NEW TO TOURING: Marcia and John Holbrook, of Hobart, with furry friend. Pictures: NEIL RICHARDSON. (1/2)”I love everything about it because it’s all different,” she said.
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Mrs Collings has been in the State for four weeks and has enjoyed the club rally.

“This is our first time down here and we have enjoyed it very much. It has all been terrific,” she said.

Mrs Collings intends to do more sight-seeing in Tasmania with her husband after the rally before returning home to NSW.

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Danish duo follow tall order

TASMANIAN LINK: Danish travellers Nina Baron and David Enghuus are finding out all about their princess-to-be’s home State. Picture: TIM HUGHESMiss Baron, 20, and Mr Enghuus, 21, are on a working holiday in the State, helping out on the tall ship Windeward Bound at Low Head.
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“We both like to sail on tall ships, and we wanted to see the world,” Miss Baron said.

“We came to Tasmania after spending half a year studying and sailing on an educational tall ship called The Denmark in Copenhagen.”

A search on the Internet for information about other tall ships they could work on led the couple to Tasmania and the Windeward Bound.

Miss Baron said that the forthcoming royal wedding in Denmark between Prince Frederick and Tasmania’s Mary Donaldson was a big event and was figuring prominently in their news.

“My grandmother was excited when she heard I was coming to Tasmania, where Mary is from,” she said.

But “the royal family and wedding is more important to the older generation in Denmark than to the younger people”, both agreed.

They knew very little about Tasmania before their arrival but have spent time travelling and sightseeing.

“It’s beautiful nature down here. You can drive for two hours and be in the bush or a rainforest,” Mr Enghuus said.

“I’m amazed how friendly the people are. You meet people on the street and they just talk to you, which is really nice.”

Miss Baron will head home to Copenhagen in August to start university study but Mr Enghuus intends to spend a year travelling the world.

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Funding to boost radio services

Senator John Watson yesterday announced that funding up to $24,590 had been approved to upgrade reception of RG Capital Radio’s radio 7SD signal into the St Helens area.
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The funding will assist RG Capital Radio with capital costs related to equipment, installation, site establishment and licence fees.

Senator Watson said that the upgrade would improve the 7SD signal into the St Helens area, which is one of the fastest-growing population centres in the State.

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Auskick role for `Dipper’

HAVING A BALL: AFL Tasmania’s new development trainees Leigh Harding and Nathan Grima and AFL regional development officer Craig Notman get into the football spirit at yesterday’s Auskick launch at YoThe AFL Auskick programme is a fun introduction to the game of Aussie rules for five to 12-year-old boys and girls, based on developing skills and playing the game in a modified form.
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AFL Tasmania State development manager Daniel Smedley said that during the 2003 season, Auskick saw a 32 per cent increase in participation with more than 5500 children involved and Tasmania had seen a 100 per cent increase in the past two years.

“AFL Auskick will be provided in community, club and school-based programmes and is set to be delivered in more than 150 centres across Tasmania with about 5800 participants this year,” Mr Smedley said.

AFL footy would be the Statewide focus of Tasmanians of all ages during the week July 4-10, with consecutive AFL games played at York Park.

The two July games would be a special occasion for Auskick with more than 400 participants from all around the State taking part in curtain-raiser games as well as AFL half- time displays.

The Auskick season will be the first opportunity for AFL Tasmania’s new development trainees to become involved in football programmes.

Nathan Grima (South Launceston and Tassie Devils), Leigh Harding (South Launceston and Tassie Mariner), Jarrod Garth (Clarence and Tassie Mariners), Ryan Keely (Ulverstone senior player and Tassie Mariner) and Zane Littlejohn (Latrobe and Tassie Mariners) were looking forward to the opportunity of providing Auskick to young Tasmanian boys and girls.

AFL Auskick begins with registration days at local centres during late March. Children can also register at any time during the 12-week season that starts on April 4.

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Sport briefs

Nikolic suspended
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for five meetings

[BB] SYDNEY – Victorian jockey Danny Nikolic will be back to ride Mummify in The BMW in a fortnight despite being suspended for five meetings at Rosehill yesterday. Nikolic fell foul of Sydney stewards after causing interference aboard Terracotta Bay in the Phar Lap Stakes, which was won by exciting filly Only Words.

The Caulfield Cup-winning hoop will begin his penalty immediately in order to be clear to resume riding on the lucrative Golden Slipper day, which boasts nine stakes races including the $2 million The BMW (2400m) in which he rides Mummify.

Crowd unaffected

by lack of coverage

SYDNEY – The lack of Sky Channel coverage of yesterday’s Rosehill meeting had little effect on crowd figures or turnover, racing officials said.

Bookmakers in the Sydney ring said it was business as usual while the Sydney Turf Club was thrilled with the official attendance of 15,549.

