Attending this year’s Track and Road series of events Athletes are competing as part of the Summer Down Under Series. The series incorporates the Canberra International Track Meet from 20-21 January followed by the Sydney Twilight Track Meet at Blacktown International Sports Park Athletics Centre was 24 January culminating on Australia Day the GIO OZ Day 10k at The Rocks, Sydney.
Celebrating it’s 29th year, the OZ Day 10km road race started in Centennial Park in 1990.
Competing countries include Japan, Canada, USA, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
The Mens 11 time winner influential Kurt Fearnley was a young boy when his Dad asked him to come inside the house and watch these wheelchair gladiators on the television.
Picture the beauty – surrounded by the Arts, the starting line for the three lap race is George Street the Rocks, Sydney right in front of the Julian Ashton School of Arts. A few buildings on is the very beautiful Orient Hotel, then the Museum of Contemporary Art. These gorgeous buildings provide the beautiful back drop for the commencement of the OZ Day 10km race.
With a thirst to compete these fine Athletes face the usual road hazards, such as the occasional pot holes and the sharp turns. The weather certainly did not deter the big crowd with lots of families.
A massive cheer from the crowd as the race gets underway. Plenty of green and gold on this Australia Day race.
10 times winner of this Oz Day Event is the distinguished Louise Sauvage. Louise is Wheelchair Track and Road Elite Development Coach at the New South Wales Institute of Sport. Louise is highly recognisable amongst the crowd supporting our strong female competitors.
The Women’s Open – outstanding Australian Madison de Rozario riding her red and white colours claims first place, followed second by another outstanding Australian Jemima Moore and third place from Canada the highly celebrated Jessica Frotten.
The Men’s Open first place was taken out by Tomoki Suzuki from Japan, followed second by Kurt Fearnley. Third place was young and noteworthy Daniel Romanchuk from the USA.
The Juniors (Under 18) first was Sam Rizzo and second was Greg Luff.
The Junior Sprint from Argyle Cut through to George Street was won by the illustrious 11 year old Australian Cormac Ryan.
Spotted amongst this wonderful crowd we are very lucky to speak with the highly respected Wheelchair Sports NSW (WS NSW) Representatives Yvonne (OAM), Robert (OAM) and Brendon Talbott. Regardless of your age, WS NSW gives people living with a physical disability the opportunity to get involved in sport. The Talbott’s share their knowledge and their time encouraging the up and comers and those of us new to wheelchair sports. It’s a great idea if you are interested in getting involved with sport, not necessarily wheelchair track and road racing, but you can try your skill with basketball, tennis, golf, volleyball, swimming, water polo, cannoing – just to name a few of the disciplines.
Next year is going to be a big one as the 30 year celebrations take prominent place.