Posted by: jkirkby8712 | August 30, 2016

RIO OLYMPIC GAMES UPDATE – from an Australian perspective

Bill’s Rio Olympics Update No. 1 Day Minus One [4 August] : Couple of interesting Men’s Football results – South Korea defeated Fiji 8-0 [partially expected], while Nigeria defeated Japan 5-4 [not expected, Nigeria leading 5-2 late in the 2nd half]. Sadly, the Aussie Men’s team did not make it to Rio. Yesterday, our girls lost their first match, to Canada 2-0.

Bill’s Rio Olympics Update No. 2: Day One [5 August]: Much has been said about the downgrading in many eyes of the value of, and interest in, the Olympic Games over recent times, with drug scandals, doping cheats and so on. But there is one Australian athlete who deserves the highest of praise and respect – who can proudly accept the accolades of ‘hero’. Participating in her fourth Olympic Games, and this morning, having earned the well-deserved honor of carrying the National flag for Australia at Rio. She has overcome the adversity of a near-fatal accident, and through months of rehabilitation, persistence, belief and determination, returned to do what she loves the best – and has then succeeded at the highest level in her chosen sport, in addition to becoming a wonderful ambassador and representative of our nation’s sportspeople [probably her most valuable and important success] – ‘not only a champion of her sport, but a fine leader’ [Sir Peter Cosgrove] – Anna Meares, I for one, salute you and wish you well for further success at Rio.

Bill’s Rio Olympic update no. 3: Day One [5 August]:: Well the hype of the Opening Ceremony is over, now time for the athletes to show their stuff!! Earlier today the Archery competition got underway seems like South Korea are strong here,but the Aussie three man Men’s Team have made it to the quarterfinals to be played overnight. Up to 21 events on over next 17 hours

Bill’s Rio Olympic update No. 4: Day Two [6 August]:: Perhaps unbelievably, Australia leads the medal tally after the first full day of competition [with 2 Gold and 1 Bronze] – doubt I’ll get to say that again!! Other countries to collect Gold medals were Vietnam[Shooting], USA [Shooting], Belgium [Road Race], Sth Korea [Archery], Argentine and Russia [Judo], Hungary [Fencing, and Swimming], Japan [Swimming] and Thailand [Weightlifting]. Despite the two swimming Gold Medals, my highlight of the day has to be the Men’s Archery team [Alec Potts, Ryan Tyack & Taylor Worth] – won the quarter final over France, lost the semi-final to South Korea [ a team of precision & accuracy], and then won the Bronze medal against China. South Korea defeated the USA for the Gold.
Of course, two Swimming Gold medals rounded off the day – Mack Horton in the 400 metres Freestyle, and the four girls in the 4 x 100 metres Freestyle Relay, defending their title from London [Emma McKeon, Brittany Elmslie, & Cate and Bronte Campbell, in a new World record].Finalists in the Men’s 400 metre Individual Medley were Thomas Fraser-Holmes [6th] and Travis Mahoney[7th]. In the equivalent race for Women, the Hungarian swimmer created a world record. David McKeon [sister of Emma] finished 7th in Mack Horton’s race.
Team results today – Men’s Hockey: Australia defeated New Zealand 2-1; Men’s Basketball: Australia defeated France 87-66; Women’s Basketball: Australia defeated Brazil 84-66; Football Women: Australia drew with Germany 1-1 after leading for 95% of the match; Women’s Hockey: Great Britain defeated Australia 2-1; Men’s Water Polo: Brazil defeated Australia 8-7; Women’s Beach Volleyball: Australia defeated Costa Rica 2-0; Women’s Rugby 7’s: Australia defeated Colombia 53-0, and defeated Fiji 36-0;
In the Men’s Cycling Road Race [277 kms over 6 hours on the road] Australians Simon Kerridge crashed midway, Richie Porte [5th in the Tour de France] crashed with 37 kms to go, possible broken collar bone, while Simon Clarke finished in 27th position. Greg van Avermaet won the Gold for Belgium[their first win in that event since the 1950s]..
All of today’s rowers in the Sculls events progressed to further opportunities; one of our three Table Tennis players competing today won through to the next round; John Millman was the only Australian tennis to win today – a credible 6-0,6-0, while Jordan Thompson and Thomas Kokkinakis lost their matches, as did the doubles combinations of the Rodionova sisters, and Chris Guiccione/John Peers; amongst other Australians competing today, Boxer, Jason Whateley lost his 91 kg bout to his Brazilian opponent.

Bill’s Rio Olympic update No. 5: Day Three [7 August]- 

Not everything covered, however today,  a couple of the lesser sports [in some eyes] have brought home medals for Australia. My highlight today – the performance of Catherine Skinner, the Victorian Shooter who won Gold in the Women’s Trap competition. It was a tight battle against her Kiwi opponent, Natalie Rooney after a slow start, and perhaps a surprise win with her more favoured team mate, Laetisha Scanlon failing to get into the last six.

We also gained a Bronze Medal in the Diving Synchronised 3 metre Springboard competition [ Maddison Keeney and Annabelle Smith] finishing behind the Chinese and Italian duos.

Swimming today possibly didn’t meet some expectations – the Men’s 4 x 100 metre Relay team [James Roberts, Kyle Chalmers, James Magnussen & Cam McEvoy] finished a credible third behind the USA and France [with Michael Phelps of the USA at his 5th Olympics, collecting his 19th Gold Medal – incredible]. A disappointing note on the swimming – the question of doping made it’s presence felt – Mack Horton’s views about his Chinese opponent yesterday [banned in 2004] could have being left away from the Games, while the crowd’s adverse reaction to a female Russian swimmer [banned on two occasions] after she won her heat today, and then the ‘booing’ by the crowd of the Russian men’s relay team when they came out onto the pool deck was also a little disappointing, though to some degree, understood! Other Australian swimmers in today’s Finals – Emma McKeon finished 7th in the 100 metres Butterfly, while the Women’s 400 metres Freestyle Final saw Tamsin Cook [6th] and Jessica Ashwood [7th] in a race dominated by a World Record swim by the USA’s Katie Ledecky, who won the race 4 years ago in London as a 15 year old.

Other Australian performances today –   the Woman’s Cycling Road Race, won by Anne van der Breggan of the Nederlands, saw Amanda Spratt [15th] and Rachel Neylan [22nd]  –  in Tennis, Daria Gavrilova went down in 2 sets to Serena Williams, she and Sam Stosur lost a Double match to the Swiss pair in 3 sets, while Sam won her singles match against a Latvian girl, in 3 sets. The shock of the tennis tournament – Novak Djokovic defeated by Argentine’s De Potro in 2 sets  –   in Table Tennis, Jian Fang Lay won her second round match.

Amongst the team results  –  Rugby 7’s Women’s Quarterfinal, Australia defeated Spain 24-0 [after earlier finishing on top of their Group after just managing a 12-12 draw with the USA]  –  Women’s Beach Volleyball, the USA defeated Australia 2-0  –  Women’s Basketball, the Opals defeated Turkey 61-56  –  in Equestrian Team Dressage, Australia finished in 6th position behind Canada and New Zealand  –  while the Men’s Hockey team lost to Spain 1-0 [both our Hockey teams have now lost their first matches]

Interestingly, there were complaints made after the first day of rowing as to the rough conditions of the water with suggestions the first day’s competition should have been postponed but wasn’t because of TV commitments – well today, that competition was delayed for some hours because of the water conditions.



Bill’s Rio Olympic update No. 6: Day Four [8 August]-  intended only as a summary of some of Monday’s Australian performances and highlights, apologies to anyone readers think I should have included!.

Our highlight for Monday must be the win of the Women’s Rugby 7’s team in that competition – the ‘Pearls’   defeated Canada 17-5 in the Semi Final, then went on to win the Gold Medal, defeating arch rugby rival New Zealand 24-17. Canada went on to win the Bronze over Great Britain. Historic win for the girls –  first time the event in the Olympic Games, and the last time an Olympic rugby medal was won was by the USA men in 1921. The Men’s competition begins on Tuesday..

The women’s Hockey team continued their poor form,  with their second loss, this time 2-1 to the USA, will now have to hope they can make their way the hard way through the quarterfinals.

The Water Polo team [men] drew their match with Hungary 9-9 in a game which apparently proved to be more than just a fight for the ball!!  Meanwhile, our Men’s Basketball team, who have not yet won an Olympic medal, created a bit of history by winning their first two matches, today coming from behind with a 33-17 last quarter, to defeat a strong Croatian team 95-80. In Beach Volleyball, the Australian girls went down to Switzerland 2-1 [where would you find a beach in Switzerland?].

A few individual results from Monday’s events:

Tennis –  Sam Stosur has surprisingly won two matches in a row – she goes through to the 3rd round after defeating  Misaki Doi [Japan] in two sets. A courageous effort by John  Millman in the 2nd round of the Men’s Singles was not enough – he was defeated by Japan’s Kei Nishikori 7-6,6-4, after leading 5-2 in the first set and then 4-0 in the subsequent tie breaker, but class won out in the end. However, who needs Krygios or Tomic in the team,  when we had John,  who not only plays good tennis but is a gentleman off and on the court. Well done John Mills..

In the K1 heats of the Canoeing, our Jessica Fox has won her way into the semifinals after a slow start in the heats

The Women’s Eights [last minute inclusions in the rowing with the suspension of the Russians] have qualified through the Repechages to the next stage of their event. They only arrived in Brazil two days ago.

The Equestrian  Eventing competition continued with the ‘Cross Country’ section –  Australia’s Christopher Burton on ‘Santano II” performed beautifully demonstrating a wonderful partnership between horse and rider, and he currently sits at the top of the overall standings after the Dressage and Cross Country sections with the Jumps to come on Tuesday. In fact, Australia will go into the final day on the verge of claiming Gold in both the Team and Individual competitions. On that we shall wait and see.

Men’s 10m Air Rifle Shooting saw the Australians finish well down the list – Dane Sampsom [37th] and Jack Rossiter [46th].

In the Swimming events today, Australia were chasing more Gold, but had no success.- in the Women’s 100 metres Backstroke, the highly favoured  Emily Seebolm could only manage 7th, and Madison Wilson 8th, with her second Gold of the Meet going to the Hungarian swimmer, In the Men’s equivalent event, Mitch Larkin finished in 4th position behind the Americans, and Chinese competitors. More controversy with the Russian swimmer in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke Final – once again, booed as she came onto the pool deck, and just beaten for the Gold by an American much to the delight of the anti-Russian crowd!

Meanwhile, the sailing competitions commenced on Monday and will continue over the next few days. The Medal tally at the end of Monday sees  the USA and China on top with 5 Golds each, followed by Australia [4], and Italy, Japan and Hungary [all on 3 Golds[.


Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.7: Day Five [for Tuesday 9 August]- 

My highlight for Tuesday –  two swimming finals, and a young Australian swimmer. The vening swimming program in Rio commences after 10pm Brazil time [11am the following morning here in Eastern Australia].

Two star studded fields of superstars went out in the Women’s 200m Freestyle Final [with two Aussie girls] and the Men’s 200m Butterfly Final [no Australians in the field]. The women’s event saw a magnificent swim by Australia’s Emma McKeon to gain the Bronze Medal behind the American and Swedish champions, while Bronte Barratt, competing in this event for the 3rd time [3rd in 2008, 7th in 2012] came in equal 5th with a personal best time.  AS for the Men’s event, well, Michael Phelps was going for his 20th Gold Medal –  he’d won this event on the three previous occasions, holding both the World and Olympic records  –  and yes, he won again, 2o Gold Medals over four Games. An amazing effort!!.

While on Swimming, Kyle Chalmers [qualified 2nd] and Cam McEvoy [qualified equal 3rd] swam their way into Wednesday’s Men’s 100m Freestyle Final

Meanwhile  – in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley Final, the ‘Iron Lady’, Hungary’s Katinka  Hosszu [World and Olympic record holder in the event] won her third individual Gold Medal in four days [and a new Olympic record], while Australia’s Alicia Coutts finished 5th in her last Olympic final, after announcing retirement.

As for Michael Phelps – not finished yet – the Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final completed the night – the USA won that Relay [the 17th time they have done so]  – and Michael Phelps won his 21st Gold Medal, treated almost as a God by the crowd after the medal presentation for his earlier event. Australia’s Relay team of Thomas Fraser-Holmes, David McKeon, Daniel Smith & Cam McEvoy finished 4th behind the USA, United Kingdom and Japan.

Let’s continue today with the disappointments of the Games so far – the performances of our two Hockey teams, both having suffered two losses so far. The Australian Men’s Hockey team faced up to Belgium today –  watching some of these hockey matches is more frustrating than soccer, the scoring is so minimal. Once again, Belgium scored in the first quarter, and that was it  –  Belgium defeated Australia 1-0 [our second non-scoring match]!!

Meanwhile, watching one of the weightlifting competitions, it’s amazing to see a 69kg man lifting up to 180kgs above his head. One of those competitors today was from North Korea – I was wondering what awaits him back home, if he fails in his efforts [I guess the same thought applies to all Olympians from that country?]. Not much in the way of Australian weightlifters as in earlier years and no stand out representatives that I’m aware of.

Other team results from Tuesday –  in Water Polo [Women], Australia defeated the Russians 14-4.

In the Rugby 7’s Men’s competition, the Australians played two games –  we lost to France 31-14, but defeated Spain 26-12.

Basketball for Women –  the Australian ‘Opals’ were victors over France 89-71 [the Opals third win in a row].

Women’s Football saw the Matildas manage to move into the quarter finals with a 6-1 win over lowly ranked Zimbabwe.

In the Equestrian Eventing competition, Australia went into the third day with hopes of Gold medals in both the Team and Individual categories – those hopes didn’t eventuate, but we did pick up a Team Bronze Medal

after slipping back a little in Tuesday’s Jumping category – congratulations to Christopher Burton, Stuart Tinney, Shane Rose & Sam Griffitths. For winning the Team Bronze. Individual overall results saw Sam Griffiths [4th], Christopher Burton [5th], Stuart Tinney [22nd], and Shane Rose [eliminated],

There were a number of individual performances on Tuesday worth noting here  –

In Boxing, Daniel Lewis moved onto the next bout in the 75 kg division with a close win over Poland’s Jablonski.

Meanwhile, in the Women’s Singles of the Tennis, after an atrocious first set, Sam Stoser showed more fight in the second set in going down to World No. 2 Angelique Kerber [Australian Open winner] 6-0,7-5. I believe we are still alive in the Mixed Doubles competition to start on Thursday with Sam Stosur & John Peers teaming up.

In the quarter and semi finals of the Rowing events, a number of Australians have gone through – Spencer Perrin & Alexander Lloyd were 2nd in the Men’s Pairs semi-final, while in the Single Sculls quarter-finals, Rhys Grant [2nd], and Kimberley Brennan [1st] got through to the next stage.

In the Men’s Individual Archery, Taylor Worth has won his way into the quarter-finals, while Alice Ingley in through to the Round of 32.

In Judo, Katherine Haecker lost in the Round of 16 in the 63kg class, while Ean Loughlan lost in the Round of 32 in the Men’s 81 kg division.

Finally today, a sport we see little coverage of here, but which I consider quite an exciting event –  Handball – the leading nations in their respective groups at present are France and Denmark in Group A, and Germany and Slovenia in Group B.


Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.8: Day Six [for Wednesday 10 August]– 

Medals for Australia’s swimmers have been limited so far, but Wednesday found  a trio of medals. Probably no surprise that I’m suggesting a highlight of the day to be that of 18 year old Kyle Chalmer’s swim to win the Men’s 100m Freestyle, back around 7th as they turned for the second fifty, this young man [quietly spoken, conservative, a future outstanding sports ambassador] flew home to snatch the Gold Medal in the closing stages. The son of former Adelaide & Port Adelaide AFL player, Brett Chalmers, Kyle wisely chose swimming over football, and this race was the ultimate outcome – one can only imagine what the future holds for him.

My other highlight was the ‘Boomer’s’ performance against the USA, in Basketball, but I’ll get to that shortly. The Silver part of the Medal set, went to our Women’s 4 x 200 metres Relay team, coming in behind a powerful USA quartet, and ahead of Japan – Leah Neal, Emma McKeon, Bronte Barratt [her last swim before retirement] and the 17 year old Tasman Cook, a gutsy effort by Cook to hold on for second.  A second Silver went to Madison Groves in the Women’s 200m Butterfly.

On Tuesday, the efforts by the US’s Michael Phelps attracted some interesting statistics – one of those was the reflection that if Phelps were a ‘country’, he would rank 39th equal with Ethiopia in the all-time Olympic Gold Medal table, and at that stage, stands just two golds short of host Brazil’s all-time tally –  and has more targets on the horizon!!

Meanwhile, the media continues to make much of the ‘supposed clash’ between Australia’s Mack Horton and China’s Sun Yan – they come up against each other at the weekend in the 1500 metres swim. As reported elsewhere ‘the much maligned Yang has spent the past few years splashing from one controversy to the next, particularly during his time training in Australia. There has been a positive drug test, an assault allegation from a female swimmer at last year’s world championships, and driving offences at home in China….if a scripy were written for swimming’s version of a good versus evil tale, this may just be it’ [the 1500m race]. Both swimmers have already won a God Medal this week.

For the second day this week, the rowing events were postponed because of poor weather and the condition of the waterway. That weather also meant that conditions on the roads would be quite dangerous and slippery for the Men’s & Women’s Cycling Time Trial events. Following the crash in the road race the other day by Richie Porte, a sole competitor in the Men’s Time Trial was Rohan Dennis. He would finish out of the medals, in 5th place. In the Women’s event, Australia’s Katrin Garfoot finished 9th – the race won, for the third time by the USA’s Kirsten Armstrong, on the eve of her 43rd birthday, an amazing effort.

I mentioned basketball above –  the Men’s game, Australia versus USA was a ‘cracker’, and while the Americans eventually went on to win by 10 points [98-88] that was the biggest margin of the match, with for most of the first half, the Boomers in front.  The USA threatened to blow us away in the second half, but the Australians refused to go away, and constantly came to level the scores or get back in front. It was only in the closing minutes that the American domination of the sport was demonstrated. A wonderful effort by the Boomers, and proves that they are not just in Brazil to make up the numbers, they are after the Gold.

In the Men’s Hockey competition, the World No. 1 team [Australia] took until 10 minutes to go in their 3rd match of the tournament, against Great Britain, to score their first goal of the Games. They would that one up closely with a second, and then had to fight out a desperate attempt to draw the match by Great Britain, the final result, 2-1 to Australia.  In a must win game, after two unexpected losses,  the Women’s team [the Hockeyroos] thrashed India 6-1 and gave themselves a chance to progress into the quarterfinals in a few days.

Our Men’s Rugby 7’s team bowed out of the quarter finals. Having beaten South Africa earlier in the day with the score of 12-5, they would come up against that opponent again in the 4th Quarterfinal, but on that occasion were quickly out of the game [two x 7 minute halves], losing to South Africa 22-5. Other quarterfinal winners were Fiji, Japan and Great Britain.

In Men’s Water Polo, the Australians held out against Japan, to eventually win 8-6, with the score at 3-3 at halftime. The points for winning were needed following a close loss to Brazil, and that brutal drawn match with Hungary.

Women’s Beach Volleyball saw a win and a loss for Australia  –  Louise Bawden & Taliqua Clancy defeated a Nederlands duo over 3 sets, however the pair of Mariafe Artacho & Nicole Laird went down to China in 2 sets.

Looking at some other results on Wednesday – in Men’s Archery, Taylor Worth won his Round of 32 match 6-4;   in Shooting [Men’s 50m Pistol], Daniel Repacholi finished 28th,  and in the [Men’s Double Trap], James Willet finished 5th in the semifinal.

In the Sailing events which take place over 10 – 12 races, some of the Australian participants following Wednesday’s races,  stand as follows

  • Men’s Finn[dinghy] – Jake Lilley [15th];
  • Mixed nacre 17 – J Waterhouse & L Darmanin [4th];
  • Men’s Laser [dinghy] –  Tim Burton [5th];
  • Men’s 470 [dinghy] – W Ryan & N Belcher [2nd];
  • Women’s 470 [dinghy] – J Ryan & C Smith [13th];
  • Women’s Laser Radial[dinghy] – Ashley Stoddart [11th];

Obviously, there are numerous other competitions throughout the Games, many where there are few or no Australian representatives – if readers are interested in the progress of a particular sport, let the writer know, and we shall attempt to find an updated situation. For myself, the real interest begins on  Friday [Brazil time] when the Athletics program gets underway…………………….


Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.9: Day Seven [for Thursday 11 August]- 

A day of upbeat Australian hopes [by commentators and media anyway] which in most cases didn’t eventuate.

A different highlight today, for me! The Men’s Rugby 7’s competition was concluded. Australia playing for 7th/8th place were defeated by France 12-10.  The Bronze Medal game saw South Africa defeated Japan 54-14, while for the Gold Medal, Fiji were winners over Great Britain 43-7. It was emotional to watch the Fiji team members after the game – clustered together in a semi-circle, singing, praying and chanting [unfortunately not in English]. Then, I caught the end of the medal presentations – Gold Medals awarded to the Fiji players by Princess Anne, none of your normal handshakes or hugs/kisses on the cheeks etc –  as each medal was presented, the Fiji player [all of whom had to step down off the dais to allow Princess Anne to place the medals around their neck] then gave a small clap of the hands, which was reciprocated by the Princess in each case. She then walked the lines of Great Britain and South African players and shook each of their hands – not a gesture normally undertaken by the presenter of the Gold medals!  I thought that was all rather special.

A sport that I’d not normally associate with the Olympics commenced today – Golf, and after the completion of the 1st round, Australia’s Marcus Fraser leads the field by 3 strokes with a score of 8 under [63] ahead of a Canadian and Swedish competitor. There are three rounds leading up to the final. The Women’s event follows in a few days.

Our Women’s Basketball team won a tight game against Japan, 92-86 – the girls have now won their four preliminary matches with one to come against Belarus on Sunday in Group A of the competition.

The Women’s Hockey team continued with the form thy found against India, by defeating Argentina 2-1. That gives the girls 2 wins/2 losses with a final against Japan on Sunday.

Meanwhile, in Women’s Water Polo [Group A] Australia were defeated by Italy 8-7 – a win and loss to Australia with one preliminary game to come, again on Sunday against the host nation.

The Badminton competition began today. In the Women’s Singles [an indication through the names of the multi-cultural of many of our sports competitors] Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen of Australia went down to the Thai player 2-0. In the Men’s Doubles preliminaries, Matthew Chau & Sawan Serasinghe were defeated, though not thrashed, by the South Korea World No. 1 duo in two sets, 21-14,21-16. As a sidenote, have to admit that Badminton was one of  rare sports this writer ever had any kind of success in [well I called some of my results anyway!!] –  the other were my attempts [in fact fails] to emulate the long distance abilities of two of my younger brothers

The Gold Medal in the Men’ Singles of Table Tennis was between two Chinese competitors, with Ma Long defeating Zhang Jike  4-0. The Bronze went to Japan.

In the Rowing events, which have already lost two days due to bad water and weather conditions, there were hopes of Australian Gold today. I think sometimes our media builds up too high a prospect for many of our sportspeople, and we saw a few examples in different sports today. Certainly, in the Men’s Quad Gold Medal race, the Australian team of Girdlestone, McRae, Fosterling & Belonogoff went into the race as favorites, with the London Olympic winners Germany supposedly below form. Rowing from Lane 1, the Germans proved otherwise, and despite a gallant effort by the Aussies in the closing stages [having perhaps got a little too far back in the middle stages] went on to win back to back Gold Medal in that event. Estonia finished 3rd behind the Australian Silver medallists. In the Men’s Coxless Pairs, the Australian duo of Spencer Tarpin and Alexander Lloyd finished 6th in the final. Meanwhile a brave effort by Australia’s Woman’s 8 in a Reperchage race to get into the final, though finishing 5th and not qualifying – three weeks ago, the girls were not even scheduled to be in Rio.

Popular canoist, Jessica Fox, competed in the Final of the Women’s Kayak Single Canoe Slalom for the second Olympics in a row [she won Silver at London] –  Jessica won another medal, this time Bronze, finishing behind competitors from Spain and New Zealand. Another wonderful effort by Jess.

An update on the Sailing competition – in the Men’s 470 Dinghy event, Australians W Ryan and M Belcher are second overall behind Croatia after 3 races. In the Mixed Nacra 17 [multihull] event the Australian pair of  J Waterhouse & L Darminanare in the lead after 4 races

For the fans of Synchronised Swimming [not a choice I’d make if other viewing was available] the Women’s Duet competition commences at 12 am on Monday, our time, while the Team event commences at 2am on Friday, 19th.

