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January 6, 2005

Coach's chance to refine squad

From: Orange Central Western Daily, Australia - Jan 6, 2005

By Dave Miller
Thursday, 6 January 2005

NEW Zealand women's hockey coach Ian Rutledge will use the next 12 months to work on technical aspects of his players' game after a frantic first two years in the job.

Rutledge, from Orange, will use the time wisely in the lead-up to the 2006 Commonwealth Games and World Cup.

Having been through the rigours of qualifying for the Athens Olympics and the Games themselves, Rutledge can now concentrate on his squad's development.

"In 2004 we spent lot of time playing and not training, so we couldn't address our deficiencies," said Rutledge, while holidaying in Orange with wife Donnette and daughter Imogen.

"Our focus was to cover as much as possible in a short period of time.

"The next 12 months allows us an opportunity to make sure our athletes are prepared optimally so when we get to the Commonwealth Games we're ready to perform at our best."

Creditable sixth

RUTLEDGE is proud of the Black Sticks' sixth placing at the Olympics and believes the team can continue climb up the world rankings.

"In retrospect to do any better than we did would have been a huge achievement, you can't underestimate how tough it is," he said.

"It was a very creditable achievement considering we came 11th in the World Cup ... most people didn't give us much chance of qualifying."

Deaflympics' long history

ORANGE tenpin bowler David Hayward and Blayney swimmer Craig Morgan will be part of the biggest multi-sport event of the year at the 2005 Deaflympics in Melbourne.

A total of 3,500 athletes from 94 countries have arrived in Melbourne as part of a contingent of 30,000 interstate and overseas visitors for the Games, which run until January 16.

Along with 68 foreign media representatives, they have booked out 24,000 hotel rooms.

The Deaflympics have a longer history than the Commonwealth Games.

Originally known as the International Silent Games, they were first held in Paris in 1924.

The Games are made up of 16 sports, including track and field, swimming, cycling and soccer. The only non-Olympic sport is tenpin bowling.

Games media director Susan Wright said the only difference from the Olympics was that flashing lights, hand signals or flags were used instead of a starting gun or whistle.

"In the Paralympics, the competitors are not physically able, while the athletes in the Deaflympics are physically able," she said.

"There's a lot of guys here who represent their country at Olympic or Commonwealth Games level.

"They're elite athletes and the only disadvantage is that they can't hear."

Building on success

DUAL Paralympic gold medallist Kurt Fearnley is one of six athletes named in the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) wheelchair track and road squad for 2005.

The athletes selected in the squad are Patrick Baker (Elanora), Angie Ballard (Stanmore), Christie Dawes (Merewether), Fearnley (Carcoar), Paul Nunnari (Leumeah) and Rosemary Little (West Pennant Hills).

Head coach Andrew Dawes, from Orange, is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

"This year we are really looking at building on our past success. We have two younger athletes in Patrick Baker and Rosemary Little who we are looking forward to seeing graduate to senior ranks," said Dawes. "The senior athletes in the squad also have the chance to build on their international achievements. There is a long way to go until Beijing and the work starts today."

Other big contingents include the United States, China and Britain.

The Melbourne Deaflympics are being used as a dry run for next year's $1.1 billion Commonwealth Games, with some Melbourne 2006 officials seconded to the Deaflympics organising committee.

A new running track has been laid at Olympic Park, which will also be used as a training and warm-up facility for Melbourne 2006.

The Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre will be used extensively, while the central Victorian city of Ballarat has a key role as the venue for the marathon and road cycling events.

Ms Wright said the Victorian and federal governments have both put $4 million each into the Deaflympics.

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