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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 2038 ..


Mr Stuart Rendell

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (5.02): I move:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Mr Speaker, in this afternoon's adjournment debate I would like to single out one of the many Australians who achieved a significant milestone at the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. Members may be interested to know that of the 190 medals that were awarded in Kuala Lumpur 52 went to Canberra-based athletes, which I think is pretty exciting. I would like to personally congratulate, and I hope the Assembly will join with me, Stuart Rendell, a 26-year-old athlete from Kambah, right here in the ACT.

Last Friday night Stuart won the gold medal for the hammer throw, the first medal he has ever won at a major competition. Following in the footsteps of former dual gold medallist Sean Carlin, Stuart hurled the hammer 74.71 metres to win Australia's third consecutive hammer throwing title at the Commonwealth Games. After his win, Stuart told the Sydney Morning Herald:

It was a great night, a celebration of all the hard work I have done. I was always considered talented but not talented enough to make it, and I suppose this proves I can.

Stuart is now the No. 1 ranked hammer thrower in the Commonwealth and is looking forward to his next two big challenges - the world championships next year and, of course, the Sydney Olympics in the year 2000. His achievement in Kuala Lumpur was all the more remarkable when you consider how difficult it has been for him to secure the sponsorship and support he needed to devote himself to his chosen sport. He has not attracted the sort of attention that Susie O'Neill and Michael Klim have received, both of whom are absolutely magnificent athletes. Getting financial backing for Stuart has been significantly more difficult - in fact, extremely tough.

Earlier this year, when Stuart was invited to travel to Germany to train with world champion Heinz Weiss immediately prior to the Commonwealth Games, he did not have the money to make the journey. That is when, Mr Speaker, the ACT Government entered with Feel the Power campaign sponsorship. The campaign, which has also supported Paralympic yachtsman Peter Thompson and also Lake Tuggeranong College's solar car entry Spirit of Canberra 2, provided funding to enable Stuart to get to Germany. On Friday night Stuart told the media in Kuala Lumpur that training for a month in Germany had helped him lift to a new level and was one of the reasons that he won his first gold medal.

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