In Women’s Gymnastics – the All-Round Final went to Simone Biles [USA}.

Track Cycling is now underway, and In the Men’s Team Sprint, Australia [P. Constable, N Hart & M Glaetzer] lost the Bronze Medal ride off against France. Gold & Silver went to Great Britain, over New Zealand.

In Judo – the Men’s 100kg division saw another Gold Medal go to Azerbaijan – it is countries like that that seem to often pick up medals in sports such as Judo, where countries like Australia, where the emphasise is on the more traditional and favoured sports, seldom feature. The official Olympic Games Guide didn’t even have a feature article about Judo, for example, or sports such as Handball which I find disappointing!

Finally today, a look at the Swimming Finals. Yesterday, we felt there was little more to be said about US swimmer Michael Phelps –  but, he is Michael Phelps, and today he won his 22nd Gold Medal in winning the Men’s 200m Individual Medley final, ahead of Japan and China, with his supposed main challenger, Ryan Lochte [also of the US and World Record holder and World Champion] falling back to miss a medal. As for Phelps, this was the 4th time he had won this particular event since 2004, and after receiving his medal today, was back in the pool, swimming a close second in the 100m Butterfly semifinal –  we haven’t seen the end of him yet!! Meanwhile, Australian competitors in swimming finals today  were – Taylor McKeown, 5th in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke, while Mitchell Larkin swam his way to a Silver Medal in the Men’s 200m Backstroke final, behind a strong American.

I hinted earlier that I felt there was too much commentator hype about some of our hopes –  I think the Campbell sisters [Cate and Bronte] were a classic example of that, and being featured in regular promos, advertisements, etc [I think they were the 7 network mascots]. Today, a bit historic, they both swam in the final of the Women’s 100m Freestyle, and I guess all supporters of Australia were hoping one or other of them could follow on from Kyle Chalmers win the day before. Some commentators even had them dead heating for first!!! Certainly on form and 1 and 2 placing was not out of this world.  So yes, we did get a dead heat – but not the one dreamed of  –  between Simone Manual [USA] and Penny Oleksiak [Canada], with the Bronze going to Sarah Sjostrom [Sweden]. Where were Cate and Bronte [6th and 4th respectively], described as a ‘boilover’ by the Channel 7 commentator. It was interesting to see the 8 finalists in the ‘waiting’ area before the race, there seemed a great deal of camaraderie between most of the girls particularly the Campbell sisters  – good for the sporting aspect, but perhaps a little more serious approach at that stage may have been wiser [it wasn’t exactly a school swim meet!!]. My view anyway.

Medal standings after today’s competition shows  [Gold, Silver, Bronze, Totals]

USA:                    16  –  12  – 10   [38]

China:                 11   –   8  –  11  [30]

Japan:                   7   –   2  –   13  [22]

AUSTRALIA:         5   –   4   –   6   [15]

Followed by South Korea and Hungary [5 Gold each]  and Russia, Great Britain and Germany [4 Gold each]



Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.10: Day Eight [for Friday 12 August]- 

The athletic track & field program began today with a substantial Australian team attempting to improve on earlier Olympic results. Though sadly, with today’s events, we seemed to have no representatives qualified in some of them. To me, athletics is the most identifiable part of the Olympic Games, despite in Australia’s case, the bulk of medals usually accruing from swimming, cycling, etc. Athletics typifies the Olympic motto of ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ [Faster, Higher, Stronger]. A total of 47 events [24 Men and 23 Women] will be contested.

Today, the first four events of the Women’s Heptathlon were held – I was disappointed that Australia didn’t have a competitor! Held over two days, the Heptathlon consists of seven track & field events with a points system which awards higher scores for the better results in each category, the final total gives us the winner. On Day 1 [today] those events were he 100m hurdles, High Jump, Shor Put and 200m [Day 2 has the Long Jump, Javelin and the 800 metres].

At the end of Day One of the Heptathlon, which began with 31 starters, the British competitor, Jessica Ennis-Hill was leading the competition of 1,14 points.

Field events today were as follows:

Men’s Discus – Australians Ben Harradine [6085m] and Matthew Denny [61.16m] both failed to qualify for the Final.  Women’s Shotput [again, no Australian competing] saw the qualifying rounds. The Men’s Long Jump qualifying rounds saw both Henry Frayne[8.01m] and Fabrice Lapierre [7.96m] win their way through to the final tomorrow, qualifying in 6th and 8th position, with the best qualifying throw coming from Wang of China with 8.24m. The Women’s Hammer Throw [no Australia] ended Round 1 with a best throw of 76.93 metres by the Polish competitor.

Track events today were:

Women’s 1500m qualifying heats – Lindon Hall finished 6th in Heat 1, Jenny Blunden finished 8th in her heat , while the 3rd Australian, Zoe Buchanan also qualified 6th in her heat., all three qualifying for the semi-final round.  The Men’s 800m qualifying events saw Luke Matthews, 7th in Heat 2, Jeff Risely, 4th in Heat 6 and Peter Bol, 6th in Heat 7. None of them qualified for the semi-finals.  The Women’s 10,000m Final, with a big starting field of 37 runners,  saw the usual dominance of the African runners, with girls from Ethiopia, Kenya and Ethiopia raking the medals, while Australia’s Eloise Wellings finished in 10th place with a personal best time. Commentator, Bruce McEvaney,  in his usual over statement, described the race as the greatest ever!!!!! Admittedly, the African runners always produce something spectacular in their distance running.

The Men’s 20 km Walk saw a successful outcome for one of Australia’s representatives, Dane Bird-Smith who finished strobgly into 3rd position and the Bronze Medal behind two Chinese walkers –  he gave an emotional, genuine and humble interview afterwards, not so his father and coach, who became so excited in trying to get to his son at the end of the race, that he was arrested by Brazilian, and was still in court when his son was presented with his medal!!  Our second walker, Rhydian Cowley, finished in 33rd position.

Qualifying heats were held also for the Women’s 100m event – Melissa Breen finished 7th in Heat 7[in 11.74 secs]. The fastest qualifier was Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica in 10.96 secs.  The Men’s 400m qualifying heats again had no Australian representative – the fastest qualifier after Round 1 was Kirani James of Grenada in 44.93secs This is one of the tougher ‘short’ races on the program – I know from personal experience [many years ago in Ballarat on a few occasions!!!].

There were some Australian disappointments at Rio today. The biggest loss for me was that of the Women’s Football team – well fancied to win the tournament, our ‘Matildas’ went out to Brazil in the Quarter Final – with the score still at 0-0 after extra time, the match was decided by a penalty shootout, best of 5. That got to 4-4 when the Brazilian goal keeper missed an Australian shot, leaving our next penalty taker with the chance to win the game for Australia. Her shot was saved, and the shootout continued, until tragically for our girls, Brazil went on to win the shoot out 7-6, and proceed to the semi-final. Other Quarter final winners were Germany defeated China 1-0;Canada defeated France 1-0, and Sweden defeated the USA after penalties also when their score was locked together at 1-1. Not a day of big scores!!

In Archery, for the Men’s Individual title, our team winning gold medallist, Taylor Worth, found himself in a losing quarter final against the Korean champion, going down 6-5. The medal winners were South Korea, France and the USA.

Rowing finals on the program today, and more disappointment in the Final of the Men’s Four event – Will Lockwood, Josh Dunkley-Smith, Josh Bruce & Alex Hill] were in it for the Gold Medal, but they just fell short in the 2000 metre race to the highly fancied team from Great Britain, with Italy taking the Bronze. A great effort by the lads nevertheless. The other three finals today featured no Australian finalist with the Nederlands winning the Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls, France in the Men’s equivalent race, and Great Britain won the Women’s Pairs. IN the semi-finals of the Singles Sculls, Rhys Grant finished 5th and missed out on the final, while Kimberley Brennan won her event, and looks a real possibility in the Final tomorrow.

Shooting competition results  – in the Men’s 50mRifle Prone Final, our two men finished 31st [Dane Sampson] and 35th [Warren Portent]. The event was won by Germany over South Korea. In the Women’s Skeet Final, the Gold & Silver went to Italy, while our Aislin Jones finished in 17th position.

A couple of Australians featured in Boxing today.  In the Men’s 75kg Middleweight Division, Danny O’Brien, in a bout to get to the quarter final, was beaten by the boxer from Uzbekistan.  Meanwhile, in the Women’s 60kg division, Shelley Watts lost to an Italian woman.

Round 2 of the Men’s Golf tournament was completed today –  Australia’s Marcus Fraser finished with 2 under for the day to take his score to 1o under, and leads the competition [on 132]  by one stroke from Thomas Pieters of Belgium.  Australia’s Scott Hend is on 143.

In the Tennis competition, the Mixed Doubles saw the end of Sam Stoser and John Peers, defeated by the Indian pair.

Some other Team sports results included:

Men’s Hockey – unfortunately for the Olympic hosts,  they found  the Kookaburras in hot form – the Australians defeated Brazil 9-0.

Men’s Basketball  –  Australia defeated China 93-68, and the Men have now won 3, lost 1 in their pool.

Men’s Water Polo –  this saw a very tight match against a tough Serbian team  – at halftime, Australia leading 5-4, at three quartertime 6-6 all, but after that break,  the team from Croatia exerted it’s greater experience to defeat the Australians 10-8. Australia’s final preliminary match will be against Greece.

Track Cycling continued today, and there were two finals. This program saw the first appearance of Anna Mears ‘the lady of the track’ – a ten time world champion across various disciplines and winner of five Olympic medals.  I’ve earlier referred to the accident she suffered in 2008, when she broke her neck, dislocated her shoulder and tore ligaments and tendons. Within 19 days she was back on the bike, but had to endure  intensive rehabilitation, but recovered in time to win a Silver Medal at the Beijing Games that year.

In today’s event – the Women’s Team Sprint, Anna teamed up with Stephanie Morton and hopes were high for a medal. This event is where a team of two women race for two laps [the equivalent Men’s race has 3 men over 3 laps]. The girls were defeated by a German du for the Bronze Medal [by .02secs]. The Gold went to China over Russia.  The Men’s Team Pursuit consists of two team teams in each contest leading up to Bronze and Gold Medal contests, of 4 riders – the teams start on opposite sides of the velodrome [cycling track] and race in laps equally of a distance of 4000 metres.  After the preliminary rounds today, the Australian team of Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn,, Alexander Edmondson & Sam Welsford came up against the powerful Great Britain team which included multi-medal winner Bradley Wiggins. Australia came into this event aimed at the Gold Medal, but they would be disappointed, and were beaten for the second Games in a row by the British team. Australia went into that race as World Champions, the British as Olympic Champions, and in the finish, both teams today broke the previous World Record , the winning time 3.50.26  In the Men’s Sprint, preliminaries were held today, and these saw Matthew Glaetzer win his heat and move into the round of 16, while Patrick Constable moved through after winning his reperchage race.

Today’s Swimming finals didn’t achieve any medals for the Australian team, who appeared to have performed below par. In the final of the Women’s 200 metre Backstroke, Belinda Hocking came in 5th behind the USA, Hungary and Canada – the Hungarian swimmer, Katinka Hosszu, was trying to win her 4th individual Gold Medal for the Games, she was just beaten by the American. In the Women’s 800 metres Freestyle race, we saw an awesome performance by the 19 year old American, Katie Ledesty, who led the whole 16 laps, and won by a margin of  almost 12 seconds in a new World Record of 8.04.79. Australia’s Jessica Attwood swam gamely into 5th place in a time of 8.20.32. Ledesty had already won the 200 and 400 metre events.  The Men’s 50 metre Freestyle Final – won by the USA. Australia’s prospect, Cam McEvoy had only managed a 7th in the semifinal the previous day.

The Final of the Men’s 100 metre Butterfly [with no Australians in the field] had Michael Phelps going for Gold Medal No. 23. He had won this event in the previous three Olympic Games. Interestingly, just before the race, a picture of him with an 8 year old boy, taken about 10 years ago, was shown on the screen. That boy was Singapore starter in the race, Joseph Schooling.   Phelps was beaten in the race –  by Joseph Schooling, who gave Singapore it’s first ever Gold Medal in any sport in the Olympic Games. While Phelps didn’t win, he was again part of history – there was a three-way tie for the Silver Medal with the swimmers from Hungary and South Africa. An amazing result.

Obviously, there are many other sports and competitions at the Games – I am trying to cover most of those in which Australians are represented.



Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.11: Day Nine [for Saturday 13 August]- 
A great Saturday of sport at the end of Rio’s first week.
Our highlight – would have to be the effort of Kimberley Brennan.
Rowing – Women’s Single Sculls Final – our Australian girl has worked long and hard for this one [her brother won a Pairs Gold a couple of Games ago]. She collected a Silver and Bronze in different boats at London. Today she went out fast to an early lead and maintained that lead for the race duration, winning in 7.21.54 over the USA and China. A wonderful effort, and brought Australia it’s 6th Gold Medal. In the Men’s Single Sculls, the Gold was won by New Zealand over Croatia – bit of confusion at the finish when a dead heat was assumed with both having the same recorded time, but a photo was able to separate them. The Men’s and Women’s Eights were won by Great Britain, and the USA respectively.
Today’s Track Cycling featured three main events. Qualifying and finals of the Women’s Kieran race were held – an interesting event, the Kieran Pursuit originated in Japan, and involves an electric bike [called a demy] which goes around the circuit and sets a pace. Riders all start at the same time and must follow the gradually increasing speed of the demy until there are only two laps to go, at which point the demy leaves the track, and the riders sprint at breakneck pace for the win. In the 1st Round today, Anna Meares finished 2nd in her heat, Stephanie Morton, was 5th and then 2nd in a subsequent Reperchage. In Round 2, Anna won, but her time forced her into a ride for the Bronze Medal which she subsequently won. The Gold and Silver went to the Nederlands and Great Britain. In the Women’s Team Pursuit race, the Australian team [of G Baker, A Ankudinoff, A Edmondson, A Cure & M Hoskins] finished in the race for 5th & 6th place, defeating Italy to gain the 5th spot. The medals went to Great Britain, USA & Canada. The Men’s Sprint finals concluded the program – our riders, Patrick Constable and Matthew Glaetzer, both missed out on the medals. . Constable finished 8th overall, while Great Britain took out the Gold and Silver medals, with Russia collecting the Bronze in defeating Glaetzer.
A few individual and team events today:-
Shooting – the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Final, saw David Chapman finish 26th, where medals went to Germany, France & China in that order. The Men’s Skeet Final resulted in a Gold Medal win for Italy over Sweden. Keith Ferguson [10th] and Paul Adams [19th] represented Australia.
In Women’s Hockey, Australia defeated Japan 2-0, and finished 3rd in their Group.
In Women’s Water Polo, our girls had a strong win over Brazil 10-3, while the Women’s Basketball team defeated Belarus 74-66, and from that win, earned a finish at the top of their Group.
Australia’s sole male lifter competed today in the Weightlifting Men’s 94 kg Division, Simplice Ribouem. He was placed 5th in his Group, and finished 13th overall in that competition which was won by Iran ahead of Belarus and Lithuania.
In the Badminton competition, in the Men’s Doubles preliminaries, Chinese Taipei defeated the Australian duo of M Chau & S Serasinghe 2-1.
The Men’s Golf tournament ended Round 3 with Australia’s Marcus Fraser retaining his one stroke lead over the competitor from Belgium, and two strokes ahead of the Swedish golfer.
The Gymnastics Trampoling event saw Australia’s Blake Gaudry finish in 13th position.
The Women’s Tennis Singles medals were decided today. For the Gold Medal, Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig defeated this year’s Australian Open champion, Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-4,4-6,6-1 – the first Puerto Rican Gold Medal in Olympic history. The Bronze medal was won by Petra Kvitora [Czech Rep] in 2 sets over Madison Keys [USA]. It was a wonderful result in the Men’s Semi Final Singles match – the Argentinian Juan Martin Del Potro defeated Rafael Nadal [Spain] 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, and he will meet Andy Murray [Great Britain] who defeated Kel Nishikori of Japan in 2 sets in the other Semi Final.
The Men’s Football Quarter Final scores were – Nigeria defeated Denmark 2-0, Germany defeated Portugal 4-0, Brazil defeated Colombia 2-0, and Honduras defeated South Korea 1-0 – the semi-finals to be Brazil vs Honduras, and Nigeria vs Germany.
The Women’s Beach Volleyball competition today saw the Australian duo of Bawden and Clancy win their way into the quarter finals with a two sets to one win over the Polish pair in the last of their Round of 16 matches.
Today, we finally saw the conclusion of the Swimming program. This continued with the week-long trend of the Australian team overall performing below par, certainly as far as the ‘experts’ had been predicting – built up as ‘the darlings of our swimming conscience’ I feel our media, commentators and probably the public expectations demand too much of our young swimmers who are treated as heroes almost as soon as they start to compete. Before the Games, the team was described as one of the strongest international teams we had sent to the Games, but the results didn’t demonstrate that, nor the prediction that we would head the medal tally, just look at the outcome below [ Gold – Silver – Bronze – Totals]
USA: 16-8-9- [33]
Australia: 3-4-3- [10]
Hungary : 3-2-2- [7]
Japan: 2-2-3 – [7]
Anyway, today’s results: the over publicised Campbell sisters swum in the Final of the Women’s 50 Metres Freestyle – they finished 5th [Cate] and 7th [Bronte]. The winner was Denmark, in 24.07 secs, ahead of the USA – this was in fact Denmark’s first Gold Medal in the Pool since 1948.
In the Men’s 1500 Metres Freestyle, in which the Australian competitor was built up as a medal prospect, Mack Horton [Gold Medal winner of a few days ago] finished back in 6th place behind a mighty command performance by Gregorio Pattrinieri of Italy in a time of 14.34.57, just below the world record, which for much of the race, he was ahead of. Horton suggested his error was swimming in the previous day’s relay final!
The program finished with two relays, Australia represented in both. The Women’s 4 x 100 Medley Relay – the Australians – Emily Seebolm [who’d had a disappointing week after a successful career], Taylor McKeown, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell – were well out of the medals at the end of the third leg, however a wonderful redeeming swim by Cate in the last leg, brought the Aussies from 5th into a Silver medal finish, behind the USA, a gutsy finish. It was a similar outcome in the Final of the Men’s 4 x 100 Medley Relay – our quartet of Mitch Larkin, Jake Packard, David Morgan and Kyle Chalmers [Gold Medal winner], were also behind the eight ball at the end of the 3rd leg, but a brilliant last leg swim by the 18 year old Chalmers , dragged the team up into the Bronze Medal position behind the USA and Great Britain.
Day Two of the Athletics program took place today and a summary of events follows:
Men’s Discus Final – Australians Brian Harradine [60.85m] and Matthew Denny [61.16m] finished 19th and 20th in the qualifying rounds. The Gold Medal went to Christoph Harting of Germany [68.37m] ahead of throwers from Poland and Germany.
The Men’s 100 metres [no Aussies] Preliminary & First Round Heats were held – the World and Olympic records are 9.58 secs & 9.63 secs. Interestingly, the preliminaries consisted of 3 heats with representatives from a number of the smaller nations, with the fastest time recorded there being 10.43 secs by Hassan Saaid of the Maldives, and he earned a place in the semi-finals with the big boys, which of course, included Usain Bolt of Jamaica [10.07 secs] and fastest Round result by Justin Gatlin [USA] in 10.01secs. The semi-finals and Final occur on Monday
Women’s Triple Jump. [again,no Aussies] – the qualification round saw a best jump of 14.52m by the Colombian competitor, the Final due on Monday.
The Women’s 3,000 Metre Steeplechase, always an exciting spectacle, saw two of the three Australian girls qualify for Tuesday’s Final – Madeleine Hills, 6th in her heat, and Genevieve La Gaze, 2nd in her heat, both made the Final, while Victoria Mitchell, finished 10th in her heat. The fastest time of the heats was 9.12.63 by the runner from Bahrain.
The Women’s 400 Metres, saw both our girls qualify for the Semi-finals – Morgan Mitchell [an Indigenous runner with a bubbly personality, and inspired by Cathy Freeman] finished 2nd in her heat [51.30 secs], while Annaliese Rubie finished 3rd in her heat [51.92 secs]. The fastest heat time was 50.58 secs by the USA athlete. Finals on Tuesday.
The Men’s Long Jump help hopes for Australian medals – but was not to be. Fabrice Lapierre and Henry Frayne made it to the final 12 – Lapriere was first to go out, finishing in 10th position in the final with a throw of 7.87m [well below his best]. Frayne would finish in 7th position [8.06m] behind the eventual winner, Jeff Henderson of the USA [throwing 8.38m], followed by South Africa and Great Britain. Disappointing outcome for the Australians.
The Men’s 10,000 Metres – this event is always my favorite Athletics race, and is generally one of the most spectacular races usually generated by the runners directly from, or originating from the African continent. The London winner was Mohamad Farah representing Great Britain – partway through today’s race [in which 34 starters set out on the 25 laps of the track], Farah fell, but picked himself up, and continued with the race. A wise move. He went on to win the Gold in a time of 27.05.17 ahead of the runners from Kenya and Ethiopia. The Australians in the race were – David McNeill, ran a great race to finish 16th in 27.87.71, and Ben St. Lawrence, who finished 28th in 28.46.32. Interestingly, with 9 laps to go, of the first 20 runners at that stage, 18 of them were of African origin, while David MCNeill was sitting in 21st position at the time.
Women’s 100 Metres, always one of the glamour events of the Games – with an existing World Record of 10.49 secs, the Gold Medal went to Elaine Thompson [Jamaica] in 10.71 secs ahead of Tori Bowie [USA] in 10.83 secs and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce [Jamaica] 10.86 secs – the latter trying to win this event for the third time.
Men’s Pole Vault qualifying [won previously by Australia’s Steve Hooker] saw Australia’s Kurtis Marschall finish 10th in his Group with a leap of 5.60m, and overall, 15th, meaning he didn’t qualify for Tuesday’s final. The best jump today was 5.70m.
Men’s 400 Metres Semi-finals produced a fastest run of 44.02secs by Kirani James of Grenada, and that Final will also be held on Monday
Similarly the Semi-finals of the Men’s 800 Metres were run – the fastest time was that of the runner from France in 1.43.86 [against the World Record of 1.40.91], that Final to be held on Tuesday.
Finally, the Woman’s Heptathlon, second day of competition with the last three of the seven events that make up the competition – Long Jump, Javelin and the 800 Metres. Unexpectedly, the favorite was beaten after leading into the last event. Nafissatou of Belgium won Gold with 6,810 pts, over Great Britain’s Jessica Ennis-Hill [6775 pts] and Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton [6653]. Ennis-Hill had being the title holder.
History created – three countries have so far won their first Olympic Gold Medals ever – Fiji [Men’s Rugby 7’s], Singapore [Swimming] and Puerto Rico [Women’s Tennis].
More tomorrow…………………………..



Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.12: Day Ten [for Sunday 14 August]- 
I might begin today’s update on the Men’s Golf competition –  for the first rounds, Australia’s Marcus Fraser seemed to be in a great position to take out the title, in front for first couple of days, then down to third during the final round, and suddenly slipping out of contention. In the end, the Gold Medal went to Justin Rose [Great Britain, total 201], from Henrik Stenson [Sweden, 202], while Fraser slipped down to 5th position overall.

Meanwhile, my highlight of the day belongs to athletics, and in particular, the Men’s 400 Metres race., The Final was held in the evening session –  the existing World Record was 43.18secs, established in 1999 [the Olympic Record 43.49 secs]. It was a magnificent run by the winner, running ‘almost blind’ [to his opponents at the start] running from Lane 8 on the outside, South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk produced a ‘golden moment’ for his country – racing away from the two more favoured runners, one the previous winner to produce a new World Record of 43.03 secs  –  winning from Kerani James [Jamaica] and LaShawn Merritt of the USA. And after the run – none of the showmanship that we were soon to get after the next race – Van Niekerk was straight over to his family support where he remained for some time – a big winning margin followed by a humble acceptance of the fact.

