On the eve of Australia Day, Aussie Athletes are flying the flag all over the world. Former world champion hurdler Jana Pittman has made a promising start to her new career in bobsleigh in her first race, at the World Championships in Altenburg, Germany.
Captain of the Australian Women’s Bobsleigh Team ‘Icebirds’, Astrid Radjenovic, said the move to include Pittman is designed to give the team a ‘jump start’ in their bid for 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic contention, which is exactly 12 months off.
‘I knew it was a risk to put Jana in the race after just one week on ice, but I really wanted to give her the experience, and was impressed at how well she rose to the challenge’, says Dual Olympian Radjenovic. ‘I wanted to test how Pittman would deal with the pressure of this extreme sport and get a good indication of what might be possible with a year of hard training together and hopefully some new equipment.’
Women in Sport Enterprise has announced its support of the team as its first investment project since launching the WISE Foundation and together with Sportaroo, are aiming to raise the necessary funds through community support to get the team to Sochi 2014 in top condition and with appropriate equipment.
‘After Pittman pushed pilot Astrid Radjenovic to Australia’s best ever World Cup finish of seventh, we just knew that it would be a great privilege to get behind such committed and determined women and genuine athletes’, says Richard Briggs, one of the founders of www.sportaroo.com – the online crowd-funding website that utilises social commerce principles to generate sponsorship revenue for sports clubs and athletes globally.
‘We’re confident that the campaign will appeal to the Australian public and we’re thrilled that our platform is being used to grow the role of women in sport. Another great example of Aussie’s coming together.’
Pittman, a two-time world champion in the 400m hurdles, aims to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. ‘My first runs down I found terrifying, but within one session I was in love with the sport and the thrill of the speed.’ Watch here http://vimeo.com/56844579
‘I am so glad that my long time friend, Astrid, has convinced me to join the team,’ said Pittman. ‘I am determined to give her as good a push start as I can, on time, every time. I really do want to make the most of this tremendous opportunity to help get us the edge we need to be really competitive and hopefully achieve that two tenths of a second that will make all the difference in where we qualify come Sochi 2014.’
The team currently trains in Australia on a sled that resembles a forty gallon drum with wheels and competes in an outdated competition sled that could do with a new paint job. But the Aussie Icebirds are still managing to achieve results that are impressive in comparison to their very well resourced competitors.
‘When we get back to Australia, Jana will start her medical training and I will be back at work as a vet, so we’ll be doing our best to maintain a strong training regime with the rest of the team in between our other commitments, like trying to earn a living,’ laughs Radjenovic.
‘But seriously, the support of WiSE and their partners will hopefully allow us to build on our current resources, so that we can get some additional training support and hopefully a newer sled that is more suited to our team’s needs. I can only imagine what will be possible with the right mix of equipment, training and as much competition as possible. We’re all really committed to giving it our best shot and representing our country,’ concluded Radjenovic.
To make a WiSE investment in support of the Aussie Icebirds go to http://bit.ly/Y87KBI
The WiSE Foundation is Aitken Partner’s Pro Bono Partner for 2013.