Tag Archives: Olympics

Abbey’s off to the Paris Olympics

YEARS OF determination and hard work have culminated in Warrandyte’s Abbey Caldwell having her place confirmed for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Caldwell, 22, will form part of Australia’s Track and Field team to compete in France after the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) announced its first athletes named for the Games on April 14.
The star middle-distance runner has been confirmed for the 800m event, and this comes after the Doncaster Athletics Club product’s performance at the Chemist Warehouse Australian National Track and Field Championship in Adelaide.
Caldwell’s heat time of 2:04.59 automatically qualified her for the final, where she then placed second to Claudia Hollingsworth in a season-best and an Olympic Games qualifying time of 1:59.01.
Now, with less than 100 days to go until the Games and with some excellent form under the belt, Caldwell is currently in full training in preparation for her Olympic debut in Paris in August.
Go Abbey!

Photos: CASEY SIMS, ATHLETICS AUSTRALIA

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The Warrandyte Pentathlon

MUCH ADO

By KATRINA BENNETT

2021 WAS PROVING to be a rollercoaster ride to rival the Tower of Terror or Arkham Asylum. Superheroes no longer had to live in Batcaves or steer clear of kryptonite. Nor was Hollywood necessarily on the Gold Coast. Those Hemsworth boys had made sure that Byron Bay was taking that dubious title, attracting micro-influencers like mice plagues to a grain silo. No longer were billionaires content to stand at the urinal together and swing their little fingers. No, they had to fly into space in crafts shaped like their underpaid and overworked minimum wage employees got together and said “Let’s design a ship that truly represents what we think of our boss”. Some people were lucky enough to escape the icy clutches of Melbourne’s winter and head north during the school holidays. They were awarded an extra 14 days off, isolated in their house with boutique bottle of gin, their mates Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime and Disney+ passwords, and a few bonus Covid tests for their efforts. The snow lovers weren’t neglected either. After missing the entire 2020 ski season, 80 per cent of Warrandyte’s population threw on their roof racks, dragged out the rusty snow chains and added alpine diesel to the fuel tank. Then they remembered they had bought a new petrol car, with different size wheels and a wider roof. The kids had grown, the adults hadn’t lost their iso-gut and the Warrandyte Secondhand Facebook page broke the internet as ski gear was traded with the same ferocity and lack of understanding as BitCoin. I still have 15 pairs of skis, 19 pairs of boots, 38 ski jackets, 29 pairs of pants and 29,000 non-matching pairs of mittens if anyone is still interested.
Victoria entered Lockdown 5.0. Muscle memory kicked in. No need to panic buy, no need to exercise more than two hours a day, we could ignore soaring petrol prices; we weren’t going more than five kilometres from home. This lockdown had an entertainment bonus that the previous four didn’t. The Olympics. Who doesn’t love an opening ceremony that at best is three hours too long and at its very best is full of weird interpretive dancing and disturbingly bewildering characters? It was my time to shine. I could dazzle my disinterested offspring with my encyclopaedic knowledge of absolutely nothing. Eyes went blurry from uninterrupted screen-time, thumbs blistered from incessant googling and I acquired a strange mottled hue to my skin as I slowly morphed into an unwashed coach potato. Turns out quad skulls is a rowing race not a Russian drinking game and the Coxless fours isn’t just a boat without any males in it. But the real revelation was the kayaking and canoeing. What a sport, there had to be more steel in their abs than in the reinforced concrete of the course. As I gaze out at the murky waters of the Yarra River, I briefly consider that this could be the sport for me. I mean, sure it would take a bit of work to transform from a mouldy couch potato to a well-oiled French Fry, I’m scared of water and by the time I’d got my act together I’d be eligible for the aged pension. Not impossible but I reckon I’d be more likely to win a Tattslotto draw that I never bought a ticket in. Lucky I’ve got the Modern Warrandyte Pentathlon to fall back on. A collection of five events that require the cunning of a fox near a henhouse, the speed of a kookaburra at a barbie and the patience of a horse at an anti-lockdown rally.
Event 1: The Duck Race
Twelve ducklings whose parents have left them unattended in your pool, need to be rescued and returned one-by-one to the negligent Mum and Dad. Time penalties are given for any ducklings lost to a circling wedge-tailed eagle or if contact is made by the attacking Drake, who hasn’t worked out you’re actually trying to help.
Event 2: The NBN Modem reset
When the power goes out it’s a race against time to reset the modem and get the wi-fi up and running before any teenagers emerge from their caves complaining the live gaming stream has dropped out. This a sport that requires precision timing. Too quick and you blow a fuse in the box and you’ll get lost in a telco call centre queue never to be heard from again. Too slow and hell hath no fury like an internet-less teenager, they can move lightening quick when they want to.
Event 3: The Skatepark Challenge
The quickest to run over to the fish and chip shop, order and take delivery of your minimum chips, six fried dim sims and a bottle of Gatorade. Run back to skatepark, consume, drop all rubbish on the ground and run for the bus stop. Time penalties incurred for being yelled at by an adult before getting on the 906 and disqualified if called out by an outraged member of the Warrandyte Community and Business Facebook page.
Event 4: The Mountain Bike slalom
The course runs along the river from Stiggants Reserve to the Stonehouse. Obstacles include dogs off lead, toddlers released from their pram and irregular groupings of baby boomers who drift like brown’s cows when you startle them. Bonus points for dog poo-less tyres at the finish line.
Event 5: The Double Scull
Simple — a pot and shot at the Grand Hotel. There are no rules and everyone’s a winner. The perfect end to a gruelling Modern Warrandyte Pentathlon.
But now Lockdown 5.0 is over; the roller-coaster ride continues with 6.0. The Gold Coast may still not be Hollywood, but it is now the home of the 2032 Olympics, the games that no one else wanted. And you can’t