The Men’s 100 metre Final followed soon afterwards –  a World Record of 9.58 secs [Olympic Record 9.63secs], and as usual a strong field of the fastest eight men in the world – though most eyes on Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, the ‘darling’ of the crowd [and unabashed hero of Australia’s commentating team], while from the USA, Justin Gatlin [involved in various doping misdemeanours since the 2000’s, received a rather ‘frosty’ from the pro-Jamaica crowd].  Bolt had gained the fastest time in the semi-finals  [9.84secs] – of the original 24 starters in those three semi-finals, 19 of them had broken the 10 seconds fpr the race. In the Final, Catlin actually got out to a brilliant start, and for the first 40 metres, it looked ominous for Bolt, who appeared to have almost being last out of the starting blocks,  but then he turned on his engine, and it was suddenly all over, and Usain Bolt had won his third 100 Metre Gold Medal in a row. His time – 9.81 secs, from Gatlin [9.89 secs] and Andre De Grasse of Canada third in 9.91 secs. Of course that wasn’t the end of it for Bolt –  we then had a long protracted series of celebrations [which the crowd, and Channel7 obviously adored] – in contrast with the South African winner, here we had pure showmanship, arrogance, popularism, as he reaches the ‘top of the mountain’ once again, it’s all about him – yet apparently, the crowds,

And even his opponents love him!!

The day’s program began with the Women’s Marathon, over 42 kilometres – a huge starting list of 141 runners, from 80 different countries [and apparently including triplets from Estonia I believe!!]. We had three Australian girls competing, and they finished as follows  –  Milly Clarke, 18th in 2hrs 30mins 53secs, Jessica Trengrove [sister of AFL Melbourne footballer] 22nd in 2:31:44, and Lisa Jane Weightman in 2:34:41. Meanwhile the winner from Kenya [Jemima Jelagat Sumgong] completed the run in 2:24:04, with runners from Bahrain and Ethiopia filling out the minor placings. In actual time difference, our girls were not that far behind. With such a large field, there were some great overhead camera shots of the race at different stages.

In the Women’s 400 metre Semi-finals, Australia had two competitors. In the 2nd semi-final, the excitable and bubbly Indigenous girl, Morgan Mitchell finished last in 52.68 secs. Ammaliese Rubie, competing in the 3rd  semi-final, finished 6th in 51.96 secs. The fastest time recorded into the final  was by Allyson Felix of the USA in 49.68 secs  [the current World Record stands at 47.60 secs].

Australia had, what was possibly a record number of starters in the Women’s 1500 Metre semi-finals  The fastest time came from the Ethiopian runner in 4.03.06. Unfortunately, none of our girls qualified for the Final. Lindon Hall and Zoe Buckman finished 8th and 9th in their semi-final with times of 405:81 and 4:06:95, while in the other semi, Jenny Blundell finished 11th in 4:13:25   .

The Men’s High Jump qualifying rounds took place, with two Australians in the field. Brandon Starc [brother of Test cricketer Mitchell] achieved a height of 2.29m, while young Joel Baden jumped 2.17m. The leader at the end of the qualification round was Canada’s Derek Droin with a leap of 2.29m. Starc made it into the final group, the event to be held on Wednesday.

The Women’s Triple Jump Final was completed. Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia won the Gold [with a jump of 15.17m] ahead of competitors from Venezuela and Kazakhstan. Sadly again, no Australians.

In the Equestrian Individual Jumping event, Edwina Tops-Alexander  [0 penalties] qualified for Friday’s Final. Scott Lach [4 penalties], and Matt Williams & James Paterson-Robinson each had 8 penalties.

Tennis Finals were held today. The Men’s Singles Final saw Andy Murray of Great Britain finally overcome the brave Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro 3 sets to 1..  The Bronze Medal went to Kel Nishikori of Japan over Rafal Nadal of Spain , 2 sets to 1. The Women’s Doubles Final was won by B Makarova & E Vesmine [Russia] defeating the Swiss pair of Martina Hingus & T Baesinszky, 2 sets to 0. A Czech pair won the Bronze Medal. In the Mixed Doubles Final, two American pairs played for Gold & Silver – with J Sock & B Mattek-Sands defeating Venus Williams & R Ram 2 sets to 1. While the Bronze medal went to   the Czech Republic over India.

In Shooting today, in the Men’s 50m Rifle, 3 positions, the medals went to Italy, Russia and France. In the qualification round, Dane Sampson finished 20th, and William Godward, was 39th.

Men’s Water Polo saw Australia defeat Greece 12-7 in it’s final preliminary match, which we had to win, and then depend upon other results if we were to proceed. Unfortunately, the Australians did not get through to the Quarter Finals, to be held on Wednesday. In the Women’s Water Polo, Australia will play Hungary in a Quarter Final match on Wednesday, at 4.30am  AEST.

The Men’s Hockey Quarter Finals were played today –  the Australian had begun the tournament with high hopes of success, but a poor start gave them a tough quarterfinal match. Results were:  Netherlands defeated Australia 4-0; Belgium defeated India 4-1; Argentina defeated Spain 2-1; and Germany defeated New Zealand 3-2. The Women’s Hockey team will play New Zealand tonight at 11pm AEST in the Quarter Final.

In Men’s Basketball, the Men’s competition almost witnessed a shock loss to the USA team –  the USA eventually defeated France 100-77. In Australia’s final preliminary game, they defeated Venezuela 81-56.Australia will feature in Thursday’s quarter final against a yet to be determined opponent,  In Women’s Basketball, the Australian girls will face Serbia on Wednesday in the Women’s quarter final..

Today’s Diving event was the Women’s 3m Springboard Final in which two Australian girls featured in the final. While Medals went to China [Gold & Silver] and Italy, the Australians finished 5th [Maddison Keeney] and 6th [Esther Qin]

Cycling at the Velodrome continued today.  In the Men’s Sprint Final,. Patrick Constable finished in 8th position. The Gold Medal race saw Jason Kenny of Great Britain defeat his teammate Callum Skinner, while the Bronze went to Dennis Dmitriev [Russia], defeating Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer.

In the Women’s Sprint, Stephanie Morton and Anna Meares lost their Round of 32 rides, while Anna went onto win  her Repechage event,  while Stephanie finished 2nd in hers. Anna was subsequently beaten in her Round of 16 ride. Quarter and semi-finals take place on Tuesday.

The Men’s Ominium event commenced today. This event takes place over two days and is made up of six events, three on each day. The winner is determined from points earned during those events. They are a Scratch race of 15kms for men [10kms for women]; an individual pursuit race of 4 kms for men [3kms for women], an elimination race which is a mass start where the last rider crossing the line every two laps is eliminated, time trial races [1km for men, 500 metres for women], the flying lap – a race against the clock with a flying start, and, the points race where men cover 40kms [women 25kmns], the final placing is determined by the accumulated points won by riders in intermediate sprints and by laps gained on the main field. After the first three events held today, the standings see cyclists from France and Italy in the lead followed by England’s Mark Cavendish [trying to win the one trophy that has eluded him]. Australia’s Glenn O’Shea, a bit of afancy for the overall race is currently sitting in 7th position, on 76 points [the leader has 106 points].

The Women’s Beach Volleyball Quarterfinals commenced today – Australia’s duo of T Clancy & L Bawden came up against the Americans [K Walsh Jennings and April Ross] – the match didn’t actually commence until midnight, Rio time, which didn’t seem to worry the locals!! The Aussie girls began strongly, but it was not long before the Americans exerted their superiority and went on to win in two sets – 21-14,21-16.

Some progressive Sailing results -. For finalsdu over the next couple of days.

Men’s 470 [Dinghy] – W Ryan & M Belcher currently placed 2nd;  Men’s 49er Skiff – N Outteridge & I Jensen in 6th position;  Women’s Laser Radial [dinghy]  – Ashleigh Stoddart is 9th;  and Women’s 470 [dinghy]  – J Ryan & C Smith, 11th; Mixed Nacra 17 [multihull] – J Waterhouse & L Darminan are placed in 4th position;

In Gymnastics, Max Whitlock [Great Britain] won Gold in the Men’s Pommel Horse; Russia’s Aliya Mustafina won Gold in the Women’s Uneven Bars; Simone Biles won the Women’s Vault for the USA; while Max Whitlock also won the Men’s Floor Exercise.

Synchronized Swimming , not exactly a ‘sport’ that turns this writer, however that competition commenced today, and the Australian standings in the Duet ended as follows – N. Pablo & R Stackpole were 24th in the Free Routine category after Day 1 of competition. The leading countries were Russia, China and Japan.

Football semi-finals for the Men are on Thursday [Brazil vs Honduras, and Nigeria vs Germany],  while the Women’s semi-finals are on Wednesday between Brazil & Sweden, and Germany & Canada.

Handball quarter finals will be played on Tuesday [Women] and Wednesday [Men], those results will appear as they occur.

Incidentally, my ‘Day Numbering’ commences from the Friday of the Opening Ceremony – there were Archery competitions on earlier that day. I believe the 7 Network regarded the Saturday after the O.C. as day One!!



Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.13: Day 11 [for Monday 15 August]- 

Into Week 2 of the 2016 Olympic Games, and from an Australian perspective [the direction in which these updates have been written], many of the predictions of success in certain disciplines have not borne fruition. Today, we lost two more of our teams, one highly fancied!


In Women’s Hockey, a big disappointment there, with our team, and joining the highly regarded Men’s team on the sidelines. Quarterfinals in this competition today –  Australia up against our neighbour, who proved too strong on the day –  New Zealand defeated Australia 4-2, to go into the semi-finals. The other quarter final results saw  Germany defeat the USA 2-1, Great Britain winners over Spain 3-1, and the Netherlands defeated Argentina 3-2.   The Semi-final line-up will; be Netherlands vs Germany, and Great Britain vs New Zealand, to be played on Thursday.


In the Women’s Water Polo competition, the Australian girls were defeated in their Quarter Final by Hungary, in a reasonably close finish 13-11, disappointment for the Aussie girls. Other quarter final results were USA defeated Brazil 13-3, Russia defeated Spain 12-10, and Italy defeated China 12-10. The Semi-finals will be Hungary vs USA, and Russia vs Italy, also due on Thursday.


The Women’s Open Water Swimming[Marathon] race was held this morning over a distance of 10 kilometres. In the lead up to the Games, much was made of the likely unhealthy condition of the open waters around Rio –  and as I watched the girls swimming, I wondering what longer term affects their swim might leave them with? In any case, the race saw a win to the competitor from the Netherlands [Sharon van Rouwendaal] in 1 hr 56 mins 32 secs. Silver and Bronze went to the swimmers from Italy and Brazil. Australia’s Chelsea Gubecka finished in 15th position in a time of 1:58:12, less than 2 minutes behind the winner.


The Wrestling competition is underway – in the Greco-Roman 130 kg Division, Ivan Popov competed for Australia. He was defeated in the Round of 16 by Sweden’s Johan Euren.  Cuba won the Gold over Turkey, while the two Bronze medals went to competitors from Russia and Azerbaijan


Athletics produced another exciting day, albeit interrupted during the evening session by a rain storm. The session finished after midnight, with a magnificent contest in the Men’s Pole Vault Final between the French and Brazilian competitors which kept the big crowd in the stadium. One commentator [Steve Hooker, who won the Gold Medal for Australia in this event ] described it as the greatest ever Olympic Pole Vault competition – he should know, though some of the television experts often get a bit carried away [especially if they are named McEvaney!!]. Anyway, Renaud Lavillenie [France] jumped brilliantly throughout the competition and looked to have the Gold in his pocket, but Brazil’a Thiago Braz De Silva had different ideas, and produced a brilliant come from behind leap to win the host nation’s first Gold medal at the Games, with a vault of 6.03 metres.  Lavillenie’s leap was 5.98m, while the Bronze went to Sam Kendricks of the USA, with 5.85m. No Aussies were in the final.

Other field events today:  the Women’s Hammer Throw – the medals went to Poland, China and Great Britain, the winning throw being 8.29 metres, a new World Record.  The Men’s Triple Jump qualifying event  saw the best qualifying jump by Christian Taylor of the USA – a leap of 17.24 metres. .  The Women’s Discus Throw qualifying rounds, part of which took place in driving rain, saw Australia’s Dani Samuels finish with the 4th nest throw of 64.46m behind the Cuban competitor’s 65.38m. The final will be held early Wednesday morning, our time.

There were a number of track events today. 

The Women’s 3,000 metres Steeplechase Final, which included two Australian girls, fell just short of a new World Record. The winner was Ruth Jebet of Bahrain in a time of 8 mins 59.75secs. I’ve noticed that Bahrain seems to have quite a strong contingent in the athletic competition, and noting that Jebet originally came from Kenya, I wonder if they have ‘imported’ a team! Silver and Bronze medals went to Kenya and the USA. Both Australian girls ran excellent races, improving on their previous best times – Madeline Hills finished 7th in 9:20:38, while Genevieve LaCase finished 9th in 9:21:21.

[There may be some interesting post-Games discussions –  most of our swimmers failed to improve on their times in these Games, and results showed.  In contrast, while not winning as many medals, etc, most of our athletic team are improving on past performances.  Food for thought].

Qualifying rounds were held for the Men’s 3000 metre Steeplechase. Runners from Kenya and Uganda produced the fastest times – 8:21:40 and 8:21:53. Sadly, I couldn’t find an Australian in the heats.

The heats of the Women’s 200 metres saw Australia’s new prospect Ella Nelson, record the 11th fastest time of 22.66 secs, and give her a place in the 2nd semi-final on Wednesday morning. The fastest heat run was 22.31secs by Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Core d’Ivoire [Ivory Coast]. The World Record is 21.34 secs.

Men’s 400 Metres Hurdles qualifying heats saw a fastest qualifying time of 48.37 secs by Annsert Whyte of Jamaica. Semi-finals will be on Wednesday, the Final on Friday. The Women’s 400 metres Hurdles also featured qualifying heats – once again, a Jamaican runner had the best time of 54.88 secs. .Lauren Wells of Australia finished 4th in her heat in 56.26secs and qualified for the 3rd semi-final to be run on Wednesday,

Men’s 110 Metre Hurdles qualifying heats were also held – the fastest qualifier was Omar McLeod of Jamaica in 13.27 secs.

The Women’s 400 Metres Final produced a brilliant but exhausting run by Shaunae Miller of The Bahamas in 49.44 secs – she literally fell/threw herself at the line to just defeat the USA favourite, Allyson Felix.  Morgan Mitchell of Australia finished 7th in her semi-final in a time of 52.68 secs, while Anneliese Rubie came in 6th in 51.96 secs in her semi-final.  I would later describe the winner’s performance as an example of the 400 metres being one of the hardest races on the athletic calendar – Miller’s effort an example of physical courage beyond the limits of the human body. She lay on the track for a good 10 minutes trying to recover, and then only lasted about 100 metres on her victory before she collapsed again.

The Men’s 800 Metres Final saw a second win in the event to David Rudisha of Kenya, in  1:42:15. The Silver and Bronze medals went to Algeria and the USA, with Kenya also making up 5th and 7th position.


The Canoe-Kayak competition commenced today.  In the Men’s K 1000m race, Australia’s Murray Stewart finished a relaxed 2nd in his heat, then went on to win his semi-final in convincing fashion. I hate to say it [commentator’s curse] but he is one of the favourites for tomorrow’s final.  In the Men’s C1- 1000m race, Martin Marinov, competing for Australia, was a five time Olympian, aged 48 years, coaxed out of retirement to compete at Rio. Not unexpectedly, he finished 6th in his heat, and 7th in the semi-final, but has earned himself a place in the Consolation Final, at 10pm tonight. . The fastest qualifier in the main Final is the canoeist from Uzbekistan.  The Women’s K2, 500 metre race saw Alyssa Bull and Alyce Burnett competing for Australia. They finished in 7th position in their heat, and 6th in their semi-final, but with the 6th fastest time overall, the girls will be competing in the Final tonight, at 10.23pm.


Weightlifting  –  I noted on an earlier day that the medal winners in events like weightlifting often do not come from the more recognised Olympic winners. The Weightlifting Men’s 105kg event is an example. Competitors winning the medals were  – Gold [Uzbekistan]; Silver [Armenia]; and Bronze [Kazakhstan].


Track Cycling continued today. 

The Men’s Omnium [described in yesterday’s update] was completed today – with the second set of categories – Time Trial, Flying Lap, and the Points race. Australia’s Glenn O’Shea who had been sitting inn around 7th position after the first day’s events, continued his good form in the Time Trial, where he finished equal 2nd with the eventual overall winner. In the Flying Lap, he finished in 6th position. Unfortunately, in the Points race, through no fault of his own, he came across, and joined in, a crash of two other riders, and did not accrue any points in that section.  Glenn would finish in 7th position with an overall points score of 144.  The Gold Medal went to a very emotional Italian rider, Elia Viviani, with a score of 207 points. Mark Cavendish of the UK, who came into this race seeking a medal from the other international competition he’d not previously gained one, had to be satisfied with Silver, on 14 points, while the Bronze went to Hansen of Denmark on 192 points.

The Women’s Omnium began today with their first three events – with the Scratch Race, Individual Pursuit and the Elimination Race. Our representative, Annette Edmondson  finished 6th in the Scratch Race, had 7th fastest time in the Individual Pursuit, and was 5th in the Elimination Race. Overall, after Day One, Annette was in 7th position with 90 points to her credit. The leading cyclist was Great Britain’s Laura Trott, on 118 points, event to be completed tomorrow.

The Women’s Sprint Finals saw the exit of Anna Meares from international competition.  Anna finished the event in 10th position after being beaten in her heat and repechage races. That event concludes over the next couple of days. I’ve covered Anna’s contribution to the sport, and to sportsmanship in general previously – a young lady who wears ‘her heart on her sleeve’.


Gymnastics update on a number of events – the medals in the Men’s Vaults went to North Korea, Russia and Japan. The Men’s Rings medals went to competitors from Greece, Brazil and Russia.


In Synchronised Swimming, the Women’s Duet, the Australian pair of  N Pablo and R Stackpole finished in 24th position and did not qualify for the Final on Wednesday morning.


Handball quarterfinals will be played overnight Tuesday, our time  –  they are Brazil vs Netherlands, Spain vs France, Sweden vs Norway, and Russia vs Angola.  This is a very entertaining and fast sport to watch, but despite the Seven network having at last three channels dedicated to the Games, there is little opportunity to see this and a range of other sports. It seems that when the ‘major attractions’ are not in action, all three channels persist in constant ‘replays’ instead of at least being dedicated to the less popular sports. I suppose that is to be expected, but to this writer, it is disappointing. Even with Boxing – I recall in earlier years, quite an extensive coverage given to Boxing, especially near the finals of the various divisions – we will be lucky to see snatches. If Australians are not involved, the coverage is not considered, unless your name is Usain Bolt!!!…………………..

I shall return!!




Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.14: Day 12 [for Tuesday 16 August]- 


Day 11 produced a series of highs and lows for the Australian Olympic team – where do I start?

Perhaps with a couple of lows today…


Our Women’s Basketball team [the Opals] suffered a devastating narrow loss to Croatia in the  quarterfinal match, just unable in the closing seconds to force extra time, by going down 73-71. The Opals had won all of their pool games, and his loss meant the first Olympics since 1992 in Barcelona that they will not come away with a medal. Other Quarter Final results were – France defeated Canada 46-44; the USA defeated Japan 110-64; and Spain defeated Turkey 64-62. The semi-finals to be played on Friday will be Spain vs Serbia and the USA vs France.

In the Men’s 10km Open Swim, Australia’s Jarrod Poort led strongly for the first 9 kms, but he couldn’t sustain the effort, and he was quickly swallowed up by a large group within that last kilometre, and in fact, fell right back to finish in 20th position. A thrilling finish saw the same time recorded for first and second with a large group of swimmers right behind them. Gold went to Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands [1:52:59] ahead of Spyridon Gianiotos [Greece] in the same time, with the Bronze going to France, just .03 sec behind –  in fact down to 12th position, there was only 0.7 sec behind the winner – after 10 kms of swimming! Poort’s time was 1:53:40.


In the Canoe/Kayak events another expected Medal winner that didn’t eventuate was in the Men’s K1 [Kayaking] 1000m Final  –  Murray Stewart, regarded as a big hope, after an excellent semi-final swim yesterday, finished out of the medals in 4th position after fading badly, his time 3:33:74. The medals went to Spain, Czech Republic & Russia, the winning time being 3:31:44. The 21 year old Spaniard came from nowhere in the closing stages to swamp the Czech and Russian competitors.  In the Women’s K2 500m Final, the two Australian girls – Alyssa Bull & Alyce Burnett, who just scraped into the final yesterday, finished in last place behind Hungary, Germany and Poland – the margin between first and second was 5/100th of a second!!  In the Consolation Final [no medals awarded] of the Men’s C1 1000m, our 48 year old Martin Marinov [who had been coached out of retirement to compete] finished in last position. Originally from Bulgaria he is now a coach in China.  The Medal race in that event was won by Germany, over France and Moldavia


In other team events today

In the Men’s Basketball, the Quarter finals to be played tomorrow morning are Australia vs Lithuania [12 midnight]; Croatia vs Serbia [that should be a hot one!!]; Spain vs France; and USA vs Argentina.

In the Men’s Football competition, the Semi-final results were Sweden defeated Brazil in extra time; and Germany defeated Canada 2-0. The Gold Medal match between Sweden and Germany is scheduled for 6.30am on Saturday morning.  The Women’s semi-finals will be played early tomorrow morning .

The Men’s Hockey Semi-finals saw Belgium defeat the Netherlands 3-1, and Argentina defeat Germany 5-2, with the Gold Medal match between Belgium and Argentina to be played on Friday morning. The Women’s Semi-finals will be played tomorrow morning.

Handball quarterfinals [Women]  will be played early tomorrow morning, while the Men’s Quarter finals will also be played in the morning.


The Olympic Sailing completion produced two medals for Australia today.

In the Men’s Laser Final, Australia’s Tom Burton began the last race knowing that he really needed things to go his way for a win to be possible.  Well they did, and Tom went on to win Australia’s 7th Gold Medal,  with 73 points, coming in ahead of Tonci Stipanovic [Croatia] and  Sam Meech [New Zealand]. Burton foiled Croatian Tonci Stipanovic’s plan to keep him at the back of the fleet. Burton was second going into the final race, 10 points behind Stipanovic, and needed to finish five places in front of him to claim gold. Stipanovic’s attempt to push Burton back at the start failed and Burton was able to chase down the rest of the fleet and finish third in the double points race to claim gold. Meanwhile, in the Mixed Nacra 17 event, Australian cousins Jason Waterhouse and Luke Darmanin claimed the Silver Medal, just one point behind the Argentine winner – they had been in 4th place going into today’s final event. The pair finished second in the medal race and second overall after Argentina’s Santiago Lange and Cecilia Seroli overcame a bad start to claim gold

The Equestrian Jumping Team qualifications took place today – the Australian team of Scott Keach, James Pattterson-Robinson, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Matt Williams were in 13th position after the qualifying round  which was led by teams from Brazil,. Netherlands and the USA., and missed the final medal round.

In Synchronised Swimming today,  the Duets Free Routine Final was decided, and the Medals went to Russia, China and Japan. The Australian dup finished 24th [Nikita Pablo and Rose Stackpole].

Artistic Gymnastics competition had three vents on the program.  In the Men’s Parallel Baes, the Medals went to the Ukraine, USA and Russia.  The Men’s Horizontal Bars event was won by Germany from the USA and Great Britain.  The Women’s Floor Exercise went to Simone Biles of the USA with Silver and Bronze won by the USA and Great Britain. Australia’s Larissa Miller finished in 67th position.

In the Diving competition, two Australians competed in the Men’s 3m Springboard event.   Kevin Chavez [26th in the Preliminaries] and Grant Niel,[15rh in the semi-final] did not qualify for the last 12 in the Final. That was won by Cao Yuan of China from Great Britain and Germany.

Track Cycling  –  it was the final day of this program, with three events to complete things.

The second day of the Women’s Omnium and last three categories – Time Trial, Flying Lap, and the Points Race, saw a Gold Medal win to Laura Trott of Great Britain [230 points] from Sarah Hammert of the USA [206 points] and Jolien D’Hoore of Belgium [199 points].  Australia’s Annette Edmondson 8th overall with 168 points.

The Men’s Keiren event completed the Men’s program. The Winner was Jason Kenny of Great Britain ahead of the cyclists from the Netherlands and Malaysia. Australia’s Pat Constable [5th in his Heat]  and Matthew Glaetzer [finished in 10th position [after falling during the raced for 7th to 12th] did not feature in the Final.   The Women’s Sprint race went to Kristina Vogel [Germany] over [Rebecca James [Great Britain] with the Bronze going to Katy Marchant of Great Britain. Anna Meares [yesterday] finished in 10th position.

Finally, I’d like to concentrate and exam the results of today’s Track & Field events in  the Athletic Program.

