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Australia’s walking and field athlete performance since 2000

Roar Guru
16th July, 2014
4

Following on from a previous article on the decline of Australian running since 2000, this article discusses the recent performance of Australia’s walkers and field event athletes.

Like running, Australia has produced a number of global medalists since the silver medals won by Jai Taurima (long jump) and Tatiana Grigorieva (pole vault) at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Global champions have been Dmitri Markov pole vault 2001, Nathan Deakes 50km walk 2007, Steven Hooker pole vault 2008, and Dani Samuels (AUS) discus 2009.

Minor global medals: Bronwyn Eagles hemmer, Nathan Deakes 20km walk 2004, Jane Saville 20km walk 2004, Mitchell Watt long jump 2009, 2011, and 2012, Jared Tallent 20km walk 2008, 50km walk 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2013 and Kimberley Mickle javelin 2013.

More importantly, in terms of top 50 and 100 world performers since 2000, the decline in walking and field events appears less dramatic than evident by running.

As table 1 indicates, while the number of Australian reaching the top 50 list reached a low of 18 in 2013, having reached 33 in 2006, Australia had achieved a similar number around 23 or less in seven of the 12 years since 2002.

Australia had more than one individual amongst the top 50 world performers in five events in both 2002 and 2013, although the figure reached 9 in 2010.

Table 1: Number of Australians amongst top 50 world individuals for walking and field events 2000-2013

00

02

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

Long jump M

ND

0

0

0

1

3

1

1

3

3

2

3

1

Female

0

1

1

2

0

3

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

High Jump M

3

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

3

Female

0

0

1

1

0

0

2

1

2

2

0

0

1

Triple Jump

ND

1

1

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

2

1

1

Female

ND

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Pole Vault M

2

3

3

3

3

4

2

2

2

1

1

1

0

Female

5

4

1

4

3

3

3

1

1

3

1

2

2

Shot Put Male

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

2

2

2

1

1

0

Female

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Discus Male

0

0

1

1

2

1

1

2

1

1

2

3

2

Female

3

1

3

0

0

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Javelin Male

3

1

2

2

1

3

2

1

0

2

1

1

1

Female

2

1

0

0

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

3

Hammer Male

1

1

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Female

3

3

4

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Dec/Hep Male

0

1

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Female

ND

3

2

1

1

1

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

20km walk M

2

1

1

2

2

3

3

2

2

2

2

1

1

Female

0

1

1

2

1

1

1

1

3

2

1

2

0

50km walk M

1

2

1

0

1

3

5

3

2

2

4

2

2

Total

26

27

26

23

20

33

25

20

21

25

21

20

18

00

02

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

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Table 2, which examines the top 100 world performer lists, indicates figures of 48 in 2000 and 28 for 2013, although again the 2011 and 2012 total figures are similar to that of 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009.

Of events where Australia had four or more top 100 list athletes, there were 5 in 2000 yet zero in 2013, albeit no data was observed for four 2000 events. The best result was 9 in 2006.

Table 2: Number of Australians amongst top 100 world individuals for walking and field events 2000-2013

00

02

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

Long jump M

ND

1

2

2

4

5

4

3

4

4

4

3

2

Female

3

2

3

3

2

4

2

1

1

0

1

2

2

High Jump M

5

2

1

1

1

2

ND

0

1

2

1

0

3

Female

1

2

2

1

3

2

2

3

4

5

2

2

1

Triple Jump

ND

2

2

1

3

4

1

2

2

2

2

1

1

Female

ND

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Pole Vault M

3

ND

ND

4

3

4

3

2

3

2

1

1

0

Female

5

7

3

4

4

7

6

2

2

3

2

3

3

Shot Put Male

1

2

2

4

2

2

ND

2

3

2

1

1

1

Female

0

0

0

0

0

0

ND

0

0

1

0

1

1

Discus Male

2

0

3

2

3

3

3

2

1

3

2

3

2

Female

4

3

3

2

2

1

1

1

1

3

2

2

1

Javelin Male

3

3

2

2

1

4

2

1

1

2

2

2

2

Female

2

1

1

1

2

4

3

2

2

3

3

2

3

Hammer Male

1

2

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Female

7

3

4

3

3

2

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

Dec/Hep Male

3

2

1

1

3

2

3

2

0

1

1

1

0

Female

ND

3

2

1

1

2

1

1

2

1

0

1

0

20km walk M

4

2

1

2

2

4

3

4

4

3

3

4

2

Female

1

3

1

3

2

5

3

3

4

5

3

4

1

50km walk M

3

4

3

0

2

3

7

4

2

4

5

4

2

Total

48

45

38

39

44

61

44

35

37

48

36

38

28

00

02

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

When one looks closely at table 2, however, declining numbers are not that obvious for most events since 2000.

The notable exceptions that highlight a numerical decline are the pole vault and hammer events for females, both events that first entered global athletic competitions in 1999.

Going into 2014, a Commonwealth Games year, Australia can expect to do well in walking and field events.

Australian athletes that made the top 10 world list in 2013: Jared Tallant 50km walk; Ben Harradine, Julian Wruck and Dani Samuels discus; and Kimberley Mickle and Kathryn Mitchell javelin.

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There are other field athletes worth following, including Eleanor Patterson who ranked equal 11th in the world in 2013 with a 1.96m in the high jump, a world record for an under-18 athlete.