Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Chuck the damn spear - Idiot #18

After a week without a post due to workload I present you with a sporting idiot. In a former life I was a bit of an athlete even as far as doing my degree in sports science. Yesterday I witnessed a top level athletic failure of the highest order.

I am talking about Kelly Sotherton. On Monday and Tuesday she was competing in the heptathlon at the European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg. At the end of five events she was well in contention for a medal, and was the closest challenger to the eventual winner Carolina Kluft. The penultimate event is the javelin. It is well known as Sotherton's weakest event and it showed. She just managed to break 30 metres scoring a pitiful 478 points where previously she was averaging about 900 points per event. Her throw would have embarrassed a club level athlete. The javelin is one of those events that is deceptively simple. It looks straightforward but requires a good technique to get any sort of performance. I have seen skinny guys easily out through big lumps at athletics meetings simply because they knew what they were doing.

In Britain there is a history of success in the javelin and a fair number of decent coaches. Why the hell did she not work harder at it? I am sure she has put some work into it and the problem is now partly psychological. It is no longer a case of nipping the javelin failures in the bud as they have been going on too long already, she needs someone to tell her what she is doing wrong. That someone should be British Athletics. With central contracts being offered to top performers British Athletics should invest in what are now their employees like any other organisation. The performance director thinks it is clever to publicly mark the athletes out of ten, I just hope that behind the scenes he is making sure that the athletes are getting more that just financial support.

Today's Cull: You will be hit around the head with a training manual.

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