ve received from family and friends have all been so positive that I’ve just been enjoying the ride.’’

“Do I agree with the rules, they are the rules and I knew what they were. Potentially, if there was a discretionary clause within that maybe I would have liked that to be exercised but there’s wasn’t so there’s no point in worrying about the past. What’s done is done and I’m just looking forward to representing my country and running as fast as possible.’’

Rowe is one of three athletes who will be penalised financially for missing the camp deadline, including Olympic champion Sally Pearsonand defending Commonwealth Games discus champion Benn Harradine.

Harradine also said he made his decision to go directly to Monaco in full knowledge of the consequences and accepted the decision.

AA high performance director Simon Nathan will meet with Pearson to discuss the matter in Glasgow this week but said “the same principles apply’’ to the Australian team captain and she was likely to receive a similar fine.

Nathan is sticking to his guns in the face of the outcry against the financial penalty for Rowe, arguing that it is in the best interests of the 99-strong team if not the individual athlete.

He denied that penalising Rowe was a disincentive to athletes pursuing their best possible preparation for a major championship.

“It’s a condition of funding to come through the camp and there have been a few that for sensible reasons haven’t been able to do that so for the sake of everyone else who’s here and consistency, there’s been a consequence for those athletes,’’ he said.

He acknowledged that none of the three athletes were “deliberately avoiding, none of them are trying to undermine anything, they are doing the right things for themselves’’ but argued continued to argue that it was for the benefit of the whole team.

“Alex did fantastically well, but the conversation with him happened before he went and it would have been the same outcome had he broken the record, or not run well. It was the right place for him to be, he needed the opportunity to race against Rudisha but it meant he didn’t come through the camp.’’

Nathan denied that AA’s inflexibility on the issue defied commonsense given that it’s aim was to extract the best performances possible from its elite athletes.

“It might not look like it, or feel like it but we are a sensible organisation,’’ he said.

He did concede that he would review the team rules following the Games.

Rowe said he remained grateful for the financial support that Athletics Australia had provided him during his career and the faith it had shown in him.

“You’ve got to look at the big picture, they’ve given me a lot of support all the way through,’’ he said.

“This has been such a minute detail in that ride.’’

Rowe, a 22-year-old medical student, is still on a high after his historic run.

“It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for many years,’’ he said.

“I remember when I first joined my current coach (Justin Rinaldi) when I was 15, I told him that that was one of my goals. Working together with him for seven years to achieve that goal has been just fantastic.’’

While he is keen to go even faster, he said it was “fitting’’ to share the record with Doubell for now.

“Ralph was such a legend and to be on par with a man like Ralph Doubell, I feel absolutely honoured to be on that level,’’ he said.


Why do they need to waste tax payers money an have meaningless camps? To sit down and have catch ups with coaches??? When u rock up to something u have trained all year for and need to have a sit down, then u should be getting electrodes attached to ur brain and be wearing a straight jacket in a room with padded walls! If uve just run 1:44 and need a sit down with some coach who couldn't coach a Kenyan to break 2mins then ur in trouble!

It's an individual sport for starters. He has his plan, stuck to it and he is ready to run so leave him alone!

What can you do when an athlete comes into camp and they are out of shape anyways?? Sit them down and tell them how pathetic they are?? If u select them it's because they have performed. Then they have predeparture standards.

There is a virus going through the village. The last thing I would be doing is telling everyone they gotta huddle around everyone who is carrying a bug. I'd be telling them the opposite!! Don't come here until the last minute as we don't want you to be sick.

It's an individual sport!! U cannot coach an athlete 10 days out from a major championships, rather u can only screw them up!

Ditch these camps. If your gonna hold a camp then hold it 3 months ago.


I agree Yeca.

On Saturday afternoon, I sat down to watch the replay of the Monaco Diamond League on Foxtel.  I kept away from (sports) news reports and the internet to ensure I didn't know the results. I was looking forward to the 800m as the field with David Rudisha, Nijel Amos, Mo Aman, Pierre Bosse, etc; appeared on paper to be a cracker. Plus there was the rare occasion of an Aussie in the field. Alex Rowe had just come off a huge PB and the chances of breaking Ralph Doubell's long standing record of 1-44.40 was a distinct possibility.

As the race evolved I was watching Alex Rowe stick to the back of the elite field. He was holding his own. Sammy Tanui had ensured it was a fast pace for his mate  - world record holder David Rudisha. They went through the first quarter miler in 49s and it looked to me that this race was going to be seriously quick. Rudisha looked smooth down the back with Bosse & Amos on his hammer, while Rowe appeared to be within a about 0.12s (about 9 to 10m) off them. As they went through the 600m in sub 1-16, I thought if Rowe could maintain his position, and the winner runs mid 1-42, Rowe can run low 1-44.

As they entered the straight, Amos & Bosse got the better of Rudisha and Rowe looked like he was motoring. When Amos finished in 1-42.53, I was making these calculations in my head. It looked like Rowe was about 10 to 12m away. I was convinced it was around 1-44.40.

When the result appeared on the screen I was delighted that Alex Rowe had equalled the great Ralph Doubell's national record. The longest record in Australian athletics had finally been equalled. I thought how much it would have meant to him and his coach Justin Rinaldi. What a moment it must have been when they met soon after.

In my view - in the scheme of world athletics, the Monaco Diamond League carries more weight than the Commowealth Games and therefore equalling the national 800m record (that has stood since 1968) in such a prestige meet, is as important result as we've probably seen from any Aussie middle distance athlete on the world stage for several years.

It was a monumental performance by Alex Rowe. I thought it would be celebrated by the Australian athletics community. But lo and behold, someone from AA had to come along and spoil it.

When I first learned a fine might have been imposed I was staggered. I could not believe it. As I read the reports & twitter comments being sent through by respected athletics journalists Scott Gullan and Michael Gleeson, I was embarrassed for the sport.

How could AA ruin the moment and rain on Alex Rowe's parade by imposing a fine is just unbelievable. Did they not realise this fantastic achievement would forever be tainted by the imposition of the fine? Look at the news reports since the race; the record has been lost in the news about the fine.

This has been a PR disaster by AA. Surely someone in a position of authority could have anticiapted the fall-out and stopped it in its tracks. But unfortunately that was not to be. And we now have the Ausie sport media ridiculing and comdemning AA on the eve of the Commonwealth Games.

Well done to Alex Rowe & Justin Rinaldi for the result and also for being so restrained and diplomatic in their response.

"Let's Go While We're Young"

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