August, 2018

Anna Meares retires from cycling

The most decorated cyclist in Australian Olympic history, two-time Olympic gold medallist Anna Meares, has announced her retirement from the sport.
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Meares, 33, enjoyed an international career spanning 15 years, which included four Olympic Games and six Olympic medals and saw her become the only individual Australian athlete to medal at four consecutive Games.

Meares also won 11 world titles, the most by a female cyclist. She won 35 national titles and five gold medals at Commonwealth Games.

“I am really proud of my longevity, also proud of the level of high consistency in my performances and results during my career,” Meares said in a statement released by Cycling Australia.

“It is hard to close this chapter, because it is a bloody big one, but I am really excited about the doors opening in to the next chapter of my life.”

Meares’ achievements are even more incredible in light of the life-threatening injuries she suffered in a race crash, including a fractures in her neck, just months out from the the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Meares said she would most like to be remembered for her “resilience and strength”.

“I am really proud I have stuck around for as long as I have and while some people think I have made it look easy, I had to work so hard to stay on top.

“And I have been challenged extensively throughout my career and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of those challenges.

“I feel that I have grown with each experience and they have left me a better athlete, a better person.”

Cycling Australia CEO, Nicholas Green OAM, paid tribute to Meares upon her announcement.

“Anna’s contribution to the sport of cycling is immeasurable, and whether on or off the bike, Anna exemplified the utmost professionalism and respect for the sport and her peers,” he said.

“Her results at the Olympic, world championship and Commonwealth level are second to none and is a tribute to her hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence.

“Also the resilience shown by Anna as she faced repeated challenges throughout her career epitomised her strength of character and truly inspired the nation.

“While the trademark Meares stare, speed, power and victories will be sorely missed in velodromes across Australia and throughout the world, Anna has left a legacy on the sport that will be felt for years to come.

“Quite simply, the world of cycling is stronger because of Anna Meares, not poorer because of her retirement.

“We wish Anna all the best and look forward to her remaining with the sport in Australia to nurture and mentor our next generation of cyclists.”

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Hat tip at tidy towns

STAND-OUT: Board member Narelle Edwards with daughter, Scout Gallagher, 2, at the Beechworth Food Co-op, which took out a Tidy Towns award. Picture: ELENOR TEDENBORG
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BEECHWORTH’Sstoryof recoveryafter its supermarketburned down has moved audience members to tearsat theKeep Victoria Beautiful Tidy Towns awards.

The town’s post-fire initiatives won the community government partnerships category at Saturday’sceremony at Horsham.

Tidy Towns committee member Iris Mannik said the year’s events in Beechworth had made an impact, particularly for groups hailing from large areaslike the Mornington Peninsula.

“I talkedabout how the shire would get the elderly ringing saying they couldn’tget their shopping without the Lions Club,” she said.

“I talked about how Beechworth plumbing moved out of their area–it wasbeyond what happened on the night.It touched people and they asked to hear more about it.”

Mrs Mannik said the Beechworth Food Co-op also claimed a category –environmental sustainability.

“It’ssupporting our local foods andour growers,” she said.

“The co-op has little footprint and is a whole food education program.

“Now too, because they’ve grown to be bigger than thoughtpossible, you don’t have to necessarily join as a member to get involved.

“The fact you can go to their seed bank, to me, is wonderful because we’re going to save our heritage goods.”

Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria chief executive Sabina Wills said the North East took out multiple accolades over hundreds of entries from across the state.

“I was particularly impressed with Indigo Shire’s entries this year,” she said.

“The Beechworth Food Co-Operative continues to stand out and we were also inspired by the communities involvement in assisting others when their supermarket was closed.”

“The Wooragee Primary School Bush Fire Recovery Program is a wonderful example of educating children on sustainability.”

Mrs Mannik said Wooragee Primary School was recognised for itsefforts to restore 97 hectaresof bush.

“Wooragee won the highly commended in that category and the most delightful thing happened –they won the lucky door prize,” she said.

“Rutherglen got the highly commended intheclean beach and waterway for the Rutherglen park project.

“I think we represented the Indigo Shire well.”

Horsham was named tidiest in Victoria for the second year in a row.

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Queensland carers working hours equivalent to three full-time jobs

Carers Queensland’s Quality of Life report highlighted the amount of strain unpaid carers are under, as National Carers Week kicked-off on Sunday. Photo: SUPPLIED ZZZAs National Carers Week kicked off on Sunday, a new report has revealed just how much of a challenge unpaid Queensland carers face every week.
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Carers Queensland’s Quality of Life report takes an annual snapshot of the lives of those caring for loved ones who have disabilities, illnesses, chronic conditions or who are frail aged.

Of the 494 respondents, 80 per cent of unpaid family carers said they were working more hours per week than an average full-time worker.

Almost half of unpaid Queensland carers said they worked 120 hours or more per week providing care for their loved one.

“I am astonished,” Carers Queensland President Jim Toohey said.

“I was in the meeting when the figures were first released, I asked staff to go back and check.

“There are carers out there, particularly those who have to attend to loved ones through the night, who are putting in hours equivalent to working three full-time jobs every week.

“This is why many carers are fatigued, burnt out, and quite simply at breaking point.”

Wynnum carer Kerry Singh has been caring for her son, 11-year-old Aidan, all his life after he was born with only half of a working heart.

Aidan has reduced exercise tolerance, can only walk short distances and has spent a significant portion of his life in a wheelchair.

Ms Singh used to care for her son 100-120 hours per week, however in the last few years the workload has eased to about 60 hours.

Ms Singh said there were gaps within the support network for Queensland’s unpaid carers, particularly for those in a similar position to her.

“To be honest for high-needs children there is enough resources and funding for those parents and carers,” she said.

“But for those who have needs, but not high needs, we slip through the cracks.

“We don’t qualify for any help or services and the only break I get is when both twins go to camp for three days once a year.”

Ms Singh said she used to take Aidan to hospital three times per week for blood tests and said the parking costs were “ridiculous”.

“We need more funding towards medicine, equipment and parking,” she said.

Unpaid carers are vital to Queensland and the entire country.

If all unpaid carers across Australia stopped fulfilling their caring role, it would cost the country $60.3 billion per year to replace those services.

“It’s clear that Australia counts on carers, so this National Carers Week we want to show carers just how much they count,” Mr Toohey said.

​”We always need to support those who receive the least, but contribute the most.”

National Carers Week 2016 in Australia is October 16-22.

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Man and boy, 9, rescued from burning car wreck at Yeoval

A man and his nine-year-old son had a lucky escape when a passing motorist dragged them out of their burning car wreck in the central west of NSW on Saturday.
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The driver and his young passenger were rescued only moments before the vehicle was engulfed by flames and destroyed.

NSW Police said the pair were driving in Yeoval, south of Dubbo, when their 4WD swerved off the road, hitting a tree and bursting into flames.

A passing motorist stopped and smashed a window of the burning car to rescue the boy from the front passenger seat before returning to rescue the driver, a 44-year-old man.

NSW Ambulance paramedics assisted the injured man and child at the scene before the pair was flown to Sydney for further treatment.

The child is recovering at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead while his father is at Westmead Hospital where he is in a stable condition.

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‘Constantly in my mind’: Michael Clarke reflects on Phillip Hughes

Michael Clarke and wife Kyly at Phillip Hughes’ funeral. Michael Clarke at Phillip Hughes’ funeral.
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Best mates: former Australian captain Michael Clarke and Phillip Hughes out in the middle together in 2013.

Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has revealed he did not have time to properly grieve for his mate Phillip Hughes and continues to think of him constantly two years after his death.

Writing in his new autobiography, Clarke admits he was under pressure to keep playing and did not pause to process Hughes’ sudden death and its impact on him.

“Nothing has been quite right since Hughesy,” he wrote in his book, My Story.

“I can see that now. I’ve gone through good moments at times, even such career highs as winning the World Cup and winning a Test match at Lord’s. But throughout it all, there was something not quite right with me, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe it was too obvious. Or too frightening to face. I never grieved.

“One minute I was at war with Cricket Australia, with the selectors and the high-performance manager, and the next minute the world came to an end. But then Hughesy’s funeral was behind us, CA was anxious to get the Test series with India going, and the world started spinning again.”

Clarke thought of Hughes as a younger brother and was a pallbearer at his funeral in December 2014.

Details about Hughes’ death were heard in a coronial inquiry in Sydney last week with findings to be handed down on November 4.

Clarke recalled the Australian team was under pressure to play the Adelaide Test match just days after saying goodbye to Hughes.

“Unanimously, we want to play the Adelaide Test match as a tribute to Hughesy and for his family, but the timing has to be right,” he wrote. “Eventually an agreement is struck to begin the match on 9 December, six days after the funeral. In retrospect, most of us would agree that it is still too soon.”

The former captain revealed he launched himself into training for the 2015 World Cup without stopping to grieve.

“Throughout all that, I never give myself time to grieve for my mate,” he wrote. “I’m thinking about Hughesy 24/7, but my mind hasn’t been able to stop and take it all in. I’m still half-expecting a text from him. His number is in my phone. He’s still there, in a corner of my mind.”

Clarke famously went on to steer Australia to a World Cup victory but recalled that throughout that time, “I have Hughesy constantly in my mind.”

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