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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Sally Pearson & Steve Hooker at SANTOS stadium in January 2012

Sally Pearson & Steve Hooker at SANTOS stadium in January 2012

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http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/sally-pearson-and-steve-hooker-lead-charge-to-santos-stadium/story-fn34oii8-1226189369583

Sally Pearson and Steve Hooker lead charge to Santos Stadium

by: Warren Partland
The Advertiser
November 09, 2011


SALLY Pearson and Olympic gold medallist Steve Hooker are set to showcase their champion qualities at Santos Stadium.

The high-profile pair is expected to be among the impressive array of talent competing at the Adelaide Track Classic at the Mile End track on January 28 when elite track and field finally returns to South Australia. The meet will be the state's first high-quality athletics' competition since 2005 after Athletics SA successfully lobbied Athletics Australia for a leg of the national tour.

It will be the first of the tour's four meets in the lead-up to the trials for the London Olympics in Melbourne. Perth, Sydney and Melbourne will also host a leg of the tour and the Olympic Games selection policy states the leading athletes must compete.

"In terms of the calibre of the athletes, it will be the biggest meet in years," ASA chief executive Adam Bishop said. "The great thing about these meets is the Olympic selection policy says the country's best athletes have to come."

Bishop has pushed relentlessly for a national meet after the Rekotan synthetic track at Mile End was overhauled at a cost of $1.7 million. Interstate athletes, previously uninterested in competing at the venue because of the poor condition of the track, can now chase Olympic qualifying times with far more confidence. Bishop admits ASA has taken a punt organising the meet after failing to secure financial support from the state government.

But he said ASA was prepared to take a risk as it believed national meets would have a key role in rejuvenating the sport in SA.

"For the past three years we have positioned ourselves to get an event like this and the track upgrade was critical," Bishop said. "We've had discussions with AA for the last 12 months and put Adelaide's hat in the ring. We are underwriting the event and seeking corporate support. We've put ourselves at risk but hopefully the SA public will support us. A meet like this is very important and critical for the sport in SA.

"We've made the hard decision to put us on the line and have a go."

Tickets for the meet go on sale on Monday from Ticketek. Tickets are also available for the President's Lunch on November 30 to launch the meet with Hooker the guest speaker.

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