The Women’s 5,000 Metres qualifying heats produced an outstanding result for Australia with the rare outcome of three Australian girls running their way into the Final.  While the fastest qualifier in the Heats was Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia in 15:4:35, the runs of Eloise Wellings [qualified 5th in time of 15:19:02], Genevieve LaCaze [15:20:45] and Madeline Hills [15:21:33] produced much promise for the future of long distance running for our women athletics, and this achievement was my ‘highlight’ of the day.

The Men’s 1500 Metres qualifying heats had two Australia competitors  –  Ryan Gregson, in Heat 1, produced a flying finish from a position of 8th as they entered the strait, to get into second place, in a time of 3:39:13 [and gain a berth in the Semi-final while Luke Matthews finished 12th in his Heat in 3:44:51, and did not qualify for the final.  The fastest heat time was  3:38:31. The Semi-finals take place on Friday morning, and the Final [usually one of the last races on the athletic program] on Sunday morning.

The Women’s 100 Metre Hurdles Heats included  Michelle Jenneke running for Australia. She finished 6th in her heat, in the time of 13.26secs. The fastest qualifying time was 12.54 secs by Brianna Rollins of the USA. Our girl didn’t make it to the Semi-finals, which with the Final will be held on Thursday.

The Final of the Men’s 110 Metre Hurdles was completed. Against World and Olympic Records of 12.80 and 12.91, the fastest time in the Semi-finals was 13.15secs. In the Final, the winning time by Omar McLeod of Jamaica was 1305secs. Oddly, this was the first time a Jamaican runner had won this particular event.

The Men’s 200 Metre qualifying heats were held today. Australia’s Alexander Hartman finished 5th in Heat 6 of 10, in a time of 21.02secs, which result didn’t get him into a semi-final. The fastest qualifier was Andre De Grasse of Canada in 20.09secs. Usain Bolt qualified 16th in 20.28secs, however, while he won his Heat, Bolt was easing right off as he approached the finishing line, so that standing prior to the Semi-finals and Final [due tomorrow and Friday morning] has little significance.

Final of the Women’s 1500 Metre race  started off at a very slow pace but that didn’t last for long. The Gold Medal went to Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon of Kenya [time 4:08:93] ahead Ginzebe Dibaba from Ethiopia and popular 29 year old American, Jenny Simpson.  Our three Australian girls failed to qualify beyond the semi-finals. The World & Olympic Records for this event are 3:50:07 and 3:53:96 respectively.

Womens 200 Metres  began with 9 qualifying heats. Elia Nelson [another Australian athletic with a beautiful personality] qualified through to the semi-finals. She finished in the second of those finals in a time of 22.50secs but it was not fast enough to earn her a place in the Final – in fact she was in 9th position overall [the Final, to be run tomorrow morning has 8 runners] but in the post-race interview was very happy with her performances overall. Another bright prospect for Australia’s future athletic hopes. The fastest qualifier for the final was Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands in 21.96 ahead of Tori Bowie [USA} and Elaine Thompson [Jamaica]. The World and Olympic Record is 21.34secs.

Not so happy was Lauren Wells of Australia, following her run in the Women’s 400 Metre Hurdles semi-final  – the nine times Australian champion, running in Lane 1 of Semi-final 3, finished down in 7th position, and later, very disappointed with the outcome, apologised to her supporters for running well below her best – one of our few track athletes to have done that so far – most have improved their times.

In the Men’s 400 metre Hurdles semi-finals, the fastest qualifying time was 48.26secs by Kerron Clement of the USA. That Final will be held on Friday.

Now looking at some of today’s field events, there were a couple of major disappointments for Australia.  In the Women’s Discus Final, our long term thrower, Dani Samuels, missed a Medal result by 0.56cms, throwing 64.90m to finish 4th in the Final. She considered that result an opportunity lost – ‘I guess I’ll have to come back and try again’!! The Medals went to Croatia, France and Cuba with distances of 69.21, 66.73, and 65.34.

The Women’s Javelin Throw qualifying event Australia had three competitors, only one of whom went through to the Final, to be held on Friday morning. Kim Mickel, our brightest hope competed less than 12 months after having a major shoulder reconstruction, a brave comeback [says he, the recipient of arthroscopic surgery on both shoulders in the last two years]  –  in Kim’s case, much more severe, and it was during her 3rd throw today, that she dislocated that same shoulder, and was taken to hospital in quite a deal of pain, her Olympics over. She actually was placed 22nd in the competition, achieving a throw of 57.20m. Kelsey-Lee Roberts, finished 28th with a best throw of 55.25m, while our third competitor, Kathryn Mitchell had a best throw of  61.63m, and finished 12th in the qualifying round – which put her into the Final on Friday morning. The best qualifying throw was 67.11m by Poland’s Maria Andrejczyk.

Qualifying round of the Women’s Long Jump saw Chelsea Jaensch [with a best leap of 6.41m, which left her outside the top 12] and Brooke Stanton [with a best leap of 6.56m, the 9th best result, and into Thursday’s Final]. The best qualifying leap of the competition was 6.87m by Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic.

The Men’s High Jump competition was concluded today, and resulted in a Gold Medal jump of 2.38m by Derek Drouin of Canada, ahead of competitors from Qatar and the Ukraine. Australia’s Brandon Starc [brother of Test cricketer Mitchell Starc, currently playing in the Third Test over in Sri Lanka] finished 15th in the Final with a leap of 2.20m.

Another busy day in Rio  –  we shall return folks!!



Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.15: Day 13 [for Wednesday 17 August]- 


The Men’s Basketball Quarter Finals took place today, and Australia continued it’s search for that elusive basketball medal.  In fact it was a convincing win against the powerful northern European nation of Lithuania, winning 90-64 – keeping ‘a lid on it’ but the Boomers on track to win their first Olympic basketball medal.

The other Quarter Final results  –  the USA defeated Argentina 105-78; Spain defeated France 92-67;  and Serbia defeated Croatia  86-83 [the only close game of the four].. Semi-finals will be  –  USA vs Spain [8am Saturday morning], and Australia vs  Serbia [4.30am Saturday morning].


In athletics, a true definition of real athletic prowess is I believe revealed in the Men’s Decathlon event [and the equivalent Women’s Heptathlon concluded earlier this week].  The Decathlon commenced today with the first five of the event’s ten track and field competitions. The word ‘Decathlon’ is if Greek origin, Events are held over two consecutive days, and the winner determined by the combined performances in all ten, based on a points system in each category and the position obtained. Australia’s representative –  our first competitor since the 2000 Sydney Games  –  is Cedric Dubler, a World Junior Silver Medallist in the event. The ten separate competitions are – Day 1: 100 Metres, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump, and 400 Metres. On Day 2, we have the 110 Metre Hurdles, Discus, Pole Vault, Javelin, and a 1500 Metres run – overall, a true test of endurance and courage!

At the conclusion of Day One, the following are the leading athletics  –  1st:  Ashton Eaton, USA [4621 points];  2nd: Kai Kazmirek, Germany [4500 points], and 3rd: Damian Warner, Canada [4489 points]. Australia’s Cedric Dubler issitting in 12th position with 4219 points.  He was 15th overall, in the 100 metre Heats; 11th in the High Jump; 30th in the Shot Put; 3rd overall in the High Jump; and 7th fastest in the 400 Metre event. Hopefully, his particular strengths lie on Day 2, tomorrow.


History was made today in one of less publicised sports [as far as Australia is concerned]  –  in the Wrestling  competition, Women’s Freestyle 58kg  –  the Japanese competitor, Kaori Icho, won the Gold Medal over Russia’s Valeria Koblova Zholobova, and while  this bout was in a different weight division [58 kg this time] Kaori achieved the claim of winning Gold Medals in four different Olympic Games, having won God Medals at Athens, Beijing and London in the 53kg division. A report from the Sydney Morning Herald noted that  – ‘Her position among the top rung of Olympic athletes of all time is indisputable, however, after becoming the first woman to win four individual gold medals at four consecutive Games. Women’s wrestling is only a recent addition to the schedule, introduced in 2004, and there will be all kind of arguments about the depth and competitiveness of this and other sports, but her record at the very least makes a case for her as the greatest female Olympian of all time. Icho left it late to secure her place in history, very late. With less than five seconds remaining on the clock in her gold medal match against the Russian,  she trailed 2-1, having been forced outside the ring by the valiant 23-year-old early in the contest. It took a two-point takedown almost on the buzzer to pull off a dramatic victory’ [and move into history]. Icho is relatively unknown outside the wrestling strongholds that tend to vie for Olympic medals. But within her sport she is a legendary figure, as is her countrywoman Saori Yoshida, who on Thursday will bid to match Icho’s record of four gold in four Games in the women’s 53kg division. Yoshida, should she win, she may have even more argument for inclusion alongside Phelps and co. Having been the 55kg champion at the past three Games she has only dropped down in weight because that is not an Olympic category anymore.  .


Back to more familiar sports, for most of us anyway.

The Women’s Golf Tournament commenced today –  the best of four rounds. The leader board after Round One showed Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand in front [score of 65] ahead of two South Korean golfers. Australia’s Minjee Lee was in 11th position [69], and Su Hyun Ho in 26th position [71]  – once again demonstrating the multicultural make-up of many of the Australian competitors in these Games.


There were some Canoe Sprints and Semi-finals held in the morning, with Finals to be held on Thursday night, our time.. In the Men’s Kayak Double 1000m, Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame have qualified for the Final.  They had the fastest time in the semi-finals. In the Men’s Canoe Single 200m Sprint, Ference Szrkszardi failed to qualify for the final, finishing back in 23rd position overall. The Women’s Kayak Singles 500 metres, Naomi Flood of Australia finished 18th fastest in the semi-finals, and didn’t qualify for the final. The Men’s Double Kayak 200 metres Sprint, Daniel Bowker and Jason Wood finished 11th in the semi-finals, and earned a spot in the Consolation Final [no medals].


The Jumping Teams Final in the Equestrian saw the Australian quartet finish well down the list of competitors [14th] in the event still to be completed, with a jump off between Germany and Canada due.


An event which doesn’t over-enthuse this writer is the Cycling-BMX competition – today saw the BMX Seeding runs – in the Men’s Division, Australia’s Sam Willoughby qualified third [with 34.71 points] behind Joris Daudetof France [34.61 pts] and David Graf of Switzerland [ 34.67 pts].Bodi Turner finished on 35.33 pts, and Anthony Dean on 35.44 pts. In the Women’s section, hoping to make up for missing out in London, Caroline Buchanan finished the day seeded into 2nd place [34.75 pts] behind Colombia’s Mariana Pajon [34.50 pts].Lauren Reynolds finished on 35.66 pts.


The Women’s Beach Volleyball Final which finished after midnight in Rio resulted in a win for Germany over Brazil – 2-0, while the decider for the Bronze Medal saw the USA [initial favourites for the tournament I thought] defeat the second Brazilian duo 2-1. The Men’s Final tales place about 1pm Friday AEST.


A couple of the Taekwondo division medals were decided today. In the Women’s 49kg section, the Gold Medal went to Serbia over South Korea, while competitors from Thailand and Azerbaijan won the two Bronze medals on offer. The Men’s 58 kg event went to China over Thailand, and Bronze medals were won by the Dominican Republic and South Korea. Australia’s Safwan Khalil lost his quarter-final bout against the eventual South Korean Bronze medallist. Caroline Martin [Australia] will compete in the Women’s 57kg division tonight,


In the Olympic Sailing, poor conditions out on the water caused a partial postponement of the day’s events. The Medal races in the Women’s and Men’s 470 races will be held early Friday morning, our time.  While our two women, Jaime Ryan & Carrie Smith are not in medal contention, the Men’s pair of Matthew Belcher and Will Ryan are in the hunt for Gold, their chief rivals likely to be Croatia’s Sime Fantele & Igor Marinu.


In the Diving competition, in the Women’s 10 Metre Platform event, Brittany O’Brien and Melissa Wu are among the last twenty divers in tonight’s semi-final, due to commence at 11pm.  The Final will take place at 5am tomorrow morning AEST.


We mentioned the Decathlon above.  There was another big day of Athletics at the Olympic Stadium in both Track and Field events.

The Men’s 3000 Metres Steeplechase Final was won by [you guessed it] a runner from Kenya, Consesius Kipruto,  in an Olympic Record time of 8:03:28. Silver and Bronze went to the USA and France.. There were no Australians in the event.

The Qualifying Heats of the Men’s 5000 Metres saw  three Australian men in the two heats. Sam McEntee finished in 18th position in the 1st Heat, his time 13:50:55. The 2nd Heat saw Patrick Tiernan finish 13th in 13:28:48, and Brett Robinson, an encouraging 9th position in 13:22:81 which earned him a place in the Final.  The  fastest qualifier was Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo, representing the USA in 13:19:54. The World and Olympic Records for the event are 12:37:25 and 12:57:82 respectively.

The Qualifying heats [8 of them] for the Women’s 80 Metres saw Melissa Bishop of Canada the fastest qualifier [1:58:38], while Australia’s Selma Kajan finished down the field in 54th position in a time of 2:05:20. The World Record is this event is 1:53:28..

The Women’s 200 Metres Final saw another champion from Jamaica defeat the Netherlands heroine to win the Gold Medal. Elaine Thompson ran 21.78secs ahead of Dafne Schippers, and Torie Bowrie of the USA. Australia’s Ella Nelson missed out on the Final, recording 9th fastest time in the semi-finals, .01secs behind the 8th and final qualifier –  a brilliant effort by Ella, another of the bright young prospects for future women’s athletics in Australia.

The Women’s 100 Metre Hurdles Final [previously won by our own Sally Pearson, missing this year because of injury] saw two siblings in the race, but that didn’t stop a trifecta of Americans taking out the three medals –  Brianna Rollins [12.48 secs], from Nia Ali [12.59] and Kristi Castlin [12.61].  The existing World Record is 12.20 secs, while the current Olympic Record of 12.35 secs is held by Sally Pearson.

The Men’s 200 Metre Semi-Finals completed the Track program  –  with the fastest time being recorded by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt [19.78] over Canada’s Andre de Grasse [both running in the 2nd semi-final, and carrying with a bit of humorous banter with each other as they crossed the finishing line.  The World Record in the Men’s 200 is  19.19secs. The Final will be run at 11.30 am Friday, AEST.

There were a number of Field events today also.

The Men’s Hammer Throw Qualifying with no Australian thrower, saw Poland’s Wojciech Nowicki the top qualifier with a throw of 77.64 metres. The Final will be held on Saturday morning,

The Women’s Long Jump competition concluded today, and event in which Australia has always performed well, yet not won any medals. The final proved to be quite an exciting tussle between the last 4 or 5 competitors, ending with Gold and Silver going to the USA, ahead of Serbia. The winning jump was 7.17 metres by Tianna Bartoletta of the USA. Australia’s Brooke Stratton finished the Final in 7th place, jumping 6.74m  – at her first Olympics, she was quietly confident afterwards that she was young enough to have at least two more Olympic Games ahead of her to improve on that 7th position.

The Men’s Javelin qualification proved disappointing for the two Australians. The leading qualifier on the day was Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad & Tobago with a throw of 88.68m.  Joshua Robinson of Australia finished in 13th position [80.84m] and Hamish Peacock was 25th [77.91m]. The Final will be held on Sunday morning.

The race I’m looking forward to [apart from the Marathons and Walks] is the Women’s 5000 Metre Final to be run on Saturday morning at 10.40am –  with the unprecedented presence of three Australian women included in the field – Eloise Wellings, Genevieve LaCaze and Madeline Hills it’s a race not to missed by Australian athletics supporters.

As for the Olympic Medal Tally Australia currently sits in 10th position with 7 Gold, 8 Silver and 9 Bronze [ a total of  24 medals]. The nations ahead of us are USA [30-32-31], Great Britain [19-19-12], China 19-15-20, Russia [12-14-15], Germany [12-8-9], Japan [10-5-18], France [8-11-12], Italy [8-9-6], and the Netherlands [8-4-3].  As with most of the last 12 days, our commentators and medal are telling us that medals will be won today!!!

We shall wait and see, but not necessary with ‘bated breath’ or as Shakespeare wrote in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ – “With bated breath and whispering humbleness”………………,




Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.16: Day 14 [for Thursday 18 August]- 


Just tracking back to yesterday’s Equestrian competition  – in the Equestrian Team Jumping Final  – some classic jumping displays by the three medallist teams in particular –  France, USA and Germany – horses and riders, beautiful to watch. Today, the Final of the Individual Jumping commenced, with Aussies, Matt Williams and Edwina Tops-Alexander in the mix for medals.  Edwina finished the day with 9 penalties, and Matt with 14. Both will compete in Round A of the finals later tonight.


We picked up a medal in the Canoe/Kayak finals today. In fact we started the morning program with a medal, in the Men’s K2 1000 metres Final. Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame, targeting Gold from Lane 3,  started well for Australia, but the German pair took the race out hard, and went on with it, finally just ahead of Serbia [who yesterday beat Australia in the semi-final] with Australia finishing in the Bronze Medal position in 3:12.593 [the winning time was 3:10.781]. The celebrations of the Aussie pair with a large group of close family and friends after the race, suggested they were more than satisfied with the Bronze – a very personable pair of Aussies, good representatives of their country.  The winning Germans – both police officers, hence the coining of the phrase after the race  ‘I fought the law, and the law won’!!

In the Men’s C1 200 metre Final, it was all over in 39 seconds – Gold went to the Ukraine competitor from Azerbaijan and Brazil.  In the Women’s K1 500 Metres Final, medals went to Hungary, Denmark & New Zealand, with Australia’s Naomi Flood missing out on the final.  In the Men’s K2, 200 metre Consolation Final [no medals] the Australian pair of Daniel Bowker and Jordan Wood finished 3rd behind Sth Korea and Brazil. The Medal event was won by Spain from Great Britain and Lithuania, the winner’s time just 32.07 secs.


In today’s Sailing completion found some success for Australia Two Australian sailors – Matthew Belcher & Bill Ryan – won themselves a Silver Medal in the final and Medal race of the Men’s 470 [Dinghy] event. With 10 completed races behind them leading into this Medal race, the pair from Croatia apparently needed to finish within the first 6-8  [of 10 boats] to claim the Gold medal, while Australia and Greece were the only other teams in the mix for a medal. The race itself was won by Switzerland from the USA and Great Britain. Croatia finished 8th, and secured the Gold Medal but then we had an exciting tussle at the rear of the field [water] between Australia and Greece, with at one stage, Australia’s Bill Ryan falling out of the boat, though thankfully still secured, and able to retrieve his position. The Australian pair to hold on  and finish just ahead of Greece to gain the Silver Medal.  Exciting stuff on the waters of Rio, though at times, for the novice viewer, a little difficult to understand the tactics!!

The Women’s 470 [Dinghy] was won by Great Britain from New Zealand and France, while Australia’s pair of J Ryan and C Smith finished 15th overall.

In the Men’s 49ers Final, Australia picked up a second Silver Medal for the day,  coming in second behind New Zealand, with Germany taking out the Bronze. The Aussie pair of Iain Jensen and Nathan Outteridge finished 4th in the final & Medal race which was enough to secure 2nd place overall.  The Women’s 49er FX Final went to Brazil from New Zealand and Denmark.


In the Men’ Beach Volleyball Final, this event commence at Midnight, Rio time, and in retrospect, the authorities might have preferred an earlier time slot. As the match commenced, so did the rain, and it would continue to pour for the duration – not that the packed crowd in the open uncovered stadium cared, with the two teams competing being Brazil and Italy who had apparently met on 9 previous occasions so the two participants in each team knew each other well. Despite the rain, drenched played, officials and spectators, it was quite a spectacle, and of course with the final result being a 21-19, 21-17  win to Brazil, the place at 12.45 am became a bedlam of joy for the host nation.


Some team sports results.

In Men’s Water Polo   –  in the matches to determine 5th to 8th position, the results were –Hungary defeated Brazil 13-4; and Greece defeated Spain 9-7, while the Semi-final results saw  Croatia defeated Montenegro 12-8; Serbia defeated Italy 10-8.  The Gold Medal match, Croatia vs Serbia, and Bronze Medal match, Montenegro vs Italy will be played early Sunday morning.


In Men’s Hockey, the finals were played today.  For the Gold Medal, Argentina defeated Belgium 4-2, while the Bronze medal went to Germany over the strong Netherlands team, after extra time. The Women’s finals will be played early tomorrow morning – Great Britain vs Netherlands [for Gold] and Germany vs New Zealand [for Bronze].


Football Finals will be played – Men’s competition, on Sunday morning, Brazil vs Germany [for Gold] and Honduras vs Nigeria [for Bronze] and the Women’s competition on Saturday morning –Sweden vs Germany [for Gold] and Brazil vs Canada [for Bronze].


In the Olympic Diving competition, we saw the Semi-final and Final of the Women’s 10m Platform which had Brittany O’Brien and Melissa Wu competing for Australia. Unfortunately, Brittany finished 15th in the qualifying round and did not get into the final 12 divers.  Melissa Wu put up a brave performance in the Final but fell short of a medal result. The medals went to China, China and Canada, with Melissa finishing in 5th position with a score of 368.30 [the winning score was 439.25].  The Men’s equivalent event will be held on Sunday morning.


The Taekwondo competition today featured two events. The Women’s 57kg event went to Great Britain from Spain, with the Bronze medallists being Egypt and Iran over Belgium and Sweden.  The Men’s 68kg division saw the  Gold Medal go to the competitor from Jordan over Russia, while the Bronze medals went to Spain and South Korea over Venezuela and Belgium.


The BMX Men’s Quarter Finals held today resulted in two of our three competitors winning through to the Semi-final stage – Sam Willoughby, with 3 wins, and Anthony Dean,  qualified  for the next stage, while Bodi Turner only managed a 5th in his heat.


The Men’s Triathlon was held today, an event which consists of three categories – a 1500 Metre Swim, a 40 km bike ride, and a 10 km run.  Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion time, including timed “transitions” between the individual swim, cycle, and run components. The word “triathlon” is of Greek origin.

Australia’s three competitors did not figure bin the medals but achieved strong performances –  Aaron Royal finished9th in 1:46:42, Ryan Baillie 10th in 1:47:02 and Ryan Fisher, 24th in .1:48:34. The Gold and Silver medals, once again went to the British Brownlee brothers  –  Alastair in 1:45:01 and Jonny in 1:45:07, while the Bronze medal went to Henri Schoeman of South Africa.


Round 2 of the Women’s Golf Tournament was completed today. At the end of Round 2, the leaders are Inbee Park [South Korea] on 132, Stacy Lewis [USA] on 133, and Brooke Henderson [Canada] and Charley Hull [Great Britain] on 134. The Australians – Minjee Lee, 8th on 136, and Su Hyun Oh, 38th on 143. The 3rd and Medal rounds remain to be played.


And now to the Athletics program for Thursday, plenty of highlights, as always.

The Men’s Decathlon [described yesterday] was completed, with the second of five events. Last night, we left Australia’s Cedric Dubler sitting in 12th position with 4219 points, with the overall being Ashton Eaton, [USA] on 4621 points. Cedric’s results today –  in the 110 Metre Hurdles, finished 8th overall; in the Discus Throw, he was placed 23rd; in the Pole Vault he was 10th [both the 400 metres yesterday, and today’s Pole Vault he produced personal best results]; the Javelin Throw, he finished 22nd; while in the 1500 metres, he had the  11th fastest time.  The overall result was a strong win for the Gold Medal to Ashton Eaton of the USA with 8,893 points [which equalled the previous Olympic record], from Kevin Mayer of France [8834 pts] and Damian Warner of Canada [8666 pts]. Cedric Dubler finished in 14th position overall, with a score of 8,024 points.

Men’s Shot Put Qualifying and Final was conducted  –  our Damien Birkenhead, from the Corio Athletic Club, qualified into the Final, in  9th place with a throw of 20.50m. Unfortunately in the Final, his top distance distance was less, at 20.45m which put him down to 10th position. The Gold Medal went to Ryan Crouser of the USA with a distance of 22.52m [a new Olympic Record], from Joe Kovacs [USA] and Tomas Walsh [New Zealand].

The Women’s High Jump Qualifying round for Sunday’s Final, saw young Eleanor Patterson competing for Australia – from Leongatha, in Victoria, Eleanor was described as a bit of a recluse who tries to avoid the media, but is very comfortable in the team environment. She would jump successfully to 1:89 but then bombed out of the competition after 3 attempts at 1:92, and was noticeably disappointed at that outcome. Yet despite the above comment, she bravely faced up to the Seven commentary team after her jumps.  The best height was a jump of

1:94, which was achieved by all 17 competitors in Sunday’s final.

