CHAMPION pole vaulter Steve Hooker began his winning ways at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and now his coach’s daughter has the chance to do the same at the 2010 Games in New Delhi.Western Australia’s Liz Parnov, 15, was yesterday named as one of three women to represent Australia in pole vault in the Indian capital, where the Games will start on October 3.The daughter of Russian pole vault guru Alex Parnov is the youngest member of the 69-strong track and field squad nominated by Athletics Australia following the three-day national championships in Perth.The oldest member of the squad is 37-year-old Patrick Johnson in the 4x100m relay. The squad includes 12 disabled athletes, the best-known being wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley in the 1500m.While it’s the fourth Commonwealth Games for 31-year-old Tamsyn Lewis (4x400m relay – an event where she is going for her fourth gold medal), 28 able-bodied athletes will make their Games debut.The chief executive of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association, Perry Crosswhite, said the Games were a great place for young Australian athletes to ”learn to win [against international competition at a major event]. The Commonwealth Games gives them that opportunity [to win] then they go on [to win elsewhere]. That’s what happened with Steve Hooker. Steve Hooker won at the Commonwealth Games, then went on to win the Olympics and world championships.”John Steffensen (400m and 4x400m relay) is another big name who will defend his 2006 titles in Delhi.Fabrice Lapierre, Chris Noffke and Mitchell Watt were all named in the men’s long jump.Athletics Australia said: ”A team of up to 90 athletes is expected to be named to the final squad, to be announced following the close of the qualifying period on August 15. With the window for automatic nomination to the team now closed, all future nominations will be made at the selectors’ discretion.”That means the door remains open for two-time world champion Jana Rawlinson, recovering from injury, to defend her 400m and 4x400m relay titles, with places still available in those events. But injury-plagued middle-distance runner Craig Mottram, who also missed the trials, will not have a chance to defend his 2006 silver medal in the 5000m or race the 1500m, with all three places in both events already filled.Due largely to fears about terrorism, corporate Australia has not been as supportive of the 2010 Games team as the association would have liked. Sending the team to New Delhi is costing $13.5 million, but the association has a $5m funding ”black hole”.Despite the shortfall, Crosswhite said the association still planned to take a team of about 425 athletes – its biggest squad ever sent to an overseas Games.
Nanjing Night Net