Olympic javelin medalist wants level playing field

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The Independent Online

Olympic silver medalist Louise Currey says Sydney Games organizers have treated field event competitors as second-class citizens by designing an uneven surface at Stadium Australia.

Olympic silver medalist Louise Currey says Sydney Games organizers have treated field event competitors as second-class citizens by designing an uneven surface at Stadium Australia.

The run-up track is about 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) lower than the grass infield to cater for drainage requirements associated with winter sports such as rugby and soccer.

Australian Currey says the uneven surface will have an impact on javelin performances during next year's Games.

"The field events are treated like second class," Currey told Wednesday's Daily Telegraph newspaper, adding Olympic organizers "wouldn't ask the 100 meter sprinters to run uphill.'

Currey, who is one of Australia's best Olympic medal prospects in athletics said competing at Stadium Australia was "like standing in a bunker and shooting out."

"It's the worst (arena) I've ever had to do a major meet on," Currey said.

The configuration of the competition surface has been approved by the International Amateur Athletics Federation, the sport's world governing body.

Athletics Australia competition manager Brian Roe said the uneven surface had not been an issue when IAAF technical delegates inspected the stadium.

"The amount of difference is so small it's not to be worth worrying about," said Roe. "The only key thing is that the run-ups and (discus) circles are no higher than ground level."

Bill Bailey, track and field manager for 2000 Olympics organizers, SOCOG, said the IAAF technical committee had advised him that the raised infield would have no effect on measuring in throwing events.

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