The Women’s Javelin Final went to Sara Colak of Croatia with a distance of 66.18m, over competitors from South Africa and the Czech Republic.  Australia’s Kathryn Mitchell finished in 6th position with a throw of 64..36m, and she may well have achieved a higher result had she not fouled on at least three throws.

The Final of the Men’s 400 Metre Hurdles race was marred at the start, when the runner from Puerto Rico was disqualified after he broke the start. It was disturbing to see him shortly afterwards, on his hands and knees severely distressed at what had just happened – no second chances in athletics these days [I still recall lying in bed in the middle listening to a radio description of the the Women’s 200 metres from Canada in 1976, when Raelene Boyle of Australia, broke twice in the final and was disqualified].In any case, Kerron Clement of the USA went on to win Gold today in 47.73 secs, ahead of Kenya’s Boniface Muchero, and Yasmani Copello of Turkey. The World Record of 46.78 secs was left unchallenged.

The Women’s 400 Metre Hurdles final produced no like dramatics  – the winner was won by Dalilah Muhammad of the USA in a time of 53.13 secs from Sara Petersen [Denmark] and Ashley Spencer [USA]. The World and Olympic Records are 52.34 secs and 52.64secs respectively.

The Men’s 1500 Metre Semi-finals saw the presence of Australia’s Ryan Gregson, running in the 2nd Heat. He finished 4th in a time of 3:40:02.  The fastest qualifier from the two semi-finals was Asbel Kiprop of Kenya in 3:39:73. Ryan has earned himself a place in the final to be held at 10am on Sunday morning AEST, a race to look forward to.

Meanwhile, the three Semi-finals  of the Women’s 800 Metres produced a fastest qualifying time of 1:58:15 by Caster Semenya of South Africa. That final will be held at 10.15am on Sunday morning, following the Men’s 1500 Metres.

The event which attracted Bruce McEvaney’s attention [ad nausem] was the Men’s 200 Metre Final  –  which had Jamaica’s Usain Bolt hunting another 100m/200m double, for the 3rd time [Beijing/London/Rio], and also a new 200 Metre World Record [that stood at 19.19 secs, and the Olympic Record 19.30secs]. Well, he didn’t get the latter, but did get everything else  –  first in a time of 19.78 secs, followed by Andre de Grasse [Canada] in 20.02 secs and Christophe Lemaitre of France in 20.12 secs. This result means that Usain Bolt has won 8 Gold Medals, and if Jamaica win the 4 x 100 Relay at the weekend, he will have created some sort of history by winning the 100 metre, 200 metre & Relay Golds at three consecutive Olympic Games – little wonder that ‘Statistics Bruce’ is getting so excited!!!

The Semi-finals of the Men’s and Women’s 4 x 100 Metre Relays were also run today. In the Women’s event, the USA recorded the fastest time of 41.77 secs, after in fact dropping the baton in their Heat, and on appeal, surviving a run-off against China [don’t understand why China had to suffer as a consequence]. The finalists on Saturday morning, at 11.15 am will be the USA, Canada, Nigeria, Germany, Great Britain, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the Ukraine.  In the Men’s event, the fastest qualifier was the team from the USA in 37.65secs. The field in the Final [at 11.35 am on Saturday] will be Great Britain, Brazil, USA, Jamaica, Japan, China, Canada and Trinidad & Tobago.


Badminton Finals completed today  –  in Women’s Doubles, the duo from Japan defeated Denmark for the Gold Medal, while the Bronze went to South Korea over China. Finals in the Women’s Singles and the Men’s Doubles will be held overnight, this evening.


At 9pm tonight AEST, the Men’s 50 km Walk will be conducted, Australia to be represented by Chris Erikson, Brendon Reading and Jared Tallent [who was recently awarded the Gold Medal for the London Olympics after coming in second behind the Russian competitor, subsequently banned due to doping offences]………………..three more days to go!!




Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.17: Day 15 [for Friday 19 August]- 


A day with a few disappointments, mixed with some excellent results.

I will begin today’s update with a report on the Modern Pentathlon, which takes place over the next couple of days  in both the Men’s and Women’s divisions. But first, ,a brief explanation.  The Modern Pentathlon these days comprises athletes competing in fencing, swimming, horse riding, running and shooting events. The first event is [normally] a 200m freestyle swim where points are given based on speed of completion. Fencing is the next event, and each athlete must fence against each other. The third event is horse riding with athletes navigating a 12 jump course, and unlike equestrian events in which riders use their own horses,  the athletes are allocated their rides through a draw on the day.. At the end of the jumping, the scores and times of the competitors are converted into a time handicap which determines the starting times for the combined final 3.2km running and shooting event. Athletes are required to shoot at sets of five targets after running three sets of 1km stretches. The first to cross the finish line wins the gold medal.

In this year’s Olympics, the Fencing aspect was completed first for both Men and Women, to be followed by  the swimming leg, . In the Women’s competition, the top three scores for Fencing were Oktawai Nowacka of Poland [262 points], Lena Schoeneborn of Germany [244 pts] and Melanie McCann of Canada [238 pts]. Australia’s athlete, is Chloe Esposito, who wassitting in 13th position on 214 points. In the Men’s competition, the leaders were Aleksander Lesun of Russia [268 points, an Olympic Record], Patrick Dogue of Germany [238 pts] and Omar El Geziry of Egypt [238 pts].  Max Esposito of Australia is in 29th position on 189 points.   Max is a younger brother [aged 18]   of Chloe, who finished 7th in the London Games.


Well, the media and commentators have built up a lot of hype about our swimmers, some of the athletes and most of the teams,, and in the majority of cases, that hype has so far being misdirected.  Chloe Esposito was given no such exposure, and I would imagine that prior to today, not many Australian sporting fans would have been aware of her existence.  So it was a highlight of the Games so far, from my point of view to awake this morning and watch the closing stages of the event – and see Chloe continue on, without any fanfare, and win Australia’s 8th GOLD MEDAL in the Modern Pentathlon event for women, coming from 7th to 1st on the last leg of the run and shooting component. . A  wonderful, and for most of us, an unexpected addition to our meagre winning tally.

Overall result: Gold: Chloe Esposito [Australia] with 1372 points [an Olympic Record]; Silver: Elodie Clouvel [France] 1356 pts; and Bronze: Oktawai Nowacka [Poland] 1349 pts.


Friday the Men’s 50km Walk, and the Australian representatives included Jared Tallent, retrospective winner of the Gold Medal from London [after the Russian winner tested positive to a banned substance], Silver Medal at the same distance in Beijing [the winner of which has subsequently being banned for two doping offences plus one prior to the event], and a Bronze in the 20 km Walk, also at the Beijing Games. Chris Erickson [a three time Olympian] and Brendon Reading [who has been coached by Erickson since 2010] were also walking for Australia in today’s event.  At about the halfway mark, the French World Champion, Y Diniz  who had made an early break to the front, was leading by about 1 minute 49 sec from a chase group which included Tallent. At that stage, without mishap, it looked a big ask for anyone from that group to catch the Frenchman. However that did happen, and towards the end of the race, Jared was in the lead, but ran out ‘of steam’ in the closing stages to fall behind his friend, and fellow competitor, Matej Toth of Slovalia. The winner’s time – 3hrs:40mins & 58secs. Jared Tallent finished 2nd in 3:41:16, while the Bronze went to Hirooki Arai of Japan in 3:41:24.  Chris Erikson finished in 10th Position in 3:48:40, while Brendon Reading finished 40th in 4:13:02. Tallent was philosophical about the result – many suggesting that he was the defending champion twice over, beaten on this occasion. I actually went off to sleep before the race ended,  and was a little to learn of the outcome in the morning.


The Equestrian competition continued with the Individual Jumping Final, the Aussies represented by Matt Williams, and Edwina Tops-Alexander. The Medals eventually went to Nick Skelton [Great Britain], from Peder Fredricson [Sweden] and Eric Lamaze [Canada]. Edwina finished 9th with just the 4 penalties, and Matt Williams failed to qualify for the final rounds and jump off.


Heats and semi-finals were held today in some more Canoe and Kayaking events. In the Men’s K1 Semi Final, Stephen Bird of Australia finished 2nd, and qualified overall in 4th position for tomorrow’s Final. Fastest time went to the Liam Heath from Great Britain.   In the Men’s C2 1000 metres Australia’s Martin Marinov and Ferenc Szekszarsi finished 5th in their semi-final, which only managed them a spot in the Consolation final. Fastest time for the Medal Final went to the duo from the Ukraine.  In the Men’s K4 1000 metres semi-finals, the Australian quartet of Ken Wallace, Jacob Clear, Riley Fitzsimmons & Jordan Wood  finished 2nd in their Heat behind a big winning German team, and finished narrow winners in their semi-final over Portugal. Fastest time going into tonight’s Final [at 11.12pm] was the Czech Republic just ahead of Germany.


Early afternoon in Rio, would see the Women’s 20 km Walk, in which Australia was represented by Rachel Tallent [sister to Jared], Regan Lamble & Tanya Holliday.  The winner of this event was Liu Hong of China in 1:28:35 from Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez of Mexico in 1:28:37 and Lu Xiuzhi of China in 1:28:42. The Australians finished as follows – Regan Lamble, 9th in 1:30:28, Tanya Holliday, 26th in 1:34:22, and  Rachel Tallent, 40th in 1:37:08


In the Taekwondo competition , yesterday’s Women’s 67 kg event in which The Gold Medal went to South Korea Australia’s Carmen Martin, who was defeated in her bout by the then Turkish world champion, 11-1. Her sister, Caroline, competed in the Women’s 57 kg division.and was defeated by the Swedish competitor in her preliminary round. The Gold Medal was won by Jade Jones of Great Britain.   In the Men’s 80kg division, Hayder Shkar was defeated by the Great Britain competitor in his opening bout. The Gold Medal went to Cote d’Ivoire.


Rhythmic Gymnastics got underway today  –   the Individual All-Round Qualification saw the top three scores before the Final go to Russia, Russia and the Ukraine. Danielle Prince of Australia finished in 25th position, and did not qualify for the Final on Sunday morning.


The Synchronised Swimming competition continued with  the Teams Free Routine Final. The Nedals, from Gold to Bronze, went to Russia, China and Japan. Australia finished in 8th [and last] position


One of the disappointments of the day, from a pre-publicity point of view, occurred in the Cycling – BMX competition  –  Semi-finals and Finals of the Men’s and Women’s Individual events.  In the Men’s Final we saw the highly fancied Australians, Sam Willougby finish 6th, while Anthony Dean fell and did not finish. The Final was won by Anthony Dean of the USA.  In the Women’s division,  both Caroline Buchanan and Lauren Reynolds were involved in crashes in their semi-final, finishing in 5th and 6th place, and neither qualified for the Final which was won by Mariana Pajon of Colombia.,


The Men’s Basketball Semi-Finals were held today.   Australia [the Boomers] were attempting to win the first ever Medal in the Olympic arena, and with just the one loss in the opening rounds [to the USA by 10 points] they were in hot form coming up against Serbia whom they d4efeated a few days ago in convincing fashion.  But a different Australian team came onto the court today  –  Serbia raced away to an 8-0 lead, and never looked back –  at halftime, Serbia led 35-14, three quarter time 66-38, with the final score, a not very flattering loss to Australia 87-61. After six great performances, the ‘dream for Gold’ was over, with another semi-final lost by the Australian men by a big margin, with Serbia far too strong and committed after their earlier loss to the Aussies. As former basketball great, Andrew Gaze suggested [I was interviewed by his father for a job once!!] ‘Australia needs to suck it up, and take our hit’ –  the team can still create history by winning the Bronze at the weekend against Spain, who lost their semi-final match, narrowly, against the USA 82-76 earlier in the day.


In other team sports –  in the Women’s Football Final, Germany defeated Sweden  2-1 for the Gold Medal,  while Canada won the Bronze Medal over Brazil 2-1.   In the Final of the Women’s Water Polo the USA defeated Italy 12-5 for the Gold Medal, while the Bronze went to Russia over Hungary 19-18.   The Gold Medal match in the Women’s Hockey Final went to Great Britain over the more fancied Netherlands team –  level after normal and extra playing time at 3-3, a penalty shoot-out gave a convincing win to the Brits.  The Bronze was won by Germany over New Zealand 2-1.


In Wrestling today  the Men’s Freestyle 74 kg event saw Australia’s Taigat Ilyasov defeated in the qualification round 5-0 by the Japanese wrestler. The Gold Medal was won by Hassamn Yazdani of Iran.


Diving program continued today with the Men’s 10 Metre Platform. Two Australian divers competed –Dominic Bedggood and James Connor who have both qualified for the semi-final dives, commencing at 12am on Sunday morning, AEST. In the Preliminaries, Connors finished with the 9th best score, and Bedggood with the 17th highest score.  Tom Daleyof Great Britain leads the pack.


In the Badminton competition,  the Final of the Men’s Doubles was completed  –  Gold Medal went to H F Fu & N Zhang [China] over W K Tan & V S Goh of Malaysia. The Bronze Medal went to Great Britain over China [2nd tram]. In the Women’s Singles competition Carolina Marin of Spain won Gold over P V Sindhu of India, while the Bronze went Nozomi Okuhara of Japan. The Men’s Singles Finals will be played tonight – for Bronze, China vs Denmark at 9.30pm AEST, and for Gold , China vs Malaysia at 10.20pm AEST


Another wonderful evening session of Athletics today. And another Olympic Record created!!

The Women’s Pole Vault Final saw daughter of former Australian champion vaulter, Ray Boyd, competing in the final field – Alana Boyd, was at one stage in line to get into the Gold Medal position, but eventually couldn’t get beyond her final successful leap of 4.80 metres, and would finish in 4th place on a count back behind the New Zealand teenager, Eliza McCartney, who gained the Bronze Medal with the same leap.  The Gold Medal went to Ekaterina Stefanidi of Greece [4.85 metres], and the Silver to Sandi Morris of the USA [also 4.85 metres, defeated on a count back].

The Men’s Hammer Throw Final saw Gold go to Dilshod Nazarov of  Tajikistan [78.68m] ahead of Ivam Tsikhan of Belarus [77.79m] and Wojciech Nowicki of Poland [77.73m].

The Final of the Women’s 5000 Metres event was one I’d been looking forward to –  but had to listen to a radio description in the car.  An achievement for such a final to include in the field, three Australian girls  – true, unlikely to win a medal but just getting there was an achievement for Australian athletics alone. Not surprisingly, the first two runners to cross the finishing line were from Kenya – Gold to Vivian Cheruiyot in 14:26:17; Silver to HellenOnsando Obiri in 14:29:77, while the Bronze went to Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana in 14:33:59. The 4rg and 5th runners came from Kenya and Ethiopia also. As for the three Australians  –  Elois Wellings finished in 9th place [15:01:59], Madeline Hills was 10th [15:04:05] and Genevieve LaCaze in 12th place [15:10: 35]. There had been 18 starters in the field – last to finish, to the special applause of the stadium crowd was the girl from New Zealand, Nikki Hamblin, who in the heat had stopped midrace to assist a fallen fellow competitor – both girls were given special approval to compete in the final, although the other was unable to take her place because of the injury sustained in the initial fall. A wonderful example of sportsmanship by the Kiwi.

The Women’s 4 x 100 Metre Relay Final – Gold went to USA from Jamaica and Great Britain.

The Men’s 4 x 100 Metre Relay Final  –  well the winning Jamaican team, team, as their last runner crossed the finishing line received a tumultuous and sustained round of applause and cheers, because that runner was Usain Bolt, and by Jamaica winning that relay, he personally created Olympic history – by winning the Gold Medal in three events [100 metres, 200 metres, and the Relay] at three consecutive Olympic Games – Beijing, London & Rio] – yes he is a showman, but generally, not in a distasteful manner, my gripe has been with ‘sickening’ adoration and saturation coverage, in particular by our Seven television network, and Bruce McEvaney especially – but I guess that is what the average fan wants, just not this one. A brilliant athlete, nevertheless!!  Gold, Silver and Bronze to Jamaica [37.27secs], Japan [37.60] and Canada [37.64]. USA disqualified for some misdemeanour in the race.

The Women’s 4 x 400 Metre Relay Heats  –  the four Australian girls – Jess Thornton, Morgan Mitchell, Anneliese Rubie and Caitlin Sargent-Jones –  finished 4th in Heat 1 behind the USA, Ukraine and Poland, while Heat 2 was won by Jamaica from Great Britain and Canada. The fastest time was by the USA in 3:21:42. Australia qualified for the Final with a 8th fastest time of 3:25:71. That Final will be held at 11am Sunday morning AEST..

The Men’s 4 x 400 Metre Relay Heats saw Jamaica qualify fastest in 2:58:29 followed by USA and Belgium. Final to be held at 11.35 am Sunday morning.


Athletic and other Finals due Sunday morning, AEST time are  –  Women’s High Jump [9.30am]m Men’s Javelin [9.55am], Men’s 1500 Metre [10am – Ryan Gregson]; Women’s 800 Metres [10.15am]; Men’s 5000 Metres [10.30 am – Brett Robinson]; Women’s 4 x 400 Metre Relay [11am – Aussie girls]; and Men’s 4 x 400 Metre Relay [11.35am].

Women’s Triathlon [Midnight]; Men’s Modern Pentathlon [1-8 am – Max Esposito]; Women’s Basketball & Handball  [4.30am]; Men’s Football and Water Polo [6.30 ad 6.50am]; Men’ 10 Metre Platform Diving [5.30am], and Women’s Cross Country Mountain Bike [1.30am].




Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.18: Day 15 [for Saturday 20 August]- 


We are talking about Saturday’s events, but at 9.10 am Sunday, AEST,  you had to feel and be a part of the emotion that generated out of the huge crowd in the football stadium –  despite five World Cups, Brazil had made 13 attempts to win Olympic Gold in soccer. And they did –  in the Men’s Football Final  –  Brazil defeated Germany after the scores were ties at 1-1 following full time and a period of extra time –  followed by a penalty shootout – won by Brazil 5-4.For the people of Brazil, it was not just a football match, not just an Olympic final, and a first win in the Olympic football tournament –  it was described as a rediscovery of a lost identity for Brazil, in a sport that is a national passion, second only to the nation’s religion. Germany did nothing wrong throughout the tournament – except miss that one final penalty shot, and send the pro-Brazilian crowd into a frenzy of ecstasy!!

Gold Medal: Braxil; Silver Medal Germany;  Bronze Medal to Nigeria who defeated Honduras 3-2


Today’s competition saw the conclusion of the Women’s Golf Tournament.  It was won convincingly by Inbee Park of South Korea with a score of 268. The Silver went to Lydia Ko of New Zealand on 273, and the Bronze to Shanshan Feng of China on 274. The two Australians finished in equal 5th position [Minjee Lee on 276] and equal 9th [Su-Hyun Oh on 279]. Early inj the final round, the eventual overall winner had a clear lead of about 5 strokes, but she would eventually finish down the list for the day’s results but retained a strong enough score over the four rounds to remain in front at the end.


The Women’s Basketball Finals were completed today – for the Gold Medal, the USA won yet again, to defeat Spain 101-72. The Bronze Medal went to Serbia over France 70-63.  Serbia are proving a very powerful team in both the Men’s and Women’s event.


The Women’s Handball Finals saw a Gold Medal win to Russia over France 22-19. The Bronze Medal was won by Norway when they defeated the Netherlands 36-26.


In the Men’s Final of the Water Polo, Serbia defeated Croatia 11-7 for the Gold Medal, and Italy defeated Montenegro 12-10 to win the Bronze Medal


A short but spectacular program of track events in the Athletics Program today.

The Final of the Men’s 1500 Metres, featured for the first time in 40 years, an Australian finalist –  Ryan Gregson, current Australian record holder.  It was back in 1976 that Graham Crouch from Ballarat ran in this race – run at Montreal on the 31 July that year, Crouch finished in 8th [of 9 starters] in the time of 3:41:80 [ he had come second in a semi-final race in 3:39:86. The eventual winning time was 3:39:17 by New Zealand’s great John Walker.  I think I competed in the Ballarat athletics competition at the same time that Graham was in Ballarat in his developing years, though not against him, I imagine one of my brothers possibly did at some stage. He would win the 1500 Metres Final at the 1974 Commonwealth Games at Christchurch, NZ in an Australian record time of 3 mins 9 secs. Anyway, today’s race was run chasing a World Record of 3:26:00 and Olympic Record of 3:32:07 – neither would be challenged today after a very slow two laps, before the speed came on [in fact I believe it was the slowest 1500 race since 1932, and the Australian’s finishing was similar to Graham Crouch, Tyan finished 8th of 13 starters, running on strongly as he does, but this time left it a bit too late against a class field – his time: 3:51:39 [slower than Crouch].  The Gold Medal went to Matthew Centrowitz Jnr of the USA in 3:50:00. Silver to Taoufik Mackhioufi of Algeria in 3:50:11, and the Bronze Medal to Nick Willis of New Zealand in 3:50:24.

The Final of the Women’s 800 Metres followed the 1500. The Medals here went to Caster Semenya of South Africa [1:55:28], from Francine Nitonsaba of Burundi [1:56:49] and Margaret Wambui of Kenya [1:56:89].  The existing World and Olympic records of 1:53:28 and1:53:43 remained intact.

The Final of the Men’s 5000 Metres proved to be quite a rough race with the initial 3rdand 4th placegetters, and a third runner,  disqualified for interference during the race. Australia’s Brett Robinson was included in the field, and despite a game effort against a classy field, he finished back in 15th position [a time of 13:32:30] with one other runner behind him. The race winner was the popular Somali born athlete representing Great Britain , Mohamed Farah – in 13:03:30 – he created for himself the record of winning both the 5,000 and 10,000 Metre races at both the London and Rio Games. He won despite a ‘tactical’ race early by the Ethiopian runners to thwart Farah’s progress. Therewas some confusion over the order of placings initially, when 3rd, 4th an d a third runner were disqualified for interference, but eventually, on appeal, those disqualifications were reversed.  The Silver Medal went to Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo of the USA[ the Kenyan born US soldier] in 13:03:90 while Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia won the Bronze Medal in 13:04:35. Interestingly, the whole field were pretty well bunched together with 5 laps to go, with the unfortunate Robinson remaining near the rear of the pack for most of the race. The 5,000 Metres World Record is 12:37:35, and the Olympic Record 12:57.82.

The Women’s 4 x 400 Metre Relay Final saw the appearance of the four young Australian girls who ran so well in the semi-final on Friday – running in the same order as that race –  Jess Thornton, Anneliese Rubie and Caitlin Sargent-Jones and Morgan Mitchell –  were keeping up with the second half of the field after the first two laps, but by the time the baton got to Mitchell, there was too much ground for the young Indigenous runner to make up, and the girls would finish the race in 8th and last position, in a time of 3:27:45 [Friday’s time was 3:25:71].  The three medals went to the USA [Gold] in 3:19:06, the fast-finishing Jamaica [Silver] in 3:20:34, and the Bronze to Great Britain in 3:25:88. The World and Olympic record for this event is 3:15:17.

The Men’s 4 x 400 Metre Relay Final was won by the USA in 2:57:30, from Jamaica [2:58:16] and the Bahamas [2:58:49]. The US were challenged during the race by the team from Botswana, who faded back to 5th place in the last 100 metres behind the medallists, and a late dash by the Belgium team. The World and Olympic records are 2:54:29 and 2:55:39.

Two field events were finalised today. The Women’s High Jump Final was won by Ruth Beitia of Spain, with a jump of 1.97m, on a count back ahead of Mirela Deneriva of Bulgaria [1.97m], with the Bronze Medal going to Blanka Viasic of  Croatia [1.97m].

The Men’s Javelin Final went to Thomas Rohler of Germany [90.30m], ahead of Julius Yego of Kenya [88.24m] and Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad & Tobago [85.37m].


The Women’s Volleyball Final was a late finisher on Saturday’s program, again, a team sport involving Serbia up against China.   The team from China defeated Serbia for the Gold 3-1, while the Bronze Medal went to the USA over the Netherlands 3-1.


In the Diving competition the Final of the Men’s 10m Platform was decided. The Gold went to Chen Aisen of China [585.30 pts], the Silver to German Sanchez  [532.70 pts] and the Bronze to David Boudia of the USA [525.25 pts].  Domonic Bedggood of Australia finished last [12th] with 403.80 pts.


Today’s Kayaking finals featured four vents. The Final of the Men’s K1 200 Metres saw a win to Liam Heath of Great Britain from the kayakers from France [Silver]  and Spain and Germany, who dead heated for third. The winning time just 35.19 secs. Australia’s Stephen Bird finished at the rear of the boats in 36.42 secs.

