The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on February 3, 1990 · Page 33
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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia · Page 33

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Issue Date:
Saturday, February 3, 1990
Page 33
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THE ItAMES ' mw am . - - 2 SECTION Saturday, February 3, 1990 1C " 33 Wt jibnctf IHorning 5cralif JRelav Why an angry Jeff Fenech let his heart rule his head Intense personal loyalty blended with unbridled patriotism and an instinctive volatile nature were the vital elements that caused Jeff Fenech's explosive reaction to the verdict against Justin Rowsell at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland. And his actions probably echoed his deep resentment at his treatment by the boxing jury at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games which cost him a possible gold medal. Fenech will always feel cheated by that group of nine who overturned the judges' verdict in his favour against Redzep Redzepovski. Such injustice meted out to a 19-year-old street kid will never be understood or pardoned by the victim. Thus, when Fenech figured Rowsell had won but was voted a loser, his own wounds opened up again as he spontaneously' gave vent to his feelings that had been suppressed for almost six years. In his mind, the Rowsell decision mirrored his own experience. But then that's part of Fenech's enigmatic nature. Just beneath the surface lies a simmering fuse that can easily be activated, especially when World champion boxer Jeff Fenech was the centre of his own "bout" when he was thrown out of the Games boxing arena on Thursday night for arguing over a decision that cost Australian teenager Justin Rowsell a gold medal, ray conneuly explores the heavy mix of aggression and compassion that are part and parcel of the Fenech personality. he feels an injustice has been done to a friend. His loyalty is such that he regards what ever happens to one of them, happens to him. If Fenech claims an individual as a genuine friend his commitment to them is total. And he includes Justin Rowsell amongst his friends. Not so much in a personal sense but certainly in a boxing sense. As a proud former amateur representative, Fenech was completely aware of the sacrifices, desires and ambitions of the 18-year-old; how much he savoured a gold medal more than any other team member, as he was considered the best of the 12 and capable of reaching the heights. Maybe subconsciously Fenech coloured Row-sell's performance, but realistically he would have studied every blow delivered and received, and he would have deliberated on those before forming his opinion. He is given to spontaneous, sometimes impulsive, behaviour, but not where boxing is concerned. It means too much to him. So do those who participate, particularly when they represent Australia. The almost fanatical loyalty he has for his country was proved just a few weeks ago when he refused to accept a contract guaranteeing him about $15 million over four years, but one of the major clauses demanded that he box in the United States. "No chance. I'm an Australian, I love the place and it's been good to me. So I fight in Australia, no matter the cost," Fenech said. There may be cynics who will label the statement as either melodramatic or exaggerated. It is neither. It is fact. Hence, not only did Fenech feel Rowsell was denied a gold medal but that so was Australia. His expression of disapproval of the decision was indeed volcanic but so too is his nature when he feels an injustice has occurred. His sportsmanship has never been questioned, even by those who he has almost destroyed in the ring, but to him, unfairness shatters all borders of decency and he acts upon that emotion. His critics can never point to an occasion when he has acted violently to adversity where it concerns himself. That's because he can handle it, find an alternative and overcome a reversal, but when it comes to a friend and his nation, he -takes a different view. Each of the team was close to him, and he to them. His mere presence and interest acted as ' spur to each individual. He took them to his ; home, fed them, provided for their needs and did 1 whatever was possible to increase their well , being and morale. He shared their triumphs and disasters, provided they were just. There will be many Fenech detractors who feel I these statements are loaded in his favour but they are more than opinions able to withstand . the most biased scrutiny. There is a positive, generous and human side to Fenech's nature, such as the day