Second Round Athlete Pathway Travel Grant – Applications Now Open

Applications for the second round of 2017 of the Athlete Pathway Travel Grants Program are now open and close on Thursday 23 February 2017.  This round covers travel from 1 July 2017.

The Athlete Pathway Travel Grants Program provides grants to improve Victorian athlete development pathways from community to national representation level. Support is available to assist community sport and recreation athletes, coaches, officials and teams with the travel costs of participating in training and competition, and for high performance Victorian athletes and teams to compete at national championships or selection events.

The program has two funding categories:

Category 1: State Sporting Associations: State sporting associations, State Sporting Organisation and Peak bodies recognised by Sport and Recreation Victoria (or if no state sporting association, the relevant Australian Sports Commission recognised national sporting organisation) can apply for up to five grants per funding round on behalf of Victorian teams or individuals for travel to compete at national championships and/or an event or series of events constituting national selection trials.
·        Grants of up to $6000 are available for teams with a maximum of $1000 per team member.
·        Grants for individuals are available up to a maximum of $2000.

Category 2: Community Organisations: Victorian community organisations delivering sport and active recreation opportunities can apply for up to two grants per funding round of $750 each to assist athletes, coaches, officials and teams with the travel costs of training and competition over a 12 month period. For example an athlete that is regularly required to travel to train with a state team, or a regional based Athlete that is required to travel to a number of other towns in order to compete in their local competition.  A maximum of two grants can be approved to any organisation in any calendar year.

Applications are to be made online at www.sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/athlete-pathway-travel-grants-program – go to sub heading Apply Now.

At the above link you can also find the guidelines for more information about the program and eligibility criteria.

If you have any queries or require assistance you can contact the Grants Information Line on 1300 366 356, using the National Relay Service 13 36 77 if required, or email grantsinfo@sport.vic.gov.au.

Lawson to leap into Melbourne!

Athletics is in search of the next Usain Bolt and may have found him in US speedster Jarrion Lawson.

He was compared to the great Jesse Owens when he won the 100m, 200m and long jump titles at the NCAA Championships in 2016, and this year, US athlete Lawson has been picked for Usain Bolt’s All-Stars for Nitro Athletics Melbourne.

In Melbourne the pocket-rocket will be a key weapon for Bolt’s team, both on the track and in the sandpit, where he will launch against Australia’s Diamond League champion Fabrice Lapierre. With a windy 9.90sec (+2.7) and a heat run in Rio with the US 4x100m team after making the final the straight dash at the US Trials, Lawson is multi-talent and well suited to the Nitro Athletics team format.

Eighty years after Owens won his college titles, 22-year-old Lawson, competing for the Arkansas Razorbacks, became the first person since Owens to win the same three NCCA titles exciting the athletics world with his natural sprinting and jumping talent.

In 2016 Lawson made his first Olympic team, qualifying for the long jump at the US Olympic Trials with a personal best leap of 8.58m (w+1.8).

In an incredible long jump final in Rio, sitting in fourth, Lawson’s final jump of the night had seemingly put him into the gold medal position before it was revealed that his trailing finger scraped the sand, reducing his jump and agonisingly finishing in fourth place.

Lawson will join the Bolt All-Stars for Nitro Athletics Melbourne in a series that kicks off next month and will see Australia take on Usain Bolt’s All-Stars, China, England, Japan and New Zealand in a new look athletics format at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium on Saturday 4th, Thursday 9th and Saturday 11th February 2017.

Bolt will be joined by four fellow Olympic champions including Rio 400m hurdles gold medallist Kerron Clement, Jamaican relay teammates Asafa Powell and Michael Frater along with 2008 Olympic hurdles champion Dawn Harper Nelson from the United States.

“Rio was a great experience for me – I loved it,” Lawson said.

“It was my first Olympic experience so I made sure I took every bit of it in. The long jump was a great competition with great competitors. Of course I thought I had won at the end, but that finger kept me from moving onto the medal stand. However, I felt that I did my best, and I captured the moment as best as possible,” Lawson said.