The Final of the Men’s C2 1000 Metres was won by the duo from Germany in 3:43:91 from Brazil and Ukraine. In the Consolation Final, the Australians Martin Marinov [born Bulgaria] and Ference Szekszard [born Hungary] finished 2nd in that event in 4:10:23.

The Final of the Women’s K4 500 Metres was won by Hungary, from Germany and Belarus, in the winning time of 1:31:48.

The Final of the Men’s K4 1000 metres – which once again, saw the ‘experts’ suggesting Australia were a strong medal chance [Australia were the defending champions] –  the Gold Medal went to a strong German quartet [in a class of their own] in 3:02:14 ahead of Slovakia and the Czech Republic.. The Australians – Ken Wallace, Jacob Clear, Riley Fitzsimmons & Jordan Wood  – 4th in 3:06:73. Interestingly this was a reverse of the 2012 result when Australia finished 1st, Germany in 4rg position.


The Women’s Triathlon event was held today. The Gold Medal went to Gwen Jorgensen of the USA in a time of 1:56:16; the Silver to Nicola Spirig of Switzerland [1:56:56], and the Bronze to Vicky Holland of Great Britain [1:57:01]. The three Australian competitors were –  Emma Moffatt [1:57:55], Erin Densham [1:59:27] and Ashleigh Gentle [2:01:44].


In Cycling, the Women’s Mountain Bike Cross Country event  – here, our Rebecca Henderson, who I believe was suffering from an injury of some kind, finished back in 25th position, having been lapped. The three medals went to Jenny Rissveds of Sweden in 1hr, 30 mins,15secs, from Maja Wioszczowski of Poland [1:30:52], and Catharine Pendril of Canada [1:31:41].


The Men’s equivalent of the Modern Pentathlon followed today. I mentioned the other day that the Fencing component  had been held for both Men and Women on Thursday before yesterday’s Women’s event. In fact that was a ‘seeding’ competition for the Fencing to determine the order of contestants etc, as each competitor is required to fence each other. So as with yesterday, the order of categories for the Men was the same as the Women. The Women’s Gold Medal winner – Chloe Esposito – her younger brother was in today’s events, and like his sister, he would start the final section of the race [running and shooting] some 45 seconds behind the leader, but would produce a similar fast finish – not enough to get him into the medals on this occasion, but running on  from 17th to 7th position in the final analysis, with 1,462 points. The Gold, Silver and Bronze went to Aleksander Lusun of Russia [1479 pts, an Olympic record], Pavlo Tymoshchenko of Ukraine [1472 pts] and Ismael Hernandez Uscanga of Mexico [1468 pts].  A successful Olympics by the Esposito siblings.


Rhythmic Gymnnastics –  the Individual All-Round Final – Gold and Bronze went to Russian competitors from Ukraine.


We had some Boxing Finals today.  Men’s Middleweight, 75 kg –  Gold to Cuba, Silver to Uzbekistan, and Bronze medals to Azerbaijan and Mexico. Men’s Bantamweight 56kg –  Cuba defeated the USA for Gold, while the Bronze winners came from Russia and Uzbekistan. Women’s Flyweight, 51 kg – Gold to Nicola Adams of Great Britain, over France, with the two Bronze winners being China and Colombia.


In the Badminton competition, that program ended today with the Men’s Singles Final. The Gold Medal match saw the Chen Long of China  defeat Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei 2-0,  while for the Bronze medal, the second Chinese player, Lin Dan was defeated by Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen..


The final full day of competition tomorrow  includes the Men’s Marathon at 10.30pm Sunday AEST; the Men’s Basketball finals – for Bronze, Australia vs Spain [12.30am Monday AEST] and for Gold, USA vs Serbia [4.45am Monday]; Men’s Cross Country Mountain Bike [1.30 am Monday]; and finals in Rhythmic Gymnastics, Wrestling, Men’s Volleyball Final [Italy vs Brazil, 2.15am], Boxing; and the Men’s Handball Final [France vs Denmark, 3am].




Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.19: Day 16 [for Sunday 21 August]- 

Final day of competition prior to the Closing Ceremony of the 2016 31st Olympic Games.

The day began with what I consider one of my favourite events – the Men’s Marathon, run over 42.195 kms [or 26 miles, 385 yards] – a huge starting list, created as a consequence apparently of the authorities relaxing a little bit the entry qualifications for participation. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Philippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, who reported the victory.

The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 500 marathons are held throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes as larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.

Australia had three participants this year – all completed the run though were not in contention for any medals.  The eventual winner was  Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya [only the second Kenyan to have won the Marathon] in the time of 2hrs,8mins,44secs. The Silver Medal went to Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia in 2:09:54, and Bronze to the USA’s Galen Rupp in 2:10:65.

The three Australians –  Liam Adams finished 31st in 2:16:12; Michael Shelly, 47th  in 2:18:16; and Scott Westcott in 81st position in 2:22:19. This race was Scott’s debut run in the Marathon, at the age of 40 years – Westcott, 40, was the oldest athlete on the Australian athletics team, and the third oldest runner in the marathon field.  He has taken a lifetime to be here [after making numerous attempts to qualify for the event] and knew it was to be his run of a lifetime. There would not be another Olympics


The Finals of the Men’s Basketball competition was to be the Australian team’s attempt at redemption for their failure two days ago in the semi-final against Serbia. After another slow start in the match for the Bronze Medal against Spain, the ‘Boomers’ matched it goal for goal for most of the second half  – and with under 6 seconds to play, only had to get the ball down to their goal and score to win the game –  somewhere along the way, we lost control of the ball, and lost the opportunity for the Men’s Basketball team to win its first ever Olympic medal of any colour  –  the result Spain  89 defeated Australia 88, a shattering disappointment in what had been a terrific campaign by the Boomers with perhaps the exception of the semi-final.

The Gold Medal match was won as expected by the USA defeating Serbia 96-66. One might have expected the Australians on the basis of their overall form to have got much closer to the USA, if they’d taken the opportunity to win their way into the Gold Medal match. Now, the team is looking ahead already to Tokyo in 2020.


There were two other team sport finals today.  The Men’s Volleyball Final saw another popular win to Brazil, defeating Italy 3-0. The Bronze Medal went to the USA over Russia 3-2.  In the Men’s Handball Final [a coverage of which I would have loved the opportunity to see], the Gold Medal went to Denmark who defeated France 28-26 in an obviously exciting finish. The Bronze Medal went to Germany over Poland 31-25.


The Men’s Cross Country Mountain Bike event resulted in a win for Nino Schurter of Germany [in 1:33:28] ahead of  Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic [1:34:18] and Carlos Colona Nicolas of Spain [1:34:51]. The two Australian competitors were Daniel McConnell, finished 16th in 1:38:42, and Scott Bowden, 36th [lapped].


Rhythmic Gymnastics final event was the Group All Round Final – This went to Russia ahead of Spain and Bukgaria.


Wrestling finals were held in the Men’s Freestryle 65 kg division – Gold and Silver Medals went to Azerbaijan and Russia while the two Bronze medals were won by the wrestlers from Italy & Uzbkistan [Australia’s Sahit Inzreni lost his qualifying round event].  In the Men’s Freestyle 97 kg division, the medal winners were the USA, Azerbaijan, Romania and Uzbekistan.


In the Boxing competition –  Men’s Light Welterweight [64kg] was won by Uzbekistan over Azerbaijan, with Russia and Germany gaining the Bronze medals.  The Women’s Middleweight [75kg] went to the USA over the Netherlands, Kazakhstan and China.  The Men’s Super Heavyweight [Over 91kg], last event on the program, saw the Gold go to France over Great Britain, with the Bronze medals awarded to Croatia and Kazakhstan.


The Final Medal Tally for the Top 10 teams stood as follows.  Gold    Silver    Bronze    [Total]

  1. USA…………………..46 37    38     [121]
  2. Great Britain………….27 23     17    [67]
  3. ,………………..26 18     26     [70]
  4. Russia…………………19 18     19    [56]
  5. Germany……………..17 10     15    [42]
  6. Japan…………………12 8      21   [41]
  7. France………………..10 18     14   [42]
  8. South Korea………….9 3       9    [21]
  9. Italy            8      12      8      [28]
  10. Australia 8      11      10    [29]


I shall return for one final assessment of ‘my’ most memorable moments of the 2016 Oly,puic Games




Bill’s Rio Olympic update No.20: My highlights


I make no apologies for my lifelong passion and interest in both the Olympic and the Commonwealth Games – yes there are drawbacks, controversies, scandals and particularly the problem of drugs and doping. But I respect and support the overall concept of the Games, and what they are supposed to represent.

When I wrote my booklet about the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, at which  I was a Volunteer in the Spectator Services area,  and also attended a variety of events, I would make the comment  – ‘The Games in Sydney, and other previous Games, always appear to create a magnificent aura of goodwill and acceptance between different nationalities, races etc, as athletes from all corners of the world meet together, march as one [particularly in the Closing Ceremony], live and share the facilities of the Games villages, and while competing strongly to be the particular winner in their eventual event, in the main do so in an environment of mutual respect, friendship and admiration for those they compete against.’……………..sadly 16 years later, one still has to suggest that…………..”it is therefore disappointing that so often, that kind of environment cannot be maintained between the respective nations of those athletes. While that cannot be held as the responsibility of the Olympic Games, as such, it must surely be the responsibility of the human race to endeavour to carry over that chain of goodwill into life outside of the various Games arenas’………….and probably as then, that can only be still a ‘pipedream’ of mine, yet I’d still like to try and maintain some element of optimism, that somehow, the kind of goodwill generated amongst those who participate and support the Olympic Games can be maintained outside of the ‘arena’.


As for 2016, here briefly are the performances that had the most effect on my ‘passion’ and interest in what happened at Rio, Others may have far-differing opinions, and of course not all events were of equal interest to me, for example, the young American female gymnastic competitor who won four Gold medals would rank highly for those with a particular interest in that area.


The first three listed are my three major highlights,  the others are not listed in any particular order.

  1. Chloe Esposito’s performance, finish and lifelong dedication, in winning the Women’s equivalent of the Modern Pentathlon [and a day later, her younger brother’s almost equal performance in finishing 7th in the men’s event] – Chloe you were an inspiration.
  2. Our Women’s Rugby 7’s Team in winning the Gold Medal.
  3. The four young Australian women athletes who won themselves a place in the Final of the Women’s 4 x 400 Metre Relay, they came last but provided a demonstration of the hopes of the future of Athletics in this country, together with a number of other excellent performances by Australians in the athletics competition [a couple noted below] – the girls, Morgan Mitchell, Jess Thornton, Anneliese Rubie and Caitlin Sargent.
  • The performances over 4 Olympic campaigns of American swimmer, Michael Phelps.
  • The New Zealand athlete who stopped in her 5,000 Metre semi-final, and remained behind the field to assist a fallen fellow competitor, and encourage the injured girl to continue. Both girls were placed into the final in recognition of that incident, though only the Kiwi was fit enough to run.
  • The 32 year old Japanese wrestler, Kaori Icho, who became the first woman to win Gold Medals at four consecutive Olympic Games, in her sport.
  • Brazil’s team Gold Medal wins in the Women’s Beach Volleyball, and the Men’s Football Final, the latter in particular for what it did for the restoration of the lost pride of the host nation; and Fiji’s win in the Men’s Rugby 7’s, what a boost for that little nation..
  • The performances of Australian athletes in winning places in the finals of their respective events – Ryan Gregson in the Men’s 1500 Metres Final, and Elios Wellings. Madeline Hills & Genevieve LaCaze in the Women’s 5000 Metres Final.
  • The Gold Medal to our Shooter [Catherine Skinner Women’s Trap], and Silver medals to six Australian sailors in the Mixed Nacra 17  [Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darminan], Men’s 470 [Matt Belcher & Will Ryan – this one I really enjoyed watching], and Men’s 49er [Nathan Outterideg and Iain Jensen] .
  • Usain Bolt – say no more!
  • Special mention – to our flag bearer and champion cyclist, Anna Meares.


Interested in other viewpoints.



Posted by: jkirkby8712 | September 27, 2014

ANZAC Centenary a mission gone wrong

There are many who will probably disagree passionately with the sentiments expressed in parts of this article, which appeared in the Melbourne Age newspaper on the 26th February this year, and written by columnist, James Brown. I generally have felt a great deal of respect and pride for most of our Australian forces who for various reasons have been required to serve overseas in major or minor wars and other conflicts since the days of the Boer War, though perhaps in modern times, our motives and reasons for such involvement have changed. My Grandfather served in Northern Africa and France in World War I, my Father served in New Guinea and associated areas during the Second World War, and my youngest brother’s career was with the Australian Army, including a period in Malaysia during that country’s problems, and as a part of Australia’s peace keeping role in East Timor in more recent years. So my respect is personal as well as general in it’s outlook.
However, I do feel that James Brown makes some relevant points, and I personally feel that there are other areas of war and conflicts that Australian forces have served in, which in many cases, achieved more success, and less loss of life, than the pre-occupation with the disastrous ANZAC campaign at Gallipoli. Mind you, as you read this article, it will become obvious that Brown’s particular concern is with the excess expenditure on such things as the ANZAC commemoration in preference to more contemporary military needs as part of our modern day defence capabilities, and that we don’t just look to the past, but keep the future in mind as well. Whatever readers feel on the subject, I include Brown’s piece in my Column for general interest and consideration of another view of the plans for ANZAC and WWI centenary celebrations……………………
However, before we read James Brown’s article, let me briefly point to the comments of author Jonathan King from his book of a few year’s ago ‘The Western Front Diaries’’ published on the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I. There he makes it quite clear, that the importance of the Gallipoli campaign from the 25 April 1915, has wrongly overshadowed Australia’s efforts on the Western Front during most of the duration of World War I. Writing in 2008, King notes: –
“Although Gallipoli may long have held a place in the national psyche as the most important Australian theatre of all, this honour really should belong to the Western Front. Never have so many Australians fought so hard in one campaign to achieve such great results. While they retreated from Gallipoli with great reservations at leaving a job undone and so many mates buried on those hopeless slopes, after the Western Front the Diggers returned to Australia [those who survived] full of pride at having acquitted themselves with honour………………………..many Australians have not heard of major Western Front battles or know where they were, so preoccupied are they with Gallipoli…’ [pp.33-35 in ‘The Western Front Diaries’ by Jonathan King, pub. 2008].
But back to the recent article, referred to at the beginning of this contribution, and while he doesn’t refer directly to the Western Front, his emphasise points to the ‘over-indulgence’ of the Gallipoli campaign to the exclusion of all else, including modern defence needs……………………
By James Brown, the Age, 26th February 2014 – Excess in the Anzac centenary overlooks other military endeavours – Beyond the crass commercialisation, this extravaganza perpetuates a myth that undercuts the work of modern soldiers.
Australia is about to spend $325 million commemorating Anzac. It’s an extraordinary amount of money for a country that already has a war memorial in nearly every suburb. It stands starkly in contrast to the cost-cutting across every other area of policy in cash-strapped state and federal governments.
Though we are absolutely right to mark the significance of the centenary of the First World War, Australia will outspend the United Kingdom’s centenary program by 200 per cent. Anzac remembrance on this side of the Tasman will cost nearly 20 times what our New Zealand colleagues have allocated. Rather than letting silent contemplation be our offering to those who served and died for us, we are embarking on a discordant and exorbitant four-year festival, that looks like an Anzacs arms race of sorts.
Across the country, and in the Dardanelles, Australians are looking for bigger and better ways to salute our military forebears. And many companies are looking to cash in.
In 2015 cruise ships will ply Anzac Cove as Bert Newton narrates the war. One company has applied for permission to market an Anzac ice-cream, another here in Melbourne has been awarded $27million in contracts for Anzac events management. Government is crafting an Anzac merchandising plan to match. A century after Gallipoli, the Anzac spirit is being bottled, stamped, and sold.
But beyond the excesses, and crass commercialisation, the real danger of our approach to this centenary is that all our efforts might be occluding the stories of our modern veterans and undercutting the work of the current Australian Defence Force. Every story we tell about Simpson and his donkey in the next four years is a story we are not telling about the work of our modern military in places like Afghanistan.
Over the past years I’ve been staggered by the fact that despite attending dawn services in increasing numbers, Australians I speak to seem to understand less and less about the nature of modern war and the work of our serving soldiers. We have a limited bandwidth to look at military issues, after all we live in a country thankfully far away from most of the world’s traditional conflict zones and relatively unscathed by direct experience of war.
It’s stretching a little – but only a little – to conclude that most Australians would only have ever seen their soldiers performing ceremonial duties. That is true for surprising numbers of our elected representatives as well. Engaging with the military on only one day of the year may be engendering a superficial public understanding of the Defence Force and modern war.
Compared to our closest allies, public conversations on the military in Australia seem excessively simplistic and bifurcated. On one hand shrill voices deny the legitimacy of a professional military and the possibility of armed conflict. On the other the jingoistic mindlessly trumpet the majesty of the Defence Force without pausing to critically assess its performance. The middle ground, in which we accept military force is sometimes necessary but should not be used capriciously, has fallen away. A nuanced public discussion that should help lift the performance of our military isn’t happening. Putting the soldiers of 100 years ago on too high a pedestal can be problematic too.
Because of our constant stories of Anzac, many Australians believe in the exceptionalism of the Australian soldier. A belief that all Australia needs do in time of war is hand a rifle to every athletic man, and a grenade to every cricket player, engenders complacency about current defence policy.
Inexplicably, while we are planning to construct more war memorials, our Defence Force remains under-funded. Both sides of politics acknowledge that we are spending 0.4 per cent of GDP less on the military than is necessary to keep its equipment modernised and ready, and its people well trained and protected.
In Port Phillip finishing touches are being applied to Australia’s two new helicopter carriers. One hundred years after the landings at Anzac Cove our Defence Force is once again looking to learn the science of amphibious operations and landing troops on distant shores. Though Australians have focused much on the sacrifice at Anzac, we have forgotten many of the lessons of the military operation at Gallipoli.
Today, the military experts on the amphibious battles of the Dardanelles are to be found in Quantico not Canberra. In the 1930s George Patton jnr, then a lieutenant-colonel, was dispatched to Anzac Cove to study the Australian defeat. His conclusions and a multi-year study helped the US Marine Corps develop the amphibious doctrine that underpinned their success in the Pacific during the Second World War. Even today, new Marine Corps officers study the battles of Gallipoli in detail. Yet in the Australian Defence Force, our junior officers engage with Gallipoli mostly through the emotion of Anzac Day.
If we are serious in our concern about the needless loss of lives in battle, then we have a responsibility to understand more about where our soldiers might be deployed tomorrow and how they might be led. Rather than building new multimillion dollar Anzac interpretative centres in far-flung Albany, we need a centre to interpret the lessons of our more modern wars and help shape our thinking about defending against future strife.
Respect for our military dead is important. There is much that is good about Anzac. But we must make sure that we balance looking back to the past with looking ahead to the future.
We cannot bring back our slain soldiers, no matter how grand our commemorations. But we can work to save the lives of soldiers now, and in the future.
[James Brown served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Solomon Islands. He is the author of Anzac’s Long Shadow: the cost of our national obsession.]

An overcast and cold morning outside when I eventually emerged this morning. Another day of hospital visiting ahead was my plan, and we will just see what else the day brings. Seems like it might be a little more difficult to keep warm this time!

As has happened on numerous occasions over past weeks, Heather and I sent texts to each other at almost the same moment, not as a response to an earlier message, it just simply occurred that way. As I submitted my morning greeting, hers came through!  A  pleasant way to start one’s morning.

Occasionally yesterday, whilst talking to me, or to others, Heather would express the desire for a ‘bullet’ as a solution to ending the pain that her newly reconstructed leg was giving her. Perhaps the following verse might have been a good comeback to those feelings. Written by Eileen Caddy in ‘Footprints on the Path’, it read as

When you feel

that you have reached the end

and that you cannot go

one step further,

when life seems to be

drained of all purpose;

What a wonderful opportunity

to start all over again

to turn over a new page.


After leaving the motel this morning, I decided that my first ‘port of call’ would be the Art Gallery of Ballarat – quick look through the ;shop’, and a brief perusal of any new acquisitions or exhibitions currently on display. Just before I left, the sun came out as I was having a brief chat with the motel proprietor, but it was short-lived [the sun] at that stage!!

I spent about 40 minutes in the Art Gallery – always enjoy mu visits there, though today, I only explored the lower floor displays after a period of perusal in the shop area. Discovered that there were no large future prints of  the Australian classics planned for the near future – a bit of a disappointment as I was hoping  to purchase a companion to the Charles Condor print I’d bought earlier in the year. I did buy an ‘arty’ card for Heather. Meanwhile, a cappuccino in a nearby cafe took the time of my parking meter in Lydiard Street up to ity’s kimit, before I was on the move again.

Drove up to the Macarthur Street Primary School, and wandered in to the office/administration area. While I was not optimistic about getting any response today, I was wanting to confirm my enrolment date at the school. Surprisingly the lady who attended to my enquiry was able to find the relevant record from some 14,000 names she had on an Excel spreadsheet. It was confirmed that I ‘commenced my schooling at the Macarthur Street school on the 3rd February  1953 where I was admitted to Grade 1. This fitted in with the following years, ending up in Grade 6 on 1958, finishing mu Primary School education on the 19th December 1958, from whence I went to the Ballarat East High School as it then was.  At February 1953, I was six and half years old. Prior to then, I had this memory that I was a pupil at the Pleasant Street Primary School, on Wendouree Parade, opposite the Lake, but only for a short period of time. Next stop was that school  – their records were archived and more difficult to access.  The administration person took note of my details, and promised to get back to me at some stage with the answer to my enquiry – was I ever enrolled at Pleasant Street?

Spent just under an hour with Heather in the ward  – her friend Jan was there for about half of that time, and there was a brief break for a medical situation, when I went for a walk downstairs. Apparently Von, and Heather’s neighbour, Judy, had both been in earlier – again, I was sorry to have missed them. As for Heather, she seemed much brighter this morning, not in quite the same degree of pain as she was yesterday, although her major worry for a large part of the day, was the suggestion that she would be right to go home tomorrow!! That was obviously not a realistic proposition, yet it would not be until late afternoon that medical and nursing agreement, and a bit of push from a couple of social workers, that Heather could be confident that she was going to be allowed to remain until at least Monday.

Visiting hours off between 1pm-2.30pm – that saw me back into the city area, where after a light lunch, I called in at the Collins on Sturt bookstore./ A bit of a mistake that  – there for quite a while, and spent a bit of money I’d not really intended!! That included a couple of small inspirational booklets for Heather – yes, she was getting spoilt –  and a couple of selections for myself, including two classic Wordsworth volumes by Homer  – The Iliad, and The Odyssey  –  I think I may have an old copy of one of those, but decided these were a set that would fit in nicely with my ‘Wordsworth’ library collections. Also purchased a copy of a book by Michael Kerrigan –  ‘100 Great Art Masterpieces’ – just a cheaper discount volume, but an interesting selection of some of the great paintings.

With Heather at the hospital for just under 3 hours this afternoon – various visits from medical personnel, her social worker friends, etc, all of whom combined to make sure that Heather was not forced to return home tomorrow. Relief for her eventually when it was confirmed that the situation would be reassessed on Monday. Not a great deal of time for us to be alone, but that was expected and accepted – Heather has a great support group of friends, and I was pleased that they were making their presence felt. I just hope that support continues after she returns home and is relative immobile for a few weeks! Once again, I would leave a little earlier than intended, with the hope of allowing Heather a bit of extra rest – but again, that hope was short-lived, as she would have further visitors. At least tonight, she would manage to get a reasonably uninterrupted sleep with a few other emergency cases keeping the attention of the nursing staff away from my friend.

A quick drive back to the motel – seemed to be a few more patrons tonight, including a group of guys who seemed to be settling in to watch the football, in the room next to mine.  Perhaps it may not be so quiet tonight!! Drove back up to Mair Street, just half a block from the hospital, where Ross & Anne loved – eventually found their home, not so obvious in the dark. I liked their place – long passageway with various rooms leading off to one side, and the upstairs and external areas – and all the walls covered with paintings, pictures and various other ornamental decorations covering a wide range of areas – bit of emphasise on sports, grandchildren, etc, chandeliers, and so on – I imagine much of the material in the house had come from the Antique shop in Armstrong Street, just recently sold up!