“Last year on this day we had 17,000 which was an exceptional year but the two years before that we had around 12,000,” STC chief executive Michael Kenny said.

“Our reports are that turnover both on and off course is about the same as usual.

“We will continue next week to try to resolve the issue but the day wasn’t disastrous as some predicted.”

Sky also cut off transmission of interstate races to the on- course monitors but Kenny said he hoped that would not happen at next week’s Darley Rosehill Guineas meeting.

Blinkers do the

trick for Brannigan

MELBOURNE – Blinkers did the trick for promising two- year-old Brannigan, who scored an easy win in yesterday’s Schweppervescence Plate (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

The Flying Spur gelding had raced greenly when runner-up at his only two other starts at Morphettville, including when second to Prancelot in the Testa Rossa stakes (1000m) last month.

Ridden by Darren Gauci, the John Hawkes-trained Brannigan was favourite and led throughout to score by 23/4 lengths from Carlton Ace with Activation three lengths away third.

“He’s a big horse and very athletic,” Gauci said yesterday.

“He’s very good on his feet and the blinkers on really helped him today.”

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Sport briefs

Ankle surgery for Lee
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[BB] KANDY, Sri Lanka – Australian fast- bowler Brett Lee will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair the injured ankle that forced him home from the cricket tour of Sri Lanka earlier this month. Lee, who injured his left ankle during a tour match before the first Test, underwent further evaluation by specialists and diagnostic scans in Sydney this week. The 27-year-old will have surgery for posterior impingement of his left ankle by surgeon Kim Slater at Castlecrag Private Hospital in Sydney. Lee will then undergo a lengthy rehabilitation process, and it is not yet known for how long he will be sidelined.

Cairns pounds South Africa

AUCKLAND – A Chris Cairns batting blitz put New Zealand firmly in command of the second cricket Test against South Africa yesterday, as the powerful all-rounder cracked a boundary-filled 158 runs. His magnificent innings, which included more than 100 runs in one session of play, led New Zealand to 8-584 at stumps, a lead of 288 runs with two days remaining. In a day of records, Cairns and Jacob Oram set an all- time record New Zealand seventh wicket partnership of 225, while Scott Styris with 170, set the highest Test score by a New Zealander against South Africa.

Harmison repeats heroics

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – England fast bowler Steve Harmison repeated his Jamaica heroics as West Indies slithered to 8-189 on a rain-affected opening day of the second Test yesterday. Humiliated by 10 wickets in the first Test, the Windies looked on course for a big total when they reached 100 without loss, but Harmison – who took 7-12 in the first Test – grabbed three wickets in eight balls as England took control. A useful, unbeaten 29 from wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs helped lift the home crowd but Harmison was the hero once again, his ability to glean extra bounce out of the wicket helping him grab 5-48 and cause the undoing of the Windies batsmen.

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Sport briefs

Cyclist Pantani `did
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not kill himself’

[BB] ROME – Italian cycling great Marco Pantani, found dead in a hotel room last month, died of cocaine poisoning that appears to have been accidental, it was reported yesterday. “There are no concrete elements that could support the hypothesis of a death ascribable to voluntary suicide,” a coroner was quoted as saying.

Pantani’s body was found on the floor of his room at a Rimini apartment-hotel where he had been staying for several days.

Hotel staff said bottles of drugs and tranquillisers had been found strewn around the room, and Italian news reports said cocaine had also been found.

An autopsy showed that Pantani had died of swelling in the brain and lungs caused by accumulation of fluid.

Leeds United taken

over by consortium

LONDON – Debt-laden Leeds United said yesterday that the Premier League club had been taken over by a consortium, Adulant Force Ltd.

Earlier, the Leeds United group said financial administrators had been appointed to two companies, but not the soccer club itself.

No financial details were available. The deal has been accepted by the group’s creditors.

A group of Yorkshire businessmen have been negotiating to take over the side, which is on the brink of being relegated.

Financial administration is a form of creditor protection.

Leeds has built up debts of more than $146.5 million.

British warily happy

with Olympic security

LONDON – The British Olympic Association yesterday expressed confidence in security measures for the Athens Games and said it had no intention of withdrawing its team.

The BOA sought to clarify its position after chief executive Simon Clegg had said Britain would consider pulling out of the Olympics in August if the safety of its athletes and officials could not be guaranteed.

Security concerns for the games have increased following last week’s terrorist bombings in Madrid.

“If the security situation demanded a change to the position of the BOA with the ultimate sanction of not sending the team to the Games, then obviously as a responsible organisation that is something that we would have to consider,” Mr Clegg said yesterday.

But he stressed that he did not expect that situation to occur and looked forward to taking a full team to Athens.

Greece is spending a record $1.07 billion on security for the Athens Olympics, more than three times the amount for the 2000 Sydney Games.

