Sporting confidential: FIT for success

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“ONLY in Canberra” is a derogatory expression often used by people who don’t live here, but not always as a put down. In the case of Canberra’s Females in Training it is very much the latter. 

FIT started 12 years ago as an organisation to encourage women who approached exercise with a certain amount of trepidation and allowed them to run in a non-threatening, encouraging environment. Many had given up exercise while raising a family. FIT then started teaching women how to cycle and swim, resulting in first-time triathletes, which is remarkable in itself.

Of the 500 or so who have been through the FIT program, some are now competing in iron-woman events, others in marathons.

A number of other centres around Australia have tried to replicate Canberra’s FIT, but it hasn’t taken off. The dedication of women in the ACT wanting to help others become involved in sport is a major reason for the success in Canberra. Well done to all involved in this great program.

Titles out of town

HARD to believe, but the ACT Track Cycling Titles have been staged in Sydney for the past two years.

Canberra has a rich history of developing track cyclists. Between 2002 and 2008 every Canberra cyclist who competed at the World Juniors competed in track cycling. So why would you stage the ACT Track Cycling Titles in Sydney?

The reason is twofold. The velodrome at Narrabundah is unsuitable for competition; it is fine for training, but needs money spent on its four corners. The other reason for staging the titles in Sydney is to attract riders from outside Canberra to compete.

A few years ago a new velodrome was on the master plan for the Lyneham precinct, but it appears to have disappeared. The cost of building a new velodrome seems to be prohibitive. Surely something can be done then to improve the existing facility?

Loose lips…

MORE often than not, the best sport stories are to be found away from professional sport and the back pages of daily papers.

The ACT Boys’ Under 16 Water Polo Team presents one such story. The team is coached by David Brady who is deaf, but with a hearing aid can hear reasonably well. However, major competitions present a cacophony of noise. This is where his assistant coach takes over.

It’s a system that obviously worked during the National Titles in Brisbane last month. The team finished ninth in a field of 26 teams with Tim Reeves making the Australian squad.

There is clearly an upside for David in being able to read the lips of the opposing coach or players.

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Tim Gavel
Journalist and ABC sports broadcaster

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