Going for Gold in Tokyo

WARRANDYTE’S OWN will be going to Tokyo 2020. In December 2020, Rachael Lynch, Federation of International Hockey 2019 goalkeeper of the year, was dropped from the 2021 squad by then coach Paul Guadoin, But in a wonderful turn of events, it has been confirmed that the now- Perth-based nurse will represent Australia in Tokyo, in her second Olympic Games. Lynch’s international debut with the Hockeyroos was in 2006 and since then has chalked up numerous international fixtures, including three Commonwealth Games. Since the decision to drop her in late 2020, major change has occurred throughout the Hockeyroos setup including the appointment of a new coach, two-time Gold medal Hockeyroo, Katrina Powell. Over the past 12 months, Lynch, a registered nurse, has been simultaneously working on the front line of the pandemic, conducting COVID-19 tests for a mining company in Perth, while tirelessly training to fight for her place on the 16-player squad. Lynch told the Diary that this time playing for the Green and Gold felt, “way bigger”, adding that since the brunt of the pandemic the players have a
“new-found gratitude for international travel, for competition, and for being outside without a mask.” While initially focused on her performance and what she needed to do to break back into the squad, Lynch, as an experienced player, focuses as much of her time helping the rest of the girls in the squad, especially the newer players, saying
“I know that it (also) helps me and my training.” Adding that she has been to an Olympics already and that it helps to impart that knowledge and to
“shed some light on some of the things that make the girls nervous”. The Hockeyroos will be chasing medal placing at Tokyo, currently they are ranked 4th in the world, yet Lynch feels that all the teams are on a
“level playing field.” With very few international competitions, most of the nations have not been able to scout other teams, something that, according to Lynch, allows teams to
“have the opportunity to go away and work on things essentially in private.” Most of the scouting and information on other teams — their strategy, and their set-up — will all be done during the Games; Powell and the coaching team will have their work cut out for them, having to apply game plans they have trained, while accommodating for what other teams are doing. Lynch believes that the most important thing will be to
“keep calm” in those high-pressure situations, adding that medal placings
“will come down to who can adapt quickly.” Lynch’s return to the squad is a boost, not just for her work in goal, but for her knowledge and calm demeanour,
“that’s what I bring to the group.
“That will give the girls a lot more confidence.”
Tokyo 2020 will be vastly different to any of the modern Olympics, with no friends, family, or fans in the stadiums, and with players isolating away from most of the other athletes. Lynch believes that there will be less distractions, although socialising in the village, while distracting “is an enjoyable part of the experience”.
An experience athletes will miss out on, but one that will not be too isolating, as most of the time players are with the rest of the squad or in the hotels.
One of the reasons the athletes socialising is important is it allows for time to “switch off when you need to” Lynch said, you need to
“have a bit of fun within the confines of what you can do.”
While the lack of family and friends present may be challenging mentally, a lack of a crowd may provide an advantage to the athletes. On field players rely on hearing communications from coaches and other players which, without needing to shout over thousands, is something Lynch said they
“don’t have to worry about too much.” While the hopes of the nation can weigh heavy and add pressure, Lynch said that
“knowing that there is a couple of million people watching on TV, that goes out of your head soon as you start the game.” So without the screaming fans there is less to distract you as
“when you have a packed house that adds pressure, that can de-rail you.”
Reflecting on the fact that there had been a few moments she thought Tokyo 2020 would not go ahead, along with her axing and reinstatement to the squad, Lynch said that representing Australia at Tokyo will feel special.
“For me personally, given what I have been through, this feels special to do it, and to do so on a world stage will be even better.”
The Hockeyroos campaign for Gold begins with a match against Spain on Sunday, July 25, at 10am Japan Standard time (JST) (11am AEST).

Warrandyte’s Olympic glory

Warrandyte’s own, Snowboarder Scotty James, has become Australia’s second medal winner at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, winning Bronze in the men’s halfpipe.

Following a hard fought battle with American Shaun White and Japan’s Ayunu Hirano, James was graceful in surrendering the top positions in the dais to his two rivals as he spoke to Channel Seven:

“Shaun is an amazing athlete and he has achieved a lot of great things. He achieved another awesome feat in his career today,” he said.

“Hats off to Hirano as well. He is one of the most flawless snowboarders I know. It is cool to watch him.”

The young athlete does not plan to rest on his laurels, James’ trajectory is upward.

With an already impressive lineup of sponsors, and an enviable lifestyle taking him around the world doing what he loves, this medal is seen by many to be James’ taking things to the next level.

“My goal is to come out here and ride as best I can and fly my Australian flag in the sport that is not necessarily done by many Australians,” James told reporters after Wednesday’s final.

“I am very proud of my country and where I come from but I can assure you I am just getting started.

“You can expect to see a lot more of me in the future. Me and my team, we are excited to keep going.”

James, who carried the flag for Australia in last Friday’s opening ceremony said: “I work so hard, and it is at times like these, obviously we are still focused, but you have to enjoy these experiences”.

“That is why we work hard … to enjoy these experiences as much is possible. I did that today. It was cool.”

However, never forgetting his roots, he told the media, for the moment that he was looking forward to getting back home to his ‘beloved Warrandyte’.

And Warrandyte are certainly looking forward to his return home with many taking to social media cheering on the local lad, some even contemplating a homecoming parade for our Olympic champion.