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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Tony Fairweather relocating to the Gold Coast

Tony Fairweather relocating to the Gold Coast

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1 Tony Fairweather relocating to the Gold Coast on Thu May 17, 2012 8:45 am



Fairweather heads north for new challenge

Maitalnd Mercury
17 May, 2012

Gillieston Heights-based athletics coach Tony
Fairweather is relocating to the Gold Coast with
an eye towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

This marks the end of an era.

After more than three decades coaching athletes in the Hunter region Gillieston Heights-based Tony Fairweather has decided to relocate to the Gold Coast with an eye towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Australian representatives such as Josh Ross, Pirrenee Steinert and Laura Whaler have been under Fairweather’s watchful eye along the way but the 50-year-old, who was born and bred in Maitland, will part ways with postcode 2320 in the coming months and head north hoping for better facilities and support of his beloved sport.

“With the Commonwealth Games being up there [in 2018] I think there will be a lot of things happening on the Gold Coast in the next five years,” Fairweather said.

“There will be better facilities and a warmer climate so hopefully it will all work out.”

The shift was prompted by the departure of two of his stars in recent times, Whaler and Steinert, after injuries hampered both of their Olympic campaigns for London 2012.

East Maitland sprinter Whaler has gone south to Melbourne and will continue training after successful surgery on a long-term hip complaint while 2010 Maitland Sportsperson of the Year Steinert will move back home to South Australia after discovering stress fractures in her foot following the Olympic trials.

“We all left on good terms, but when the girls moved on it moved me along as well,” Fairweather said.

“I had to decide whether to stay here and commit for another five years, and there is no guarantee an athlete will stay with you, or move on.

“I always thought I would get up there one day and it will be great to start something new.”

The mentor predicted that Newcastle product Liam Gander may follow him to the Gold Coast along with 19-year-old Moree sensation Dallas Green, who has been housed with Fairweather for the past six months.

“Liam [Gander] and a few others may follow eventually but we will just see what happens,” Fairweather said.

“I think Dallas [Green] will be the next best thing in Australian sprinting – he is the future.

“I rate him and I think he has more potential than Josh Ross.”

Ross was part of the highlight reel for Fairweather when looking back on his time as an athletics coach in the Maitland area.

Ross won the Stawell Gift in 2003 and 2005 while wearing the green and gold at the Olympics in between at Athens 2004.

Ross’ second win at Stawell, where he became the first Australian to win the time honoured race from scratch, also saw wife Alison claim the women’s gift and one of his students Harry Egan clinch the 70 metre sprint.

Fairweather’s move will leave behind a gaping hole in athletics for the Hunter.

“A lot of people have said that and said that I have been the backbone of senior athletics in the area,” Fairweather said.

“But there isn’t a lot of support around here – I even put in a proposal to Hunter Sports Group and Nathan Tinkler to help sponsor the athletes but didn’t get much back.

“It is always a challenge and going back and forward to Newcastle for training, I mean we will never see a synthetic track in Maitland.”

Leaving to pursue greener pastures was a tough call for Fairweather and his wife Alison to make, leaving behind their lives in Maitland as they know them.

“It will be sad in a way,” Fairweather said.

“I was born and bred here [in Maitland], I played football with the Maitland Blacks and all my juniors with the Tenambit Tigers, I have run and coached athletics here since I was about 18, a lot of my friends are here and my parents still live here.

“I mean athletics around here has been what I’m all about really.”

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