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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Beckenham runners to compete in Tassie

Beckenham runners to compete in Tassie

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1 Beckenham runners to compete in Tassie on Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:08 pm

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Beckenham has five-strong stable primed for success
BY TERRY MORRIS
The Examiner
24 Nov, 2010


TASMANIA'S Christmas carnivals organisers are confident that its initial involvement with respected coach Matt Beckenham will lead to the next Cathy Freeman competing here.

Beckenham, an Olympian in Sydney in 2000, is establishing himself as one of the best athletic coaches in Australia and is bringing a stable of five runners to the Tasmanian carnivals for the first time.

"We would like to think our involvement with Matt will be on-going in the future and we believe its possible he could unearth a runner like Cathy," athletics organiser Rod Walker said.

Walker said the appearance of a young Cathy Freeman at Devonport in the early 1990s virtually saved the Devonport Athletic Club's carnival and helped turn it into the success it is today.

"Matt was appointed coach of the Australian running squad for the Youth Olympics in Singapore in August and has first-hand knowledge of the young talent," Walker said.

Walker said the Tasmanian carnivals were always keen to promote young talent and in Cathy Freeman's case she continued to return after making it to the world stage.

Beckenham, 34, first became interested in coaching athletics after he represented Australia in the 400-metre hurdles in Sydney in 2000.

Injury forced an end to his serious athletic career in 2004 and within a few months he had a squad of 10 seniors and 30 juniors under his care.

Winners came on a regular basis and 2009-10 was a very successful season.

He coached Tom Burbridge to the Stawell Gift at Easter time and his athletes won more than $70,000 on the professional gift running circuit in Victoria and NSW.

Luke Storta won the Queanbeyan Gift and Chloe Jamieson broke several national records late last year.

As well Melissa Breen, Brendan Cole and Lauren Boden were selected in the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games.

Another of Beckenham's runners, Grant Billingham, was selected for the world junior championships.

He will be represented at the Devonport Carnival on December 29-30 and at Burnie on New Year's Day.

Runners competing under the Beckenham banner will be Tom Burbridge, national 100m champion Melissa Breen, Queanbeyan Gift winner Luke Storta, Derek Collinge and Brendan Matthews.

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