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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Tamsyn expects 51s in the 400m at the Hunter Track Classic

Tamsyn expects 51s in the 400m at the Hunter Track Classic

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From the AA Website
20.12.2010


Lewis to lead 400m assault on Hunter

When Tamsyn Lewis was asked after her 400m win at the inaugural Hunter Track Classic in Newcastle in February if she would run there again, she replied “You can ask me any time and I will come and run."

True to her word Lewis will be back on January 29, 2011, to headline the fastest growing track and field meet in the country. This time, in a move initiated by event partner the Greater Building Society, Lewis will invest time in the community by meeting charity groups and conducting workshops for the Hunter Academy of Sport and Little Athletics.

“I am a big believer in athletes being accessible to the community,” Lewis said when questioned about her extra commitments in January.

“I have always made myself available as an athlete to community and sporting groups and to help out wherever I can."

Lewis, 32, is a relaxed athlete. After her 400m win in this year’s event she spent 40 minutes signing autographs for fans instead of doing a warm down.

“I come from the ‘old school’ approach to running where we do a big long warm up but afterwards just keep moving and try to relax. A lot of athletes warm down by themselves after a race but I like to mix with people,” she says.

Given that she is currently running close to her best, her Newcastle fans can expect plenty of smiles and autographs after her race at next year’s Hunter Track Classic.

Lewis has spent the last decade as Australia’s leading 400m/800m athlete, which has included some extraordinary moments. She narrowly missed the Olympic 800m final in Sydney 2000 aged 22 and more recently demonstrated her longevity in winning the world indoor championships 800m title in Valencia, Spain, in 2008. Longevity, Lewis says, comes from her love and enjoyment of the sport.

“I have a great coach (Justin Lewis, her brother) and a great training group, we always have fun and keep training light-hearted,” she says.

“I have also been able to listen to my body and know when to back off when I get sore or tired.”

During 2009 Lewis took a break from 800m running and took up the 400m hurdles. After taking a year off international competition in 2010 Lewis is looking towards London 2012 with renewed vigor.

“When London was announced as the winner five years ago I was being coached by the chairman of the bid, Sebastian Coe. I saw all the hard work he had put into the bid and when I called to congratulate him he said that I had to set the goal to compete in London 2012. I promised him that I would and now I can’t think of a better place to finish my Olympic career than London. It is where I base myself during my European racing campaigns and is much like my second home."

After a cracking 600m at the Zatopek meet in Melbourne last week, running 1:27.77 Lewis is in great shape. She won’t have it all her own way at the Hunter Track Classic however, with reigning Australian 400m champion Jody Henry making the trek across to Newcastle from Perth. Henry was a member of the women’s 4x400m relay team in Dehli.

“Jody is a great competitor and will be ready to go,” said Lewis.

“Throw into that mix Olivia Tauro (originally from Kurri Kurri) who has started the season really well, Anneliese Rubie (world junior representative from Sydney) and my training partner Mel Purkiss (British Commonwealth Games representative) and it will be an exciting race with no clear favourite.”

Not surprisingly, Lewis is excited about the prospect of lining up against such quality opposition.

“So what can the Hunter audience expect when you round the bend into the straight and there is nothing between you and the other girls Tamsyn?” Athletics New South Wales asks.

Lewis laughs and then says quite seriously, “The best thing for all of us is if we are racing all the way to the line, I will be in 51-second shape so it could be a very fast race!"

The Hunter Track Classic is on January 29 at the Hunter Sports Centre, Glendale from 5pm. Tickets are available at Greater Building Society branches and online at www.huntertrackclassic.com.au

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