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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Fairweather frustrated with Gander's inconsistency

Fairweather frustrated with Gander's inconsistency

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http://www.moreechampion.com.au/news/local/sport/athletics/gander-focused-on-olympics/2147138.aspx?storypage=0


Liam Gander, left, is convinced he will be running
at next year’s Olympics.


Gander focused on Olympics
By NICK BENDEL
Moree Champion
28 Apr, 2011


Sprinter Liam Gander and his coach Tony Fairweather remain focused on qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics, despite an inconsistent season. Both men felt that while Gander trained well, he failed to reproduce that form in competitions during the February-April season.

The 23-year-old ran the 100m and 200m at all five meets on the Australian Athletics Tour in February and March, before taking part in both events at the Australian Athletics Championships in mid-April.

His 100m times were 10.60, 10.63, 10.67, 10.72, 10.73 and 10.78 seconds. Fairweather said he had the talent and fitness to have posted a 10.35.

Gander - like the rest of the Australian athletes - failed to record an individual qualifying time for the World Championships, which will be held in Korea in August-September.

However, there is a good chance he will be going to Korea as a member of Australia’s 4x100m relay team.

Four people were picked for the team after the Australian Athletics Championships. A fifth will be added in July.

Gander is currently ranked Australia’s number five relay runner, so Fairweather is confident he will make the squad.

But Fairweather is disappointed he hasn’t already been chosen, given Gander was the fourth-fastest Australian at the nationals.

It comes at the end of a domestic season in which he thought Gander was “a little bit inconsistent”.

Gander agreed. “It was a bit up and down,” he said of his season.

“Consistency is the main thing you need in sprinting.”

Fairweather said although Gander had trained well and worked hard, he had been unable to convert that into fast race times.

“He’s training better than he’s racing,” Fairweather said.

Gander’s problem, according to Fairweather, was not being able to put together a complete race. Some parts he would do well in one race; others he would do well in another. But he never managed to produce all those parts on the same day.

That would then affect his confidence next time around, Fairweather added. Gander would get distracted, stop focusing on his race plan and start thinking about his rivals.

“He needs to believe in himself as an athlete and not worry about anything outside his own lane,” Fairweather said.

Gander attributed his inconsistent form to the inconsistent conditions he encountered.

“Going into the season I was really confident and I was ready to go and run fast,” he said.

Gander said he started the season with a good time, but then kept encountering cold and windy conditions.

Bad weather slows a runner down, as muscles don’t function as efficiently in the cold.

For Gander, there was another downside to the bad weather - it affected his race plans, disrupted his rhythm and subsequently lowered his confidence, he said.

He agreed with Fairweather that he had saved his best performances for his training sessions in Newcastle.

That was due to the warmer weather and more familiar environment, Gander said.

Despite his inconsistent season, Gander did snare a couple of silver medals during the Australian Athletics Tour.

However, he said placings were irrelevant - only times mattered.

“It’s all about the times. I don’t really care about the winning. The times are what you train for,” he said.

Those times will have to keep coming down if Gander is to qualify in the individual events for London 2012.

He will need to run 10.18 in the 100m and 20.60 in the 200m. His personal bests are 10.41 and 21.12.

Gander is convinced he will be able to bridge the gap and fulfil his dream of making it to the Olympics.

“I’ve just got to get the perfect day and feel good and it should all come together,” he said.

Fairweather is equally focused on the Olympics.

“The big picture for us is London,” he said.

He is convinced Gander will qualify - if not as an individual, then as a member of Australia’s relay team.

In the meantime, Gander is about to head off to Japan.

He will be in Japan from May 3-8, and will be running in the Osaka Grand Prix on May 7.

He will then compete at the Gold Coast in June, before attempting to qualify for the World Championships relay team in July.

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