A world junior bronze medallist in 2012, Lawson plans to continue to develop both his sprinting and jumping abilities in the future.

“I plan to make a big leap in my sprinting events. I plan to set some new personal records, and yes, I plan on going under 10 seconds and hopefully under 20 multiple times!”

Coming from a team-minded environment in the college system, Lawson is looking forward to the prospect of a team-based competition at Nitro Athletics.

Given his versatility Lawson will be a huge factor in the Bolt All-Stars line up, with the capacity to sprint, run relays and long jump with world class abilities across a range of events.

“I love the team aspect! I’m a big team player, like I was in college. It makes the sport a little more fun but also keeps the competition at a high level.

“I think I can bring my team background to Usain’s team. I always give my best for myself and for my team.

And I think we will have a decent team. We certainly don’t plan on losing.”


Jarrion Lawson (USA)
Age: 22
Personal Bests: 100m: 10.04        200m: 20.17        Long jump: 8.58m (+1.8)
Titles: Long jump 4th at Rio Olympics, 4 x NCAA Champion (100m, 200m, long jump, 4x100m relay), World Junior Championships Bronze medallist

AV/AA in Sri Lanka!

In Australia it’s easy to take things for granted. In athletics terms we actually have it quite good, with Melbourne alone having 20+ synthetic tracks, 40 senior clubs, hundreds of qualified coaches and organised competition on almost a weekly basis.  Everyone likes to have a whinge about the state of athletics, but let’s face it, ours are literally first world problems.

Through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Athletics Australia has embarked on a program to assist and develop athletics in Sri Lanka. With a population base just under that of Australia, all contained in a land mass the size of Tasmania, Sri Lanka sits as a gem shaped island below the sub continental land mass that is home to nearest neighbour in India.

With a rich agricultural heritage and fertile lands, Sri Lanka is far from being a third world country, however the scars of 30 years of civil war are still evident both physically in the limited infrastructure & maimed bodies, and emotionally through the memories of conflict that touched most families, both Singhalese and Tamil. With the conflict concluding in 2008, the rebuilding and rehabilitation of Sri Lanka as a united entity began.

Across the world sport is now seen as not just a physical pursuit but also a way to engage communities, provide healthy outcomes for the entire population and develop self worth – peace through sport being a common catchphrase in developing nations. With this in mind, Athletics Australia is not targeting high performance or talent spotting through their program, it is solely aimed at building capacity for Sri Lankan athletics to improve on existing structures and systems.

After a preliminary visit by AA staff in November 2016, four Melbourne based coaches made the trip to Sri Lanka on January 2nd to deliver coach education courses in Gampaha, Hettipola and Jaffna. Each site was selected for different reasons. Gampaha is an existing athletic centre not far from the capital Colombo, but still under-developed in terms of the range of coaching available.  Hettipola has a more rural village feel with limited opportunities for school children and village communities to engage in sport.  Further north, Jaffna was the epicentre of the civil war, so the strain 30 years of conflict brought to the community and the region’s infrastructure is ever present.

A two prong approach was taken with this visit – basic coach education that encompassed the Level 1 Community Coach, Recreational Run Leader and IAAF Kids program up-skilling covered those with little or no formal athletic coaching experience, while the Level 2 Intermediate Club Coach course was delivered to those currently coaching in some capacity.

As a first attempt at the program AA had no real concept of how many coaches to expect, what courses they would be interested in or how they would respond to courses delivered in English and translated to Singhalese in both Gampaha & Hettipola, then Tamil and Singhalese in Jaffna. A close working relationship with the Ministry of Sport, Ministry of Education and the Army did however ensure each venue worked well.

Through the support of these various departments, the final day’s activity at each centre involving a practical demonstration by the Sri Lankan coaches of the IAAF Kids Athletics and Youth Athletics programs involving local school children was amazing to see.

So after 10 days in the country involving 9 days of education, 400 newly accredited coaches are now released into the Sri Lankan schools, villages, military and urban centres. By anyone’s standard this is a tremendous result.