Dinner tonight at the Eureka Pizza Restaurant in Sturt Street, guests of Ross and wife Anne. She was quite tired this evening – fairly normal apparently for a Friday night after a long day with a large group of kindergarten children that she teaches!  On the odd occasions when talkative Ross wandered off, and was waylaid by someone he knew [everyone in the restaurant it seemed], I found myself unusually having to make the conversation with Anne, I think she is often so tired [with Ross’s regular conversation, that she chills out. Heather’s brother is a great guy  – he loves ‘talking’!!  Meanwhile, I enjoyed a beautiful meal  – marinara pasta plus a shared pancake later with Ross. Very popular, large, busy and noisy restaurant, and with our table almost opposite a well replenished fire place,  it a lot warmer than was possibly comfortable at times. I must admit that I found it intriguing, the way Ross introduced me to people –  ‘our friend Bill, who is currently looking after my big sister’!!

Back to the car parked in Mair Street, said our goodnights, and I later also exchanged a greeting with Heather who was settling down for the night. No other distractions, I drove straight back to the motel – bit of writing, reading, and watched the end of a close Collingwood/Geelong football match. The end of that game signalled the departure of some of my neighbour’s friends, but it was a while before the room occupant himself settled down – not much thickness in the adjoining walls!! For myself, a bit of a restless night, but managed a reasonable sleep.




I intended to begin the day with a visit to the gymnasium, but after a day and night, not feeling at all well, I decided it might be best to give that exercise a rest today, instead took my time getting organised this morning, for an earlier start than planned, for another trip to Ballarat   I was actually surprised by an early morning ‘hello’ from Heather – didn’t think she would have her phone in the hospital ward.

I think it was soon after 9.30 when I left Sunbury. Despite a very cold start to the morning, it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, and the drive down the highway, via Melton was quite warm in the sunshine.  My arrival in Ballarat, found the same weather, a glorious day. More or less drove straight up to the Ballarat Bass Hospital, parking a couple of blocks away in a two hour spot!  As visiting hours this morning were 11am-1pm, and I arrived here just after 11am, that was perfect. It took me a little find to familiarize myself with the hospital layout, but eventually found my way to Room 209 on the second level of the north wing, and found Heather and her daughter, Von, sitting on chairs talking, beside the bed. Von left soon after. And I would stay with Heather until just before one o’clock.

Surprisingly, she was in a lot more pain, than she really should have been, and it was not until I returned later that afternoon that the reason for that was discovered. She was supposed to be wearing some form of pain patch, but apparently during her shower this morning, it had been knocked off, and not noticed until this afternoon. Staff had been filling her up with other pain killers, probably thinking she was asking for too much, when the real villain was lying on the bathroom floor for half the day.  As it was, it would not be until after 5pm, before the hospital pharmacy finally provided a replacement patch. So for a lot of the time that I was there with Heather today, she was genuinely in a lot of pain from her ‘repaired’ knee. Meanwhile, during that morning period, her brother Ross called in briefly, with some flowers and greetings – he didn’t stay long, but I was pleased to see him.  I think our patient was trying to recover from a rather unappetizing lunch, when I left at around 12.45pm.

I drove down to the main town area, and eventually met up with my sister Jean, and her husband Ross, in the Mall, and we adjourned to a nearby restaurant for a bite of lunch. Rosemary and Marc joined us soon after, although they had already eaten! A pleasant hour or so over lunch –  I decided today was the time to have what was a rather tasty Mediterrean Salad, and even survived the rich layers of oil, and the multitude of olives which I generally avoid in any quantity. Ross, who had recently resigned from his technician’s role at the Ballarat Grammar School, was ‘enjoying’ his new found freedom of working weekends and some weekdays as a motor cycle instructor and teacher, so a lunch outing like this was a treat for him too. Actually, the meal was a treat for me – I didn’t have to pay!!  I enjoyed that brief sojourn with my sister and part of her family, though had to offer apologies for staying at a motel in Ballarat, rather than accepting their hospitality out at Enfield – explained in terms of  independence, convenience, etc. I think that was understood!

From lunch, I drove across to the Eureka Lodge Motel, where I was expected, and checked for a couple of days. Slightly different room to the one bed variety I had the other night – this one had three beds in it!!  I really only needed the one!  From there, I drove across to Wendouree Parade, via Neil  & Macarthur streets, purchasing a copy of the Ballarat Courier, and the Age, along the way. Stopped at the Chaser’s Restaurant, where I had met Heather and Von last Sunday morning – the weather much more pleasant today –  and shouted myself an ‘over-expensive’ iced coffee, and read a bit of the ‘Courier’. It was while doing that I came across a couple of interesting articles. One of them related to the Ballarat Art Gallery!  As a member and fan of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, I was interested to find the following article [partially reproduced] in today’s Ballarat Courier, under the heading ‘Celebrate the art we do have’, and written by journalist, Kim Anderson – obviously in response to criticism from some areas as to why the Ballarat Gallery did not exhibit the recent successful ‘Grace Kelly’ exhibition held at the Bendigo Art Gallery. After reading this, I simply had to say “hear, hear”!! The article follows, in part.

‘Of all those people leaping onto the bandwagon to criticise the Art Gallery of Ballarat for not holding a ‘frock show’, how many of you have also bothered to actually visit the gallery and view the amazing collection on display? Yes – the permanent collection- as in work that we, collectively, as citizens of Ballarat, can be proud to call ours. Why is it that we are quick to praise something further afield, while ignoring the riches literally beneath our noses?

Ballarat has an extremely significant permanent collection with a major focus on Australian art, a collection which is ever-increasing in quantity and quality thanks to the passion and vision of the gallery’s directors, both past and present.  And it doesn’t cost a cent to see. You can walk in there, free of charge, and view masterpieces by some of Australia’s greatest artists including Margaret Olley, Jeffrey Smart, John Brack and Hans Heyson, to mention but a few. And I haven’t even mentioned the stunningly beautiful indigenous art on display, nor the extensive collection of works on paper or the rare illuminated manuscripts. Ballarat’s collection also offers an invaluable insight into the history of our region from the very first colonial settlements [including many works by convict artists] right through to works by local artists. Surely that holds much greater value than a few dresses worn by a dead movie star [with all due respect to Princess Grace]. The Grace Kelly exhibition, along with all the other ‘couture’ shows that Bendigo has held recently, has been brought in, ‘ready-made’ from the UK at great expense [my greatest apologies to Duchamp for using the term in this instance].

The Art Gallery of Ballarat curates the majority of its own shows, most of which showcase at least some aspect of its permanent collection. And that, I might point out, is Ballarat’s strong point. Our permanent collection is one of the best in Victoria outside of the NGV, and dare I say it, in all of Australia……………..The Art Gallery of Ballarat is one of the most spectacular jewels in Ballarat’s crown, achieving it’s status neither from royalty or celebrity, but from a genuine vision to establish an uplifting and inspiring cultural institution that originated with its founder James Oddie in 1884. However, unfortunately, artistic and scholarly integrity now seems to be undervalued and overlooked in favour of temporary easy-to-digest blockbusters. Titanic might have broken numerous box office records, and it’s even been presented in 3D now,  but could it actually be truly classed as a high-quality film? The sad truth is that mediocrity tends to appeal to the masses, and before you retaliate I’m not the first to say so. Bendigo’s visitor numbers mean very little when it comes to making comparisons between the two institutions. Apples are not oranges, and a fashion show is not an exhibition of art – although certainly there can be a crossover in some cases. I absolutely agree that there is an appropriate place for both, and neither should be in competition with each other………………Dresses and shoes are pleasant and pretty. ‘Real’ art is perhaps perceived as a little more challenging………..Art is challenging, memorable, soothing, provocative, emotionally and psychologically arousing, raises many questions and provides some insights into the human condition. It’s incredibly complex, and thus ultimately more rewarding.’

Spent the next 3-4 hours back in the ward with Heather, although she was not there when I arrived – was away having x-rays. When she came back, with me waiting in the background, she was helped in the bathroom for a while [that was when the missing pain patch was discovered], and it was afterwards that the full extent of her distress from pain was evident – not so bad lying down, but when she has to try and walk, even with assistance, the pain and  discomfort becomes quite severe. She was upset that I was seeing her distressed in that manner, though I think we quickly assured my friend,  that such feelings were unnecessary, I just wished there was something I could do to ease her discomfort! No other visitors while I was there, until after school when Von came in with her two teenage daughters [Heather’s granddaughters]. Earlier, I went for a wander downstairs, while Heather was attended to by the nursing staff again, and returned while she was eating the evening meal – in fact, she was actually eating the meal this time, which was a good sign.

I think it was getting on towards 6.30pm when I left, felt that Heather was probably ready for a rest and a bit of a sleep – however, she would have to wait for that, as she had some late visitors – I was a little disappointed to have missed a  return visit by her brother Ross, and a couple of other friends, would have liked to have met them.

Bought a meal of roast vegetables from a nearby establishment, and returned to the motel for the evening, where I would have a comfortable and warm night. A couple of goodnight messages from Heather, as she tried to settle down for the night, although no doubt she would be disturbed throughout the night by the nursing staff.  UI had no such problems – very quiet again, around this motel, watched a bit of TV, wrote, read, and generally slept fairly well, with the occasional short break.



A bit of a Face Book  message discussion with Ruth during the morning concerning my ‘friend’ in the Ballarat Hospital. I guess Ruth guessed!! Meanwhile, I was kept up to date with progress, and by early afternoon, the operation was over and Heather was out of recovery and into her ward, feeling rather miserable and ‘away with the pixies’ to quote her daughter.  I the meantime, I decided to get some flowers delivered – via White’s Florist in Ballarat, and I later learnt they arrived a few hours afterwards!

Throughout the day, I was kept updated on the recovery phases of Heather after this morning’s operation, by her daughter. In fact this evening, while I was eating, Heather rang me herself – just a brief chat, as she was rather hard to understand, sounding very groggy and tired, said she couldn’t stay awake, but she was clear enough to mention the flowers had arrived J  Told her I would be there tomorrow.

Other matters took a bit of my attention today, surprisingly – a visit to the Sunbury Library, where I met up with three other Family History Society committee members, and the George Evans Museum curator, Sue Sutton [a former member of the Society] to discuss the archiving of a number of boxes of old Shire of Bulla papers and records, which went back to the late 1800s. A mammoth job for a small group of volunteers but it seems like we are going to take it on. We also discussed some initial arrangements for a genealogical exhibition to be held in August within the Museum surrounds [which is located at the rear of the municipal library]. This would be followed up by the general members’ meeting tonight which included a speaker from the Commonwealth Bank, giving us a bit of a rundown on the kind of archives held by the Bank and/or it’s successor, the former State Savings Bank of Victoria. Quite interesting, and also short – which for me, meant an early night – not feeling that well, and would have preferred initially to have not had to go out. Also had to find time this evening to check the spelling etc, of yet another of my son’s university assignments!! The things I agree to do!! Haven’t finished the audit of those church accounts as yet however!!

On a different subject, there was I thought an interesting Editorial in today’s Age newspaper concerning the need for Australia to consider it’s role in a US military build up. I won’t comment on it, but include it here for the information and interest of readers.

‘JUST in case the Gillard government thought China had decided to overlook the deployment of 2500 US marines in Darwin, Beijing this week issued advice to the contrary. When the announcement about the marines was made during President Barack Obama’s visit to Australia in November, the response by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman was diplomatically phrased: ”It may not be quite appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances and may not be in the interest of countries in the region.” But Foreign Minister Bob Carr evidently received a blunter assessment during talks with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, and other officials in Beijing. Their view, Senator Carr said later, was ”that the time for Cold War alliances had long since passed”.

Few Australians expect or want this country to repudiate its alliance with the US, which is not only based on strategic necessity as it was understood during the Cold War and, earlier, during the war against Japan. The alliance also reflects deep cultural affinities, including, most importantly, shared democratic values. Acknowledging these things to be so, however, is not the same as saying that Australia’s national interest lies in closer military integration with the US as it shifts its global projection of power away from the Middle East to an emphasis on the Asia-Pacific.

In the context of that shift, the basing of US ground forces in Australia for the first time since World War II can only be seen in Beijing as a provocation. And the language used by Senator Carr to explain the marine deployment – ”an American presence in the Asia-Pacific has helped underpin stability there” – can only seem like weasel words.

The Gillard government likes to talk of the 21st century as the Asian century, and to portray Australia as especially well placed to participate in this global reorientation. Thus far, however, its actions have rarely been consistent with that rhetoric, for its inclination has not been to act independently as a middle-ranking power in the Asia-Pacific region. This government, like its predecessors of both political persuasions, has preferred Australia’s historically comfortable role of doing the bidding of a powerful protector.

No nation in the world can ignore the rise of China as a great power, and potentially a superpower. But China’s increasing reach, economically and strategically, holds different consequences for Australia and the US. For this country, China is the industrial giant whose demand for Australian raw materials has been the chief driver of growth. It would be naive to assume that this demand will continue indefinitely, but neither can Australia pretend that economic exchange is not fundamental to its relationship with China.

For the US, matters are more complicated. China is both the low-wage economy that has come to dominate global manufacturing and the expanding military power whose new assertiveness means the Pacific is no longer an American lake. And, China’s resistance in international forums to interventions aimed at protecting human rights in third countries is a constant reminder of its obsession with preserving its own creaking, authoritarian system. In all these things lies the possibility of conflict. Yet the fortunes of the reigning superpower and the contender are also entwined, for China is the biggest holder of US debt. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, ”How do you talk toughly to your banker?”

When the marines’ deployment to Darwin was announced, The Age argued that if a military build-up in the Pacific by the US and its allies results in a new Cold War, the Obama administration and the Gillard government will have seriously miscalculated. Mutual hostility will not easily bring about a more open, less suspicious China, let alone a democratic one. This week Mr Carr got a chance to learn that directly.’


I had my usual Wednesday morning phone in to Ron at the radio station this morning [6.45 am] with some local sports results. But before that, a slightly earlier rising, so that I could give Heather a ring before she went into hospital. Daughter Vonda was to collect her at 6.40 am for the short drive down to the Ballarat Base Hospital, where we were all hoping that this time, the surgeon would agree to proceed with the knee reconstruction operation required to her right knee.

By the time that short conversation was finished, I think my friend was more upset, than the nervous state she had woken with this morning, after a restless night with not much sleep. Her big fear was that the surgery would be deferred, again as it was 12 months ago because she had a minor infection at the time.  Around 7.30, I received a more cheerful message [obviously pre-op prep time from within the hospital] from Heather, and I took it from that, things were going to proceed as planned.  An hour later, at 8.30am, a message from her daughter – ‘Mum has just been taken off to surgery – I’ve been told it will probably take 3 hours for surgery and recovery..’.  So that first step had been passed, actually getting to surgery this time.

Where flowers bloom, so does hope [Lady Bird Johnson]

The flowers take the tears of weeping night, and give them to the sun for the day’s delight [Joseph Cotter]

A couple of early morning text exchanges with Heather – more blood tests and other medically related factors she had to get through today, wished her well in all of those things!  Personally, I could have done with a sleep in this morning, but Susie had signed up for a first aid course in the city today, and asked me to drop her off at the train station. That suited me, because shortly afterwards, I took my car to the local Ultra Tune service station for a bit of a check up. I had undertaken a few more trips in it than previously anticipated, and wanted to have a few items checked out. First time I’ve had to pay for a car service [my own car, that is, ignoring the ‘kids’ I’ve helped out] for five years, and today’s little venture will no doubt not be without some cost!!

Decided to walk home rather than catch the bus – but stopped at the Jolly Miller café for a cappucino & toasted ham sandwich along the way. Interestingly, a young lady in the café – reminded me instantly of a young Shirley Clyde [now French] of 40 years ago – a wondered if she had a niece down this way, the girl just looked so familiar!! I’ll ask her one day. Meanwhile, the walk from Sunbury township, up past the high school to Fisher Court – well it was a little tougher than I recalled, and was uphill virtually all the way!!

Rest of the day at home – a cold overcast day, busy at the computer, etc, and awaiting phone calls, principally regarding a pick up time for the car – had a couple of those concerning items that had been found and a fix up was advisable  – each phone call, I could see the dollar $$$ signs getting bigger!!!  During the afternoon, another awaited message came through from a nervous Heather  – her operation, to her knee, was set for first thing in the morning, she was first on the list, now all she had to pray for was that the surgeon would not find an excuse not to go ahead, as happened twelve months ago. I must admit to a little concern about the state of mind this girl would be in if such an event occurred! Positive thoughts required here! In the meantime, mail, two days in a row from this friend, almost makes collecting the daily mail a pleasure, never know when there will be a surprise there.

Meanwhile, the mail in my inwards box included the weekly message from the ‘Coaches Box’, Brett Ratten, coach of Carlton. This should be interesting, following last night’s ‘performance’!!

‘Dear Bill
Behind closed doors in the aftermath of last night’s 24-point loss at Etihad Stadium, the players and I homed in on the drop-off in intensity from the first three matches as opposed to the next block of games.  There is obviously a discrepancy there. The fanaticism shown in getting after the ball and the man is not quite at the level we’ve seen of this team.  We also discussed that little period of time towards the end of the third quarter of last night’s contest where it looked like we were beginning to get our mojo back in that vital area of the game. Clearly we need to get it back for four quarters, together with our ball use going inside 50 and the drop of the ball in our back half. The opposition got 11 inside-50s for eight shots on goal in the first quarter and that’s hard to live with.
Obviously we’ve been faced with two scenarios this season where we’ve been behind and on both occasions when we’ve been up against it we’ve also kicked inaccurately. In the second quarter of this game we kicked 3.5 so the simple lesson learnt is that when you’re trying to claw your way in you need to be able to kick goals. In saying that, while we did have to deal with some structural issues in the fourth round match at the MCG, last night was more about our intensity or lack thereof. Put simply, it was about our inability to roll up our sleeves. Some have questioned the pressure of expectation given the significance of a victory in the lead-up to last night’s match, but I suspect that’s a scenario that plays more into the hands of the opposition. Perhaps the opposition players thought “Gee, are they looking more at the final siren rather than the first bounce?” and maybe that afforded them a little more energy. At the end of the day we had a fair bit to play for, although nothing was said about it going in. There was no need to talk about the outcome – it was more about how we were going to win – but we were beaten by a more aggressive, intensive group who got in our faces and didn’t allow us to dictate terms.
Talking of intensity, our next opponent Adelaide presents a massive challenge in what is a short turnaround time to next Sunday afternoon’s game. The Crows are at the top of their game right now and we’re faced with some massive challenges as we seek to regain that intensity we on show through rounds one to three. Once again Etihad provides the backdrop for what will hopefully be an ample turnout of Carlton Members, and it’s to all Members I offer my sincerest congratulations for smashing our all-time Membership record last week.
Despite last night’s loss we feel we’re continuing to build something special at the club – and through the course of this week those of us on the coaching staff and in the playing group will be feverishly working the phones through Wednesday and Thursday to help drive our membership towards 50,000.
Kind Regards

Brett Ratten  [Member #1018372]

That was the word from the coach, whom I to some degree, critised in last night’s summary. Perhaps in the above, I might have liked to see him admit to some fault, but then that would obviously come over as a major negative. Best left unsaid!

On a local matter, a bit of attention has been directed in the media to one of our local schools in Sunbury – the Sunbury Downs Secondary College [which school Jodie attended, on I was a member of the School Council, included a couple of years as President]. I became a bit annoyed at some of the biased comments and unfair generalizations, on the basis of a couple of individual students not having the ability to fit into the school’s culture,  that were directed towards the school as a result of this, and responded accordingly on the Face Book page. The story itself appears in this week’s local ‘Sunbury Weekly’ newspaper, written by Tara Murray.

‘SUNBURY Downs College has defended its policy of compulsory parent-teacher interviews despite having apologised to the family of a student with a learning disability who was suspended. Last week, year 12 student Brendan Mason was suspended by a vice-principal after his non-attendance at two detention sessions imposed after he and his parents failed to attend interviews. Brendan’s father Andrew said he was disappointed by his son’s suspension. “As Brendan has a learning disability and [has] a learning aide, we speak with them regularly about his progress; so it’s not like we don’t have contact with the school,” he said. “We were away for those couple of days when the interviews were conducted … it’s the first two days I’ve had off in eight months.” School principal Brett Moore later apologised to the family, saying it was a misunderstanding. Mr Moore said that because of the regular meetings between Brendan’s parents and his integration aide and teachers, they weren’t required to attend the interviews.  “It was a misunderstanding and Brendan shouldn’t have been issued with the detention in the first place.” Mr Moore said parents and students were aware that they were required to attend the interviews. The school newsletter states students who don’t attend the interviews will face two detentions. Mr Moore said the two previous schools where he worked had similar policies and they worked successfully. “The school works hard to communicate with students and parents,” he said. “We are the only school in Sunbury that has two orientation days at the end of the year and another at the start of the year. We have a great reputation for being supportive of our children.” Mr Mason said his family was pleased the suspension had been lifted, but he was disappointed with the handling of the situation. “Brett was good and, as I expected, he was unaware. But there is no excuse for the rudeness of the vice-principal, who hung up on me. We achieved what we wanted, which was for Brendan to return to school. “I don’t think it will happen again.” He said he didn’t agree with the school’s policy. “The child should not be penalised because of parents’ action. “It is up to the parents if they have an interest in their child’s education.”’

Obviously, this policy has come into the school since I lost contact, as I don’t it been enforced in the nature referred to a few years ago, but there were certainly at the time, a number of parents who did not attend parent/teacher interviews in those days, when it was a preferred option, though no penalties were applied. In my own case, I think from memory that I attended all such interviews at both Primary and Secondary level – but I did so either alone, or occasionally with the child in question. I don’t ever recall Shirley attending!  My comments on Face Book, were along the following lines, and were partially a response to the comments of a parent whose child for whatever reason, couldn’t fit into the school’s requirements, was withdrawn, and obviously did better at the subsequent school, yet the original school has been blamed for that child’s problems ever since, without any consideration that perhaps the fault lay with the child in their younger years! Maturity was beginning to set in at the time of the second school. Whether that is a fair or unfair assessment [my myself], my gripe here is with the constant unfair and biased degradation of the school’s value because of one unfortunate situation, and here we see the same type of thing happening. Anyway, my major contributions were that:-

·         Don’t judge a school on the actions of one, a poor judgement was made and has been apologised for. The news seldom reports on the achievements of a place, those kind of things are not what people can be bothered reading about these days!
·         From someone else -[I think it depends on the child and I really don’t think Brett Moore deserves all the negativity he is getting. If it is so bad why have enrolments nearly doubled? Obviously some people still think it is an ok school and going in the right direction].
·         There’s been a constant vendetta and unwarranted criticism against Sunbury Downs by some people for years, and as a former SC President, I consider the school was getting close to the equal of SC when I left and some wonderful advances have been made under Brett. So yes, let’s get on with life and not retain personal grievances!!
I picked up my car late this afternoon, after it’s service  – cost not too bad, although any money spent on car servicing is painful, and the bad news was that it was considered I needed 3 new tyres. I had been concerned a little about one of them, but from my perspective, I would not have considered them close to been unroadworthy!! Such is life!  That was followed by a ‘long’ wait at the station for Susie’s train to arrive from the city – a more painful wait for her, almost an hour at Sunshine station, while police and other emergency personnel dealt with a person threatening to jump from an overhead in front of a train!! This delay did not improve Susie’s view of the convenience of public transport!!  Meantime, she had gone to the city today to do a short First Aid Course, think she is going to do some part time work at Jodie’s work place, and required that status. Seems to be the air – Shirley was over this evening using my computer so that she could watch a cd on first aid, a requirement she needed to update herself on! Eventually, my computer was free later in the evening, to allow me to prepare the sports report for tomorrow morning’s radio ring-in!!

It was about 7 degrees when I left Ballarat this morning – filled the car with fuel, and then instead of having a touch of breakfast and a coffee before I left, as suggested by Heather [through a brief exchange of text and phone greetings], I just headed straight for the highway, intending to stop at my usual coffee haunt in Melton. The drive from Ballarat to there was none too pleasant on the Highway, constant rain throughout the journey including periods of mist, etc,, and then when I reached Melton, my coffee haunt was not yet open. Bought a small coffee across the road, but nothing to eat, didn’t fancy pastries etc at this time of the morning!

I left Ballarat rather early this morning, intending to visit the gymnasium as usual for a Monday, but upon arrival in Sunbury, changed my mind and decided to give this morning’s session a miss. I was waiting to hear the xray results from Saturday’s ultra sound, and with quite a bit of pain still evident around the rib area, and still feeling a little weary overall, thought it might be wiser to bypass today’s activities. Plenty to do at home on a cold morning which was revealing a mix of weak sunshine, and occasional overcast conditions, and short rain showers.