of the Jeff Harding-Tom Collins world championship weigh-in at Brisbane's shopping mall. There he signed autographs for 72 pupils of St Agatha's school choir, who had sung prior to the weigh-in. None was turned away even though Fenech-missed an important luncheon appointment. The kids were more important. team disqualified from 400m A disqualification in the men's 400m relay heats marred what was otherwise a successful day for Australia on the track and field yesterday, highlighted by Jane Flemming winning her second gold medal in the long jump.' Australia, one of the gold medal-favourites in the relay with front-runners England and TrinidadTobago, were disqualified because their last runners swapped batons outside the change zone yesterday. . Australia and the other two countries protested against the decision, but it was dismissed. A further avenue of appeal, however, is being investigated. Out in the long jump pit, Flemming knew before the rest of the crowd at Mount Smart Stadium that she had pulled off the biggest jump of her career on her final attempt to clinch her second gold and the 50th gold medal for Australia at these Games. An official on the in-field affirmed her gut feeling that her leap was big enough to lift her from second place to gold and she began jumping with glee. But realising that nothing is certain until the result is flashed up on the board, the 24-year-old spent a nervous minute waiting. Then it came up, 6.78m, her best career jump by 21cm, and Flemming let the joy tumble from her tense body. Her second gold brought up the ninth gold medal for Australia in track and field and ended a strong day for the team with another two golds being won in the pole vault (2 AUCKLAND I GAMES '90 LOUISE EVANS and women's 10,000m walk, two silvers in the men's discus and 30km walk and one bronze, also in the discus. Flemming set a new Commonwealth record to win her first gold in the heptathlon last Sunday and early yesterday she had interrupted her long jump warm-up to contest the 100m hurdles final. A hiccup on the fourth hurdle, however, saw Flemming lose the leaders and she finished fourth. "I just collapsed after the fourth MEDAL WINNERS Australia England . Canada N Zealand India .... Wales ... Nigeria . Kenya . . . Scotland . Malaysia . Uganda . Jamaica . N Ireland Nauru . . B'ladesh . Jersey C 50 38 34 16 13 10 5 5 5 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 S 53 34 38 13 8 .2 11 8 6 2 B S3 40 34 24 10 10 5 3 8 0 2 T 156 112 106 53 3,1 22 21 16 19 4 4 2 9 3 2 2 hurdle," she said. "It was just technically a bad attempt and it wrecked the rest of my race." . An angry Flemming then stomped back to the long jump, determined to make amends. On her fourth attempt, she pulled off a wind-assisted 6.63m, which bettered her heptathlon leap of 6.57m, to take the lead. She stayed in front until the sixth and final round when Nigerian Beatrice Utondu also had the wind behind her as she sailed over the sand and snatched the lead back with a 6.65m leap. Flemming would not be denied. She'd been working with the psychologist at the Australian Institute of Sport and knew not to dwell on the task ahead. "I knew I had to do it and that I compete well under pressure." The Nigerian was pushed back into second place with her 6.65m leap, while England's Fiona May was third with 6.55m "I've never been in a long jump competition at this level before," Flemming observed afterwards. "I've never even jumped at national championships." In all her previous competitions, the long jump had always clashed with the 100m hurdles and as she considers it her better event after the heptathlon, she had always forsaken the long jump pit. "The competition was so close I don't know how the long jumpers handle it I knew I had jumped further than my 6.63m as soon as I landed. I could just fell it. Continued Page 67 The bag boy who comes with a gear bag and a gold medal AUCKLAND: It was back to basics again yesterday for Australia's Andrew .Lloyd after his dramatic, upset win in the men's 5,000m the previous evening. A star one day, he was a slave the next. "I'm bag boy today," said Lloyd, after returning from an early morning jog on the roads round the athletes' village. His task was to carry the running gear and cheer on his wife, Caroline Schuwalow, who was competing in the heats of the women's 1,500m race. Lloyd and Schuwalow regularly support each other at events. However, Lloyd revealed that before Wednesday's race Caroline had told him: "If you don't win a JOHN HUXLEY medal, don't bother coming home." Sadly, there was no happy homecoming for Schuwalow. The 24-year-old Victorian failed to qualify for today's