The work in Sri Lanka however is not over. A third visit for this financial year is planned in a few months with the emphasis being IPC Para classification and recruitment together with the potential for one Level 2 Advanced coaching course. There is some hope that DFAT will continue funding into a second year as continuity of the programs being established is essential to long term success.

In terms of the impact of the program so far, this may be hard to judge, but if the words of one participant in Hettipola are anything to go by, then things are looking positive. ‘We were a desert until you came, but Athletics Australia has provided the water for us to grow.”

Tim Crosbie – Athletics Victoria – Recreational Running Coordinator

Nitro Team Australia Confirmed!

An Australian team full of young guns and rising stars are relishing the opportunity to take on Usain Bolt and his international band of super stars at the inaugural Nitro Athletics Melbourne.

Headlined by Olympians and Olympic finalists including Ryan Gregson, Morgan Mitchell, Genevieve LaCaze, Fabrice Lapierre, Brooke Stratton, Kathryn Mitchell and Michelle Jenneke the team also includes Paralympic gold medallist Scott Reardon and bronze medallist Ella Pardy.

Rising sprint stars Jack Hale and Riley Day get the opportunity to experience big-time international athletics for the first time, and world junior championship silver medallists Kurtis Marschall and Liz Parnov will also be crucial to Team Australia’s success in the pole vault.

With an average age of just 22 the team represents Australia’s athletics future and includes rising stars such as national 400m champion and Olympic 4x400m finalist Anneliese Rubie.

“I’m looking forward to the fast-paced program of Nitro,” Rubie said.

“It’s super exciting to have so many different types of events on the one night such as the 300m and the mixed relays,” Rubie added.

The team represents 15 members with Olympic or Paralympic experience including Ryan Gregson, who in Rio became the first Australian to make the men’s 1500m final in 40 years.

“This is something that’s never happened before and I’m I just so excited to be a part of it,” Gregson said.

“The main thing is that we are going to have to try and beat the Bolt All-Stars – that’s the goal.

It’s going to be fun to be a part of a team with a lot of my friends that I get along with so well.”

“The elimination mile is going to be interesting,” Gregson said.

“I really don’t know what to expect because I know how to race a mile when we are all just focussing on the last lap but this time we’re going to see someone eliminated after each lap – it’s going to mean that there’ll be some very tired legs on the last lap which means it’s going to be very entertaining for the crowd to watch. I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”

“From what I know Nitro Athletics is going to be non-stop action. At Lakeside the crowd is going to be so close to the action and it’s going to be great.”

Exuberant Olympic hurdler and regular Sydney University Athletics Club contributor Michelle Jenneke said she thought Nitro Athletics Melbourne would be full of surprises.

“I think new innovations in any sport which engages the general public and increases the profile of the sport and its athletes is great,” Jenneke said.

“I hope the Australian public will get behind it and get to experience some of the fun that I as an athlete get to experience. Team Australia is a great group of athletes with lots of young energy so hopefully with the crowd behind us, it will result in a whole lot of fun and a great night at the track for everyone.”

Young sprint star Jack Hale is equally excited about the opportunity to be a part of the ground-breaking series.

“It’s an amazing opportunity – it’s going to be huge for me and my development of my career going forward,” the 18 year old said.

“Athletics is a long game and it’s all about progression over the years so to be one of the youngest in the team is really good and hopefully being part of Nitro will give me some great new experience.”

“The chance to line up against someone like Usain Bolt will be amazing – he’s the pinnacle of sprinters. While I look up to him – I’m excited to create my own future,” Hale said.

Team Australia Selector Tamsyn Lewis said the team is hungry to take athletics into a new era.

“This team recognises the opportunity to compete along-side Usain and his team of Olympic champions but also the chance to compete in an Australian meet on prime time TV for the first time in nearly a decade,” Lewis says.

“They are young guns ready to put on a show and we are thrilled that they will get this opportunity – it’s a world first. Usain Bolt is racing in Australia and they will all be part of it.”