I noticed in this morning’s Ballarat Courier, a report of Ballarat jockey Michelle Payne being injured in a fall at the Donald races yesterday. I had chosen Michelle in one of the races when I gave the country tips on air yesterday morning, but her day had obviously not gone as planned. She was thrown from her horse shortly after the start of  the first race, and suffered four fractured vertebrae, broken ribs together with bruising and lacerations to her face. Michelle is the youngest member of the famous Victorian racing family, and the 8th of 11 children to become a jockey. I hasten to suggest that she has been the most successful of the family jockeys.

In mentioning the Ballarat Courier, I noticed some articles of concern about residents worried about their road being used as a bypass route for the main highway [or Main Road] between Ballarat and Geelong, a road which is also the main route to the University of Ballarat. This was referred to also, in the Editorial of the day, which dealt with the whole question of public infrastructure and transport facilities, etc. It read as follows, under the heading ‘Investment in infrastructure needed with regional push’.

Ballarat residents will probably get a sense of déjà vu when they see the latest round of state government advertising aimed at encouraging people to consider a shift to regional cities.  Similarly jubilant tree changers were splashed across railway billboards by the previous Labor government.  Decentralisation is a political nut that everybody wants to crack as it offers the dual virtues of easing the strain on an increasingly bloated capital city and fosters economic growth in the new destination But much as the idea has merit it should not be ignored that it comes at a cost.  If lifestyle is one of the choicest carrots being dangled before so many imprisoned Melburnians, it should be remembered that a critical mass in this exodus could as easily destroy that lifestyle.

All growth comes at a cost but it is the planning and active preparation for that growth that really dictates the severity of this cost.  One of the reasons most commonly cited for the change is lifestyle and in particular a freedom from congestion that has become a twice-daily migraine for Melbourne commuters. Within a decade of the ring road being built it was at capacity and in need of an overhaul.  “Thirty five minutes from Southbank”, Melton banners once proudly advertised, but that slogan must seem like a bitter joke as Melbourne piles suburb after suburb onto its Western flank with the most cursory attention to infrastructure. The dream home has become encircled by a nightmare of congestion and laughable public transport options.  But before we commiserate too quickly with our big city cousins, we should think about our own Main Road. It has already the signs of big city congestion as twice a day a major arterial is reduced to a crawl. The attempts to upgrade are piecemeal and sporadic, the public transport options are inadequate. The issue of Yankee Flat Road becoming an alternative route as such was almost inevitable. The advent of more 1600 new jobs expected at the University of Ballarat’s technology park is just the kind of growth Ballarat needs. The problem is a once quiet country road is turning into a major arterial with all its attendant problems. Anybody who has sat in the stop-start of Main Road in the morning would hardly blame the people who take this “Rat Run” but how long before it too becomes congested with another 1600 cars? On the other side of town we have a whole new suburb springing up in Lucas, to be serviced by Dysons and Cuthberts roads. It takes little imagination to envisage what awaits these thoroughfares. But these growing pains are just symptomatic of what lies ahead without the proper planning and the investment to follow. Advertising campaigns are all very well to sell a happy message but serious and long-term investments in infrastructure are what is really needed to avoid growth creating a new locality for misery’.

Yes, a problem we know only too well, in the Melbourne metropolitan area, but don’t always consider that a place like Ballarat, could be similarly affected.

Meanwhile, on things closer to my heart,  the Carlton team for tonight’s 7th Round Match shows that coming back into the team, we have  Jarrod Waite, Chris Judd [captain] and Edward Curnow, while Brett Thormnton, Kane Lucas and Joshua Bootsma all were dropped from last week’s team. The record of matches between these two teams shows a bit of a one-sided picture for Carlton, although St Kilda have been dominant in recent years.  Carlton vs St Kilda. Played 208 times. Carlton has won 158. St Kilda has won 48. Drawn twice.Played 13 times at Etihad Stadium\. Carlton has won 4, St Kilda 9. Largest home & away crowd – 55,658 in Round 15, 2008 at the MCG.  If the Blues were to win tonight’s game, they will go to the top of the AFL Ladder, the first time they have been there at the end of Round 7, since 1995 [the Blues’ last Premiership year]…………………………….

It wasn’t to be.  As an Away game which did not cover my Member’s ticket, I had more or less decided to watch this one at home, but when I realised that Susie was going to go down to Jodie’s new place, and watch the game on TV with her while Ash was at work [on shift work], I decided to join them both.  I must admit, that at 6.30 pm when we left home, I would much prefer to have stayed where I was –  out on the roads between here and the city, and more specifically, Ascot Vale,  the traffic was heavy, it was already dark, cold, and raining, at times quite heavily. The kind of night driving conditions I detest these days – but I had decided to take my car, so could blame nobody but myself. We would eventually reach Jodie’s place with time to spare before the match began, at which point, at my expense, Jodie ordered a pizza delivery for a meal tonight – not my preferred food these days, but decided it was the best option on this occasion. My coca cola drinking daughter [unhappy that the pizza place only had pepsi cola available], borrowed my car and went back out in the weather in search of the local milk bar!!

As for my [our] football viewing tonight, there was not much for a Carlton supporter to cheer about!
Carlton missed the chance to go to the top of the AFL ladder after a shock loss to St Kilda in a fiery and entertaining clash at Etihad Stadium on Monday night. The Saints opened a six-goal lead during the third quarter, then survived some nervous moments early in the final term when the Blues closed to within 19 points.
But the underdogs held their nerve and prevailed 19.8 (122) to 14.14 (98). In stark contrast to the pre-game predictions, Scott Watters’ men used speed and creativity to go on a scoring spree against a Carlton side renowned for those exact traits. The Saints’ small forwards led the way, with veteran sharp-shooter Stephen Milne booting four goals, while first-year dynamos Terry Milera and Amed Saad chipped in with another five between them. Brendon Goddard, Farren Ray, Leigh Montagna and Lenny Hayes were also outstanding in the middle of the ground, while Clint Jones held Carlton gun Marc Murphy to only 16 possessions.
Fresh from being rested when the Blues took on Greater Western Sydney last weekend, skipper Chris Judd was tireless in the midfield, gathering 30 touches. David Ellard, who started as Carlton’s substitute and was only brought into the game during the third quarter [far too late], was his team’s leading goalkicker with three. St Kilda set up its fourth victory of the year by kicking six goals to one between the 30-minute mark of the first quarter and the 15-minute mark of the second term. The Saints’ triumph has seen them leapfrog Geelong and Hawthorn into eighth spot on the ladder. The Blues went into the game as red-hot favourites, knowing that a win would see them displace West Coast on top of the table.  But after grabbing an 11-point lead midway through the first quarter, thanks to a miraculous left-foot snap from Eddie Betts and a brilliant long goal from Kade Simpson, they completely lost control of the game.  St Kilda was sparked into action when Carlton defender Aaron Joseph dropped a regulation mark in the back pocket four minutes before quarter-time.  Milne pounced on the loose ball and snapped a great goal, then ran and gave Joseph an earful.  A melee ensued and Milne was booed and cheered by the respective sections of the crowd after he had to leave the field with a torn jumper.
The Saints rarely looked back from there. Having entered the game with victories over lowly Gold Coast, the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne to their name, they were finally able to claim a big scalp.\  Carlton, which is now fourth on the ladder with a 5-2 record, faces a big test next Sunday when it takes on third-placed Adelaide at Etihad Stadium. Quarter by quarter scores in a dismal Blues performance were:-

ST KILDA Saints:     5.3.33     11.5.71       16.6.102           Final:  21.14 (140)
CARLTON Blues     5.1.31       8 6.54       12.10.82            Final:  12.12 (84)

And my other opinion, as expressed on Face Book overnight – ‘You win some, you lose some gutsy effort Saints, but, I think it’s time Rats started coaching again from up top instead of down with the boys on the bench, just seems to miss what is obvious to everyone else from down there – leaving changes on the field too late for example!! And perhaps there is too much media access being allowed into the Club, some of these guys believe all that is written/said about them, but forget to do it on the field week by week [of course very easy to criticise from off the field, but I guess that is the ‘animal’ of spectating!!]!! And sorry Joseph, we know Milne is a little mongrel, but he can also be a damn brilliant footballer, and I would have preferred to have seen you guys concentrate on beating him at his game, rather than mouthing him off! That gained you nothing!  Disappointing player and coaching effort, when there was a prize worth winning for, may not get that opportunity again.’

Not surprisingly, a relatively quiet drive back to Sunbury – we actually left Jodie’s place ‘before’ the match ended, such was the disquiet at the loss!!  I was glad to get home – traffic still heavy, rain still about, and with a passenger [who drives her own little car hard] I felt obliged to at least drive close to the speed limit!!  The AFL Top b teams after 7 rounds shows:

  1.  West Coast Eagles……………………24……………138.41
  2. Essendon Bombers……………………24……………136.61
  3. Adelaide Crows……………………….24……………126.08
  4. Carlton Blues………………………….20……………140.22
  5. Sydney Swans…………………………20……………125.51
  6. Fremantle Dockers…………………….20……………114.17
  7. Collingwood Magpies………………..20……………..107.05
  8. St Kilda Saints…………………………16…………….126.13


This is the day [like Valentine’s Day] when the price of fresh flowers suddenly sky rockets!!! I would buy some later in the morning when I got down to Ballarat, although I think I got a reasonably good deal on that occasion! Anyway, for my Sunday morning program on  Mother’s Day, I tried to select as varied sample of classical music that I thought might appeal to some mothers out there. As far as I’m concerned, the highlight selections were the Adagio as composed by Albinoni;  and three songs performed by Yvonne Kenny with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra  –  We’ll Gather Lilacs [from ‘Perchance to Dream’’  Songs My Mother Taught Me’ and Danny Boy. A little later, Sara Macliver sung Bailero from Songs of the Auvergne. There was of course, much more, as always.

As soon as my show ended at 9am, I was on the way, heading down the various highways towards Ballarat. Bit of rain about but generally the weather stayed fine, though very cold. It was actually quite a busy weekend in Balllarat – described as ‘Vintage Weekend’ with visitors coming from all over the State for such events as walks, tours of heritage buildings, rides on vintage trams, buses and horse drawn vehicles, an historical tour on bikes [with riders dressed in period costume], a Mother’s Day run for cancer,  a ‘Frock Tails’ show t the Art Gallery [which I didn’t get to this time] featuring the fashions of the 20th century  –  overall, various activities that brought the cafes, hotels and the local galleries ‘alive and pumping’ and parking around the city area at a premium, as Heather and I would discover later in the day.

My arrival in Ballarat – well, it began with the obligatory visit to the local ‘public’ stopping point!!@  Then across the rod to ‘White’s Florist’ establishment – I’m sure this shop was on the same corner of Sturt Street when I was here back in the mid-1960s!  As I was meeting Heather & her daughter first thing this morning, decided to buy a small posy [or plant actually] for each of the two mums, as well as a few white flowers which I took up to the Crematorium. Expected it to be quite crowded up there, but in fact, while I was at Mum & Dad’s memorial there was no-one else around for a few minutes, but I was out in a very strong and biting cold wind. I actually ‘dug’ those flowers [for Mum] into the soft earth beside her memorial plague [Mum, 30 May 1990; Dad, 24 December 1969] because it was obvious that if I just left them lying there, the wind would have quickly dispatched them elsewhere.  I didn’t remain up at the Crematorium site for long – drove from there around to Lake Wendouree where quite a bit of activity was already beginning to take place. My intention was to text Heather but not meet up with her and Vonda until she was satisfied they had had enough mother and daughter time together – that came earlier than expected, she got in first, and invited me to join them – on the other side of the Lake, at ‘Racer’s Restaurant on the corner of Wendouree Parade & Webster Street – the family used to buy icecreams here, s kids, way back in the year’s when the establishment was probably a little less classier than it is now.

Racers was not very crowded when I got there, though by the time we left 30 minutes later, the lunch time patrons were beginning to build up the numbers. It had been crowded earlier for the breakfast rush, the purpose that Heather, in her usual way, had gone there – for her regular ‘dine out’ breakfast, though not the same place every day. No wonder half of Ballarat knows her!! This place is actually knon as Racers Bar & Café, of  2 Wendouree Parade, Lake Wendouree  –  described as a ‘trendy bar and café overlooking picturesque Lake Wendouree [ideal] for a quiet glass of wine with friends, ideal spot for a cocktail to start your night, or settle in for the afternoon and watch the swans on the Lake as you eat your way through a generous cheese platter’ – I settled for a cappuccinio, having just walked in from a freezing breeze and the beginnings of a sprinkle of icy rain.

Think it was around 11.30 when we left Racers – Heather & Vonda said their goodbyes, then I followed the former back to her place, and from there soon after, around to another of Heather’s favourite eating places [can’t recall this name but she was hoping it would be within possible walking distance after her knee operation later this week]. It was there that I was shouted to a light lunch [having not eaten anything since 5.30 this morning] while Heather sat back with a glass of wine and something to nibble  – I was the ‘agreed’ driver for the rest of the day, so no wine for Bill – actually that was my choice, can’t seem to manage more than a glass at a time these days!!

From there, we drove into the city central part of Ballarat, where we discovered the shortage of parking on this busy heritage weekend, but eventually had some success, not a long walk back to Sturt Street to another fascinating little book shop  –  in fact, to ‘Known World’ –  Quality second hand & collectable books, expresso coffee bar & [upstairs], a boutique city apartment. Didn’t get to see the latter part of the establishment [and the proprietor, whom Heather knew of course] was upstairs, cleaning at the time we were in the shop. Apparently, this place started life in 2001 as Buninyong Books, located in the small historic former goldmining township of Buninyong [where Heather’s daughter, Vonda lives. In June 2008, they relocated to Ballarat, at 14 Sturt Street. The new premises, are in an 1880s Victorian building on this main thoroughfare of the city, and is much larger than the former shop, and offers a wonderful selection of quality second-hand books, together with an espresso coffee bar, in a 1930s Art Deco-inspired atmosphere [rarely for us, we didn’t actually have a coffee on this occasion!!]. I must say however, that the place  held a fascinating collection of books, though generally not particularly cheap for ‘second hand’ books, but the collection is comprehensive, with quality literature, modern classics, books on the arts, history, philosophy, Australia, militaria, science & technology, poetry and more. There is also an excellent collection of children’s literature, including childhood favourites and classics.

They do take a great deal of pride in the collection at The Known World, being proud of their books, and of the service they  provide our customers, both there at the bookshop, and to their online customers.  That latter aspect attracted my attention, and no doubt I will be in contact with them on future occasions, but decided I would certainly be back here in the shop. Once thing I discovered in recent weeks through my friendship with Heather is the amazing little collection of bookshops hidden around parts of Victoria!!  An interesting little promo note from this place  – ‘I hope you enjoy browsing our collection as much as we enjoyed assembling it’ [Michelle Coxall, presumably, the proprietor].  Anyway, we purchased a couple of books while we were there – in fact Heather bought me a little booklet called a ‘Guide For the Advanced Soul’ by Susan Hayward, described as a ‘book of insight’. I think she wanted to show me that there were other means of creating faith and seeking assistance in life troubles in addition to both of our Christian backgrounds  – this little booklet began it’s introduction with the words “Your life is a journey. In it you will face challenges, then leaps forward; setbacks and despair; joy and sadness. But whatever life holds for you be sure of one thing: that your reality is what ‘you create’ to give you the opportunity for growth  –  A Guide For The Advanced Soul is a book of insight to be consulted in times of indecision and crisis to help you understand your questions, and give guidance…………and with it, you will come to understand that every problem holds a gift for you in its hands”.  Interesting philosophy and ideas,  and no doubt over the weeks ahead, this writer will come to share with his readers some of the thoughts contained therein. Meanwhile, this will no doubt shock my friends out there in the wider world who would not accept that words of guidance could come from any source other than the Christian Bible.  Meanwhile, Eileen Caddy’s quote on the back cover – ‘Be at Peace and see a clear pattern running through your lives. Nothing is by chance.’

From bookshops to electrical stores, where without a great deal of knowledge about such matters on the part of both of us, Heather purchased a DVD player, which incorporated the ‘Blue Ray facilities, apparently the follow up medium now available to DVDs – the limit of my understanding of Blue Ray!! Anyway, Heather needed the DVD to make use of while she was ‘cooped’ up in her home after this week’s operation, and not allowed to drive for 6 weeks or so!!

The afternoon was passing quickly – we’d not participated in any of the ‘special’ events happening this weekend, but nevertheless, time was flying – appropriate, as Heather’s personal inscription on the inside cover of the above mentioned book was simply ‘Come fly with me’!!  That saying will form a part of this weekend’s Face Book ‘poetic entry’!

I took Heather back to her place, where she had a few tasks to attend to. She was a little disappointed that  she had not heard from her son, on this Mother’s Day. Although over the years, that had sadly not been an unusual occurrence! In the meantime, I drove across to the Eureka Lodge Motel [where I’d decided to stay the night, rather than return to Sunbury this evening – becoming my regular relatively inexpensive place of accommodation these days in Ballarat, modest but comfortable and certainly suitable for my comfort].  Early evening, and back to pick up Heather, and take us both out to dinner, back to Sturt Street again, this time a beautiful cosy little restaurant  – the Red Peppa on Sturt [at 34 Sturt Street, described as one of the best restaurants in Ballarat, and yes, the prices did reflect that! Quite crowded for Mothers Day night as to be expected, in fact, I don’t think they are normally open on Sunday nights, so did some good business on this occasion [including from us!!].  The promo material refers to a menu which is  updated regularly by head chef paul burge and reflects the latest in culinary trends.  Lunch Specials: *Chicken wrap, *Grilled Fish, *Chicken Parmagiana, *Open Steak Sandwich, *Seafood curry, *Risotto, *Piri Piri spiced calamari salad, *Pasta, *Duck Salad, *Open Sichuan Spiced Lamb Souvlaki, *Includes a complimentary house wine or soft drink. Dinner Menu: *Soup, *Garlic bread, *Bruschetta, *Red Peppa platter, *Prawns, *Duck Pancakes, *Trout Salad, *Market Fish, *ice-cream.  We actually only had the one course each [actually, Heather had two entrees including the Duck pancakes, while I had the main Duck meal plus a salad, and was very pleased with the outcome Heavy means have been the curse of me of late, or simply having a course more than I really need at present. This dish was perfect for the purpose of avoiding a heavy meal. Again, a glass of wine for Heather, but not for yours truly!!

A rather pleasant way to finish up a very pleasant day, and I think I can add with some certainty that my accomplice enjoyed the company and the opportunity on this Mother’ Day to have her mind relieved of the need to dwell too constantly on both,  the recent loss of her own mother, and he impending medical procedures she herself has to go through over the next few days. I would be back later in the week to see her, in the Ballarat Hospital, in which place we were actually both born, six weeks apart some 65 years ago!




Unfortunately, due to a medical appointment, I had to give the gymnasium a miss today, though in retrospect, wish I’d thought of going an hour earlier! Oh well, perhaps for the best!

Meanwhile, my little poetic selection for today’s Face Book page, was taken from  p743 of  ‘The Complete Stories, Plays and Poems of Oscar Wilde [pub.1991] – quite a lengthy poem, the following is just a small sample of the verses.

Startled the squirrel from its granary,

And cuckoo flowers fringed the narrow lane,

Through my young leaves a sensuous ecstasy

Crept like new wine, and every mossy vein

Throbbed with the fitful pulse of amorous blood,

And the wild winds of passion shook my slim stem’s maiden-hood.


The trooping fawns at evening came and laid

Their cool black noses on my lowest boughs,

And on my topmost branch the blackbird made

A little nest of grasses for his spouse,

And now and then a twittering wren would light

On a thin twig which hardly bare the weight of such delight.


[from ‘Charmides’ by Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900].

Jodie was leaving her little room at Goonawarra today after almost 24 years, and moving closer into the city – a big move for her, a bit sad to  finally leave home this morning, I would join her and Ash later, after collecting a car load of  her belongings from the family home.  But first, I had an ultra sound test to ‘participate’ in, just hoping it doesn’t produce any unwanted results!!  I pity I have to wait until midweek for those results – meanwhile, was glad to get back home, and have something to eat after having to fast in preparation for this morning’s activity.

Over to Goonawarra, where I loaded up my car for the last assortment of items that Jodie needed taken over to her new abode in Ascot Vale. Shouldn’t have eaten had home, as Mrs S. very quickly had soup and toasted sandwiches on the table for both myself, and Shirley, who had just arrived home from an overnight work roster. In the meantime, a reasonable trip in towards the city, until I reached the Bulla Road turnoff, at which point the traffic became congested and frustratingly slow – or perhaps that feeling was just my reaction to getting out of the habit of driving in much heavy city traffic over the past 6 months!! Anyway, eventually, had little trouble in finding Jodie’s new ‘apartment’ [in Ascot Vale Road, adjacent to the railway line] – a bit of a problem, finding somewhere to park, but eventually attracted the attention of Susie [who had travelled down with Jodie and Ash this morning] who was able to let me into the underground carpark of the complex.

Interestingly, the owners were moving things ‘out of the apartment’ as Jodie and Ash were moving in – had apparently not been expecting Jodie until Tuesday!!  Anyway, that was all sorted out, just looked a rather odd situation. With help, I unloaded Jodie’s items from my car, and then helped the girls unload Ash’s car, which he had not yet got around to doing, seemed to be busy constructing packaged items of furniture!  The complex itself rather interesting – externally, almost gave the impression of a large prison or modern business building, but judging by Jodie’s apartment, the units were quite modern and very comfortable looking – two bedroom, with most of the internal facilities, quite modern & new.  Just did not give the impression of an accommodation facility from outside!!  I only stayed around for an hour or so – Jodie was apparently going to drive Susie back to Sunbury later this evening, while Ash went to the MCG to see his West Coast Eagles team play!

By the time I returned to Sunbury, the weather had turned quite cold, and in fact it was beginning to rain. A bit of shopping, then sat in the warmth of the car for a few minutes, drinking an iced coffee, and listening to the local radio station in Melton, and their broadcast of today’s Ballarat League match in which Sunbury was playing [over at Darley, near Bacchus Marsh].

In the meantime, in the AFL competition, this year’s new team , the Greater Western Giants, today  had their first win, defeating last year’s new team,  the Gold Coast Suns, by 27 points!!  Kevin Sheedy, that  great long-term coach of Essendon for a quarter of a century,  has a permanent grin on his face as inaugural coach of  the new team!!  Meanwhile, over in Adelaide, apart from the Adelaide Crows thrashing last year’s Premiers, Geelong in the football, Black Caviar was going for it’s 21st win from 21 races here in Australia! Pity there was no television coverage of this, the horse’s last race in Australia, before heading overseas!  I had to depend on ABC radio, and was a little annoyed that the race was on so late in the afternoon, as I wanted to get on with other things!  And then it was on – and over – 21st win for Black Caviar, and now off to challenge the ‘world’!!  And while in the sport’s arena, a comprehensive win to Sunbury Football team this afternoon, giving the local team three wins from three games in the Ballarat Football League competition.  While for Carlton’s next match, on Monday night, we have three changes – Chris Judd, Jarod Waite & Ed Curnow into the team, while out go J Bootsma, K Lucas & B Thornton [the latter two unlucky, they played quite well last week but someone had to make way for Judd and Waite!!].

Incidentally, I forgot to mention on Wednesday, that cricketing son Adam, was re-elected as club Junior Vice President at the Sunbury Cricket Club’s Annual General Meeting that night. Adam is now very heavily involved in the cricket club, and is I think so far, the only one of my four children to follow Dad’s regular involvement in a range of community and sporting organisations – he is carrying on that tradition, which I followed from my own Dad.

Rang Heather this evening for a bit of a chat – I think our phone accounts are going to look somewhat different this month, painfully so!!! Rang her again later when I realised she was getting herself upset as she was going through her mother’s personal papers, and discovered little things like selecting the wrong hymns for her mother’s funeral etc, because she’d been unable to find the list at the time. Unfortunately little moments of regrets over things we wished we had done or said to the person we have lost are a nature of many situations, and are really things that one needs to try and avoid dwelling on – because by that stage, no amount of regret is going to change what has happened, and the only person now hurting is the person with the regrets!  In this instance, I think I was able to assure Heather, that the hymns that were actually played that day would have more than satisfied her mother, one in particular, which I referred to at the time. I feel it is perhaps a good move that I have decided to pay a visit to Ballarat tomorrow, in case my friend needs some support, with tomorrow being Mother’s Day. I will also take the opportunity to visit the ‘grave site’ of my own parents!




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