Last week Greece formally requested help from its NATO allies to safeguard the Games.

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Push starts for vaccine

Ms O’Byrne said the refusal was the first by the Federal Government to fund a vaccine on the recommended list.
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Speaking in Launceston yesterday to launch a petition for the vaccine’s funding, Ms O’Byrne said Tasmania had had 86 cases of pneumococcal meningitis last year.

The disease has a death rate of between 10 and 30 per cent, and affects more Australians than the meningococcal C disease, for which a fully funded vaccine is available.

Ms O’Byrne said that if parents wanted to vaccinate their children against pneumococcal it would cost between $180 and $200 for each injection. Each child requires three injections to be fully immunised.

“This decision means that many parents face the choice of whether they pay the $450 to $500 out of their own pockets to fully immunise their child, or, if they cannot afford this bill, take the risk that their child will contract pneumococcal disease,” Ms O’Byrne said.

There was also a delay of some months to get the vaccine, she said.

However, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett said the Federal Government was still looking at funding the vaccine, and it would be part of Budget considerations.

Senator Barnett said the vaccine was already available for at-risk groups of children, including Aboriginal children and those with Down’s syndrome and other medical conditions, and the Government would look at extending that to all children aged 12 months and under.

“Ideally the Government would have a vaccine for every disease that existed,” he said.

“Obviously it’s a funding issue and it will need to be considered in the Budget context.”

Senator Barnett said the Federal Government had increased funding for vaccinations elevenfold since 1996 and was now spending $140 million a year.

More than 90 per cent of Australian children one year old were now vaccinated against major diseases, compared to 53 per cent in 1990, he said.

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Public drunks only in Australia
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[BB] BRISBANE – Australia’s culture of drunken brawling has been condemned by a senior judge who says that sort of behaviour isn’t seen in much of Europe. Brisbane District Court Judge Tony Skoien was yesterday sentencing three young men, one of whom stabbed a teenager with a broken bottle while the others punched and kicked him.

Judge Skoien labelled the prevalence of such drunken attacks while on a night on the town as shameful, and said that they were not seen in Europe.

“In France, Italy and Spain … you just don’t see public drunkenness or violence in those countries,” Judge Skoien said.

Tax system `needs shake-up’ CANBERRA – Australia’s tax system was unfairly skewed to benefit high-income earners and needed a $3 billion a year shake-up, new research has found.

Accounting body CPA Australia called for the five tier tax system to be condensed into three income brackets.

The new model would scrap the $6000 tax-free threshold and the top tax rate of 47 per cent and means test welfare benefits to higher income earners, costing about $3 billion a year.

Abbott pans promiscuity

CANBERRA – Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott’s declaration that more effort should be put into preventing teenage promiscuity to reduce abortions was met yesterday with both approval and disgust.

Christian groups praised Mr Abbott for taking a moral stand on family issues and predicted his values would help the Coalition win the fractured Christian vote at this year’s federal election.

But women’s groups condemned the minister and demanded he immediately withdraw the comments.

Teen claims footballer rape SYDNEY – The mother of an 18-year-old Queensland woman claims her daughter was gang- raped by four rugby league footballers last month.

The allegations were aired last night on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair and are the latest in a string of sexual misconduct claims levelled at footballers.

The woman’s mother, known only as Margaret, claimed her daughter was raped by four Townsville footballers in Longreach following a sevens rugby league tournament.

Queensland police are investigating the claims.

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Forest industry rally

MARCHING TO A SINGLE BEAT: A portion of the estimated 10,000-strong crowd of pro-logging protesters crosses the Tamar St bridge yesterday. (1/2)About 10,000 people marched from York Park to City Park where State and federal, Liberal and Labor politicians joined union and industry leaders in a rare display of pro- forest unity.
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The march was backed by a $60 million fleet of more than 200 log trucks from around the State.

The lunchtime rally came just hours before Mr Latham arrived in Launceston at the start of a two-day tour of Tasmania’s southern Styx forests – today with pro-forestry groups and tomorrow with Greens leader Dr Bob Brown.

Speakers yesterday made no bones about what they wanted – a Federal Opposition Leader prepared to stick with the Regional Forest Agreement and not do any deal with the Greens in the hope of winning Green preferences in Melbourne and Sydney at this year’s election.

Only a handful of anti-forestry protesters watched the placard- carrying marchers parade along Invermay Rd and Tamar St to City Park.

An anti-forestry placard was snatched from the hands of one man on the Tamar St bridge but the march and rally were virtually incident- free.

National assistant secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy union Michael O’Connor told the rally the union would mount an Australia-wide campaign to defend the jobs of Tasmanian timber workers.

“While we currently enjoy the support of both Mr Howard and Mr Latham we are not going to sit on our hands while Bob Brown and his cronies attempt to make the destruction of Tasmanian jobs the price for Green preferences,” he said.