Team Australia for Nitro Athletics Melbourne
Alex Hartmann QLD 23 Sprints Morgan Mitchell VIC 22 Sprints
Jack Hale TAS 18 Sprints Anneliese Rubie NSW 24 Sprints
Aaron Stubbs QLD 26 Sprints Riley Day QLD 16 Sprints
Luke Stevens VIC 22 Sprints Christine Wearne NSW 29 Sprints
Justin Merlino NSW 30 Hurdles Michelle Jenneke  NSW 23 Hurdles, sprints
Ryan Gregson VIC 26 Middle distance Genevieve LaCaze VIC 27 Middle distance
Jeff Riseley VIC 30 Middle distance Linden Hall VIC 25 Middle distance
Luke Mathews VIC 21 Middle distance Heidi See NSW 27 Middle distance
Fabrice Lapierre NSW 33 Jumps Brooke Stratton VIC 23 Jumps, sprints
Kurtis Marschall SA 19 Pole vault Liz Parnov WA 22 Pole vault
Hamish Peacock TAS 26 Javelin Kathryn Mitchell VIC 34 Javelin
Scott Reardon ACT 26 Para-Athletics Ella Pardy  WA 26 Para-Athletics

Nine-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt will headline the Bolt All-Stars for Nitro Athletics Melbourne in the series that kicks off next month and will see Australia also take on China, England, Japan and New Zealand in a new look athletics format at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium on Saturday 4th, Thursday 9th and Saturday 11th February 2017.

Bolt will be joined by four fellow Olympic champions including Rio 400m hurdles gold medallist Kerron Clement, Jamaican relay teammates Asafa Powell and Michael Frater along with 2008 Olympic hurdles champion Dawn Harper Nelson from the United States.

Olympic champion will bring showbiz to Nitro

It is not unusual for an Olympic champion to be talented in a number of areas and that’s certainly the case for Bolt All-Stars Olympic champion Kerron Clement who has made a name for himself on and off the track.

Olympic gold, Beyoncé film clips, modelling and a cameo on Young and the Restless are all part of the Clement resume.

The Rio gold medallist will join the Bolt All-Stars for Nitro Athletics Melbourne in the series that kicks off next month and will see Australia take on Usain Bolt’s All-Stars, China, England, Japan and New Zealand in a new look athletics format at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium on Saturday 4th, Thursday 9th and Saturday 11th February 2017.

Since winning his first global championship in Osaka nearly ten years ago in the 400m hurdles the 31-year-old American finally achieved the ultimate in Rio last year, claiming the 400m hurdles Olympic gold.

In his third Olympics, a second-place finish in Beijing in 2008 along with relay gold and then a special effort to make the final in London after a year of injuries made victory in Brazil in a time of 47.73 seconds all the more sweeter.

“Gold in Rio has more significance than my other gold medals at the world championships,” Clement explained.

“Not saying I don’t value and appreciate my efforts but it was something about the journey leading up to 2016 summer games.

“Having dealt with many setbacks and injuries, and having to hit the refocus button and perform at the highest level possible while being under pressure – not many athletes can handle such pressure.

“That’s why it means so much to me to win and finally add that elusive gold to my collection.”

Clement also won a second world championship 400m hurdles title in Berlin, while winning gold in the US 4x400m relay teams at those championships and in Osaka.

Unsurprisingly, the American was picked to compete for the Bolt All-Stars at the upcoming Nitro Athletics series given his exceptional running resume.

Clement will join a team that includes Bolt and Jamaican Olympic gold medallists Asafa Powell and Michael Frater along with 2008 Olympic hurdles champion Dawn Harper-Nelson from the United States.

The trio will be joined by 2008 Olympic 100m silver medallist Richard Thompson from Trinidad and Tobago, American hurdler Ryan Wilson and rising young American sprinter Jenna Prandini.

Athletically Clement is perfectly suited to be on Usain Bolt’s team as he similarly enjoys the glitz and glamour professional sport can provide nearly as much as the big Jamaican himself.

“I’m really excited to be a part of this meeting,” Clement said.

“Anything that involves being a part of a team I’m always excited about because I consider myself a team player and I like to think I can motivate my other teammates to reach their full potential.

“It’s always good to be on a team with a global superstar (Usain Bolt), and right now the face of track and field.

“I think it will give other athletes a boost to give their best. I am a versatile athlete and can run any event.”