finals of the women's 1,500m. She finished seventh in her heat. Lloyd admitted that, after his run, he could not sleep. "I just lay awake re-living the race." Neither could Kenyan officials, who had had seen two of their runners fall. They protested, arguing their runners had been unfairly treated. At 2 pm yesterday, how ever, it was announced that the protest had been withdrawn and Lloyd's gold medal confirmed. Schuwalow, after her failure in her 1,500m heat, said: "I had trouble sleeping last night. I don't know whether it was because of the excitement of Andrew's win. I was also tired after my 3,000m race in which she was unplaced.'' She apologised to Suzy Wal-sham, the barefoot runner from St Ives, for "taking her place at the Auckland Games. She could have done better, perhaps." However, Australia's Michelle Baumgartner and Sarah Collins qualified for today's finals. Jiilliilft , ' 7' ' Travails and triumph for the walking wounded ATHLETICS JOHN HUXLEY Oh, my aching legs. Or so Andrew Jachno seems to be saying after finishing second to take silver in the 30km walk. Cramps a few kilometres from home cost Jachno his early lead. AUCKLAND: Simon Baker was one sorry walker yesterday. A firm favourite to retain his Commonwealth Games 30km roadwalk title, he struggled home in seventh place, finishing some 11 minutes behind the winner, Guillaume Leblanc, of Canada. Baker's Australian teammate Andrew Jachno won the silver medal in a personal best time, after leading the race for all except the final 8km. But he, too, was in distress at the finish. "I couldn't go another step," he said. He wasn't joking. One step past the line, he collapsed into the arms of his coach, Craig Hilliard, and had to be stretchered to the medical centre. He recovered in time to watch his wife, Lorraine, compete in the women's 10km race. Paul Copeland, the third Australian walker, finished joint seventh with Baker, but he, too, walked off in pain, clutching strained thigh muscles. - Afterwards, officials and runners complained bitterly about the condition of the 10-lap course, through the genteel waterfront suburb of Devonport, on Auckland's North Shore. "It was a disgrace. An absolute shocker," Hilliard said. "It was very rough, undulating and coated in loose blue chippings. It made it impossible for the guys to maintain their rhythm. It was sending shocks and shudders through the walkers' legs, which act like shock absorbers in a car going over corrugations." The wretched conditions compounded poor Baker's problems. A pinched sciatic nerve had prevented him training properly in the past few weeks, and then, on Thursday, he contracted a virus. "I was dizzy. I was getting the hots and colds. Last night, I was sleeping in a pool of sweat I woke up at 1 am and, honestly, I could have gone for a swim in my bed. If I had any brain I would not have raced, but you know walkers ..." Sheer stubbornness, he explained, had prevented him from withdrawing from the race. "I decided to give myself a chance. But I knew after only 500m I didn't have a chance. It was just so hard trying to maintain pace. But I decided to stick it out." He said the surface was the worst he had experienced since walking on cobblestones in West Germany three years ago. "The view was nice though. For once I had a chance to enjoy the scenes, I'm afraid." Jachno, who has so often walked in Baker's shadow, was disappointed that after leading for,so long he could not match Leblanc's finishing surge. "But I had cramped up so badly that I was forced to protect my silver. Any faster and I would have risked cramping again." A few kilometres from the end Jachno had been forced to stop and stretch to relieve bad cramps in both the calves and thighs. "Over the last few miles I just had to grit my teeth and try to hold things together. At that distance you're hurting real bad and you want every step to be your last You just have to switch off and keep going the best you can. ; . "You just hope you don't collapse before the end." Instead, he waited until a few metres past the line. "I wasn't prepared to take another step." Jachno was pleased to record a big-race win over his friend and training partner Baker. "Simon deserves all the publicity he gets. He came into this race No 1 in the world. Everyone says 'Simon, Simon, Simon', but over 20km he didn't beat me last year. I didn't say anything, because I didn't want to put pressure on myself, but I knew I could beat him over 20km and possibly 30km." The National Australia Bank proudly supports this coverage of the Commonwealth Games. National Australia Bank Limited

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