Thursday, April 14, 2011


AUSTRALIANS were dominant in Tennis until people decided that they could build on their tennis courts . What happened then was a steady decline to the point where a Swiss and Spaniard own Men’s Tennis and a Dane or Russian currently dominate the women’s rankings . Some like Sam and Leyton try to compete for the podium but following them there is a lack of talent unlike the years when Newcombe and Court were household names .

Early 90’s I was fortunate to share a rental property in Longueville , one of Sydney’s Northern suburbs which had it’s own tennis court . Squash had been my game in earlier years and I had played at a variety of venues and occasionally joined others as they warmed up whilst awaiting their partner’s arrival . One such occasion I found myself on court at the Bellevue Hill courts with Billy Mc Mahon who was quite a bit older than me but dominated the court with his talent . No I didn’t get to meet Sonya or an autograph as he was just another bloke playing his sport as Aussies tend to do . Thus with a tennis court I learned the measurements of the court and set about bringing the surface back to a condition where some were able to play competitively . Along the way my game improved but after 18 months the property was sold and 3 Villa style houses now stand there with their play pools and the owner pocketed a profit from their investment .

Robbie Mc Ewen tweeted
( @Mcewenrobbie "Help save a "grass roots" cycling facility in Sydney. )
about Hurstville Velodrome today as the Local Council is attempting to destroy one of Australia’s Sporting Venues . . Anyone in Cycling worldwide will tell you that they know the importance of the Hurstville Velodrome in Australia’s Cycling Heritage . One of it’s earlier users became so famous that the 2000 Sydney Olympic Velodrome is named for him . Can you imagine where the youngsters of that area are going to go to entertain themselves if that source of endeavour is removed ? Too often we hear Youth complain of “nothing to do” as they stand on street corners . Fact is Cycling is a minority sport in the mind of too many including the media who compete with one another to score a junket trip to the Tour de France or the Olympics but overlook attending local or Paralympic Events as of no interest to them and thus their audience did not see or hear of the event‘s participants or results .

Councillors always have their constituents best interests at heart or that is why you the electorate vote for them ? Who is kidding who ? Compulsory voting means we ALL vote for the best of the worst , hoping that things will not get any worse ! Right ? Not being a voter living in the area or paying the taxes that the council are responsible for distributing I have little right to add my voice to the decisions being made BUT are we not ALL Australians and in times of need , pull together for the benefit of the country let alone the neighbourhood ? Look at the recent floods in Queensland if you doubt that Aussies are willing to help each other overcome adversity . TOGETHER we the Aussie public can overturn this proposed vandalism .

Being an Expat Aussie in Europe I make it my business to get to as many ProCycle Events as my limited resources allow . Meeting and greeting Aussie Racers at these events I learn a little of what is going on in the Cycling Sport back home and some of these racers think of me with disdain particularly when their team colleagues pull their leg . El Diablo jumps about on the side of the road attracting publicity for his sponsor “LUK” but I pedal about the whole route and get to meet and greet some amazing people WHO I ask to do more for “Para Sport” ! Varese was where I met a Councillor from Geelong who was there to see that the World Road Race Championships who go to Geelong in 2009 and whether he listened to my request that he support Para Athletes being invited to compete in front of that Event’s audience I cannot say , Embolisms kept me in Europe .

London’s 1948 Velodrome was treated to just the same neglect and until recently was in danger of disappearing through the Self Interest of the owners , Dulwich College !

Temporarily the College has granted a 15 year extention of the lease and with some luck the track can be put in order to allow it to be used for training for next years’ Olympic & Paralympic events ! Many years of effort went into saving this venue and it was a “one minute before midnight” outcome !

CAN WE please work on making “Hurstville Velodrome” safe before the proposal to demolish becomes FACT ? Plans are one thing , but overturning a decision becomes another matter ! Once a plan is approved , “Vested Interests” have something to lose and thus something to fight to preserve .
As I get around Europe I see local councils proving facilities for their electorate and it does not come as a surprise to see the Velodrome of Cles in the Non Valley Italy is state of the art . Maurizio Fondriest is resident nearby and he was the World Road Race Champion in 1989 as well as victor in many other Cycle Events .

So many other venues come about because of Sporting Success around the world and lately Australians have been dominant in Aerial Skiing so the Queensland Government together with others have planned to build a new centre of Excellence so that our aspiring athletes can train ! Could not the NSW Government combine with others to renovate Hurstville Velodrome so that it becomes World Class and a destination for World Events as well as the youth setting out to participate in the Cycling Sport .

Email address for the Hurstville Mayor :