A flick through his Instagram account will show that Clement has as much confidence in front of the camera, if not more than when he is wearing American colours on the track. And he has even appeared in a Beyoncé music video clip (1:48) and an episode of Young and the Restless.

“The Beyoncé thing is funny to me,” Clement laughed.

“I did that gig eight years ago… and to this day people still talk about it. It’s something that I love to do, being in entertainment, in whichever capacity.

“Modelling for Sean John, acting in Young and the Restless, well actually it was a small cameo – and even photographing agency models.

“I dabble in photography as well… I’m a man of many skills.”

Looking beyond Nitro Athletics the day-to-day goals for Clement remain simple and largely revolve around staying injury free so he can perform to his best at every meet.

“As always, my aim for 2017 as any other year would be to injury free, and consistently winning,” he explained.

“Being an Olympic champion, I know I will have a target on my back but I am fully aware of that and I embrace the challenge by anyone.

“With that being said, I’m looking to be world champion again. Adding a third individual gold in the hurdles, making me the only hurdler in history to ever do so.”


Kerron Clement (USA)

Age: 31

Personal Bests – 100m: 10.23; 200m: 20.49; 400m: 44.48; 110m hurdles; 13.77; 400m hurdles: 47.24s

Gregson and Mitchell jump into the New Year in winning form!

Nitro Athletics Team Australia squad members Morgan Mitchell and Ryan Gregson have raced into 2017 in winning form with both taking victories at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals.

The 130-year-old professional running, cycling and wood chopping carnival is a traditional Christmas-New Year event in Tasmania and the Australian Olympic team stars made the most of the opportunity to prepare for the 2017 season and Nitro Athletics Melbourne events next month.

Rio Olympic 1500m finalist Ryan Gregson became the first man in 50 years to win the Burnie Mile from scratch, with Harold Davies the last to achieve the feat in 1967.

Meanwhile Rio 400m semi-finalist Morgan Mitchell followed in the footsteps of her mentor Cathy Freeman, producing three podium placings, including wins over her favoured 400m at the Devonport Carnival, a sprint victory over 120m at Latrobe before a second place in the Burnie Gift 120m final yesterday.

Gregson’s winning time was 4:03.97 and whilst the aim was a sub four-minute time, Gregson said it was the wind that ultimately stood in the way of becoming just the eighth Australian in history to run sub four-minutes for a mile on grass.

“It was windy. It was really tough.  The guys did a great job in making it come up nice, I saw the lawnmower go out just before the race. So that gave us every opportunity to run fast.

“I’m a big fan of the sport, and especially mile running. I know all the history, so it just makes a win like this even more special. It’s just so humbling to go down in the record books with some of the greats,” he added.

Earlier in the carnival Mitchell followed Freeman’s footsteps by winning the Devonport 400m from scratch.

After already scoring a win over 120m at the Latrobe carnival, Mitchell returned to the track on Thursday night over her more favoured one-lap distance to record a narrow win in 54.29.

The win replicated the feat of Freeman, who won in Devonport off scratch 23-years ago and also matched the effort of Jamaican Sandie Richards who was the last to win off scratch in 2000.

“I took it a bit easy down the back and when I saw them kick up the front at the 200 metres I thought I was in trouble,” Mitchell said.

“But I remembered why we came here, got my act together, ran hard and just got there.

“I wasn’t really expecting that result before today, so I am really happy with it, especially the time.

“I did want to hike up Cradle Mountain but that’s off the cards now with the trifecta in play. It would be great to get a result at Burnie as well,” Mitchell said, referring to New Year’s Day assignment at the Burnie Carnival.

The 22-year-old fell just short of a stunning treble, finishing second in the big Burnie sprint final.

Gregson’s win rounded out a successful Tasmanian sojourn for a handful of Australia’s top line athletes ahead of the Nitro Athletics and Summer of Aths events in 2017.

Mitchell now returns to Melbourne whilst Gregson and Genevieve LaCaze head to Falls Creek to join the hundreds of runners assembled in the Victorian high country for their annual summer pilgrimage.