Mr O’Connor said the union would embellish thousands of members in key regional seats.

Forest Industries Association chief executive Terry Edwards said yesterday was the day Tasmania’s forest workers fought back.

“It sent a message to federal and State politicians that the industry and its workers have given away enough and will give no more,” he said.

Forest and Forest Industry Council chairman Allan Dagger said the huge turnout would give fresh heart to people in the industry – people who he claimed had been vilified and treated as second-class citizens for too long.

“March 16, 2004, will be seen as a significant day in the history of Tasmania’s forests.”

Australian Workers Union national secretary Bill Shorten told the rally that Tasmania must not go the way of Western Australia, which had almost destroyed its timber industry, putting thousands out of work and crippling communities.

“We can’t afford to let Tasmania become a Green museum,” he said.

Forests minister Bryan Green claimed that since the Greens had lost the balance of power in Tasmania the State’s shackles had come off and it had gone forward.

“I will be taking Mark Latham through the forests and will show him they are sustainable and capable of producing 300,000cum of timber annually forever,” he said.

Opposition Leader Rene Hidding said that since 1997, when the Federal and State Liberal governments signed the RFA, the two major parties had backed the agreement to protect forestry jobs for 20 years.

He warned Mr Latham not to play politics with 10,000 jobs but to support Tasmania’s push for downstream processing with the development of a pulp mill and paper mill.

Lyons Labor MHR Dick Adams told the rally that people were entitled to their views, but if they wanted to worship trees they should not try to force others out of their jobs so they could.

The rally’s resolution was to be presented to Mr Latham last night.

¤HAVE YOUR SAY: Write a letter to the editor at PO Box 99, Launceston 7250, or e-mail [email protected]南京夜网.au.

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Duke Energy sells State gas pipeline

Will Hodgman. (1/2)The new owner has also taken on Duke’s compensation burden and the sale has reignited debate over how the State Government has handled Tasmania’s gas roll- out and when compensation claims will be finalised.
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At the same time, domestic distribution pipelines are being laid in Launceston and Devonport as part of a quest to get gas into 38,500 Tasmanian households by April 2007.

About 500 landowners were affected by the construction of the Tasmanian Gas Pipeline and a third of the compensation claims lodged with Duke Energy are still outstanding.

The State Opposition has written to Alinta seeking its word that compensation be paid in a timely manner.

The sale was yesterday called a “second chance” for Tasmania’s natural gas project but the Opposition fears that Duke’s “frustration” with how the project was handled will deter other companies from investing in this State.

In January, Duke claimed that the Tasmanian pipeline was one of its worst-performing assets, and the Greens yesterday said this was a direct slur on how Premier-to-be Paul Lennon handled the process.

Liberal leader Will Hodgman said: “While Duke may never say so publicly, it must have been extremely frustrated by Labor’s bureaucratic interference, incompetence and unprofessionalism at almost every turn.

“Mr Lennon, as the minister responsible at the time, must shoulder much of the blame for the stuff-ups and delays that have plagued this project and ultimately for the small number of customers who have so far taken up gas.”

Greens energy spokesman Nick McKim said he wanted to know what the sale would mean to Tasmanian taxpayers. “Taxpayers substantially underwrote Duke’s investment through secret contracts,” he said.

“The Government must now clarify the implications of the sale on those contracts and the extent of the potential taxpayer liability caused by the delays in rolling out the gas distribution network in Tasmania.”

The sale, which includes several other Australian pipelines and power generating plants in Australia and New Zealand, is expected to be completed in late April, though Duke said it could be as late as July.

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Blacker’s Tassie stable to become Nuclear Free

TALK THE TALK: Jockey Jodi Borrett discusses tactics with Longford trainer John Blacker during the 2000 racing season.Gehenna, Half Decent and Sandasta are likely to join them later in the month as Blacker works towards filling his 20-box Geelong complex.
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Undertake and Zeva Royale are already there.

Nuclear Free, who has won two from two, will be targeted at a midweek fillies’ race.

“This filly can break 60 seconds for 1000m and I believe she’s good enough to win in the city,” Blacker said.

“There aren’t many fillies’ races left in Tasmania this season and if she stayed here she would have to race against older, more experienced horses.

“Victoria has a good spread of fillies’ races and is the better option.”

Nuclear Free was eased down in the closing stages of Sunday’s Class 1 Handicap at Elwick, yet still scored a comfortable two- length win over an above- average field.

¤¤¤ Victorian filly Speedy Cat, the unplaced favourite in last week’s $100,000 Gold Sovereign Stakes at Mowbray, was injured during the race.

Part-owner Joe O’Neill said yesterday that the two-year-old sustained a “quite severe” cut on her nearside foreleg and would be spelled