For the next couple of weeks, many of Australia’s leading athletes are in a holding pattern, while numerous area championships, the European Championships, African and Asian Games, and NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association) championships are held.
But when they resume competition there will be a final cluster of major meets to close the international season including the major outdoor global meet of the year – the 2018 Continental Cup.
Allocated to Ostrava, in the Czech Republic, the Aussies will compete under the combined banner of Asia/Pacific in a two-day, four-team Continental Cup competition.
After 10 editions titled the World Cup from 1977 to 2006, the next three, including 2018, are named the Continental Cup. For the years of the World Cup, Oceania competed individually with the team primarily comprising New Zealand and Australia, however over the last few editions, as the Continental Cup, four teams Europe, Africa, Americas and Asia-Pacific have contested the event.
The fourth World Cup, 1985, was held in the old Bruce Stadium in Canberra. The event witnessed a number of extraordinary performances, including two world records – Marita Koch (400m) and East Germany (4x100m relay).
At the inaugural World Cup, held in Dusseldorf in Germany in 1977, three Aussies finished on the podium. Sydney-based Olympian and now coach, Lyn Jacenko won the long jump with a distance of 6.54m. It was noted at the time: “Jacenko provided the biggest surprise of the first World Cup by winning from three Europeans of the highest world class.”
Also on the podium in 1977 were two bronze medallists, Peter Farmer in the hammer throw, with a distance of 73.92m and Dave Fitzsimmons in the 5000m clocking 13:17.42.
Over the ensuring three decades the World Cup/Continental Cup have been held, another four Aussies have won gold, Steve Hooker - pole vault (2006 & 2010), Craig Mottram - 3000m (2002 & 2006), Johanna Stone – javelin (1998) and Sally Pearson – 100m hurdles (2010).
Jana Pittman, who was third in the 400m hurdles in 2002, has been named the Asia-Pacific patron.
The Asia-Pacific team is expected to be announced early next month with many of Australia’s leading athletes on the team following the declaration they are available.