Ron Clarke and John Landy (© Getty Images)
Australia’s rich athletics history has been celebrated in Bathurst today with the award of three World Athletics Heritage Plaques.
The World Athletics Heritage Plaque is a location-based recognition, awarded for an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport of track and field athletics and of out-of-stadia athletics disciplines such as cross country, mountain, road, trail and ultra-running, and race walking.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe made the announcement at an Australian Team Reunion ahead of this afternoon’s 44th edition of the World Athletics Cross Country Championships. The reunion took place at the Rydges Hotel, Bathurst, which overlooks the cross-country course, and was attended by most of Australia’s individual top-10 World Cross finishers, including 2004 world champion Benita Willis, Jackie Perkins, Krishna Stanton, Rob De Castella, Steve Moneghetti and Craig Mottram.
“It gives me great pleasure to mark the staging of the first World Athletics Series event held in Australia since the 2001 Grand Prix Final in Melbourne by announcing three World Athletics Heritage Plaques,” commented Coe.
“Australia, which in 1912 was one of the founding members of World Athletics (formerly IAAF), has made a considerable contribution to our sport’s history and development, three important elements of which we recognise today with plaques.
“In the posthumous category of ‘Legend’, we celebrate the achievements of John Landy (1930 to 2022) and Ron Clarke (1937 to 2015), two of the greatest middle and long-distance world record breakers. While they missed out on ultimate Olympic glory, their successful careers exemplified grit and determination, and have inspired generations of runners around the world.”
Landy’s and Clarke’s plaques will be permanently displayed at the tracks of their clubs, Geelong Guild AC and Glenhuntly AC. Incidentally, Glenhuntly’s Logan Janetzki was entered for the U20 men's race at today’s championships.
“The third plaque, awarded in the category of ‘Culture’, recognises the Australian Track & Field Coaches Association Journal, formerly ‘Modern Athlete & Coach’, which was founded in 1955 by Jess Jarver (1922-2005). The journal remains one of our sport’s foremost coaching publications.”
The ATFCA Journal plaque will be permanently displayed at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
Today’s announcement brings to a total of six the Heritage Plaques awarded to Australia since the programme was inaugurated in December 2018. The previous three plaques were bestowed to Betty Cuthbert (‘Legend’, 2018), Stawell Gift (‘Competition’, 2019) and Percy Cerutty (‘Legend’, 2021).
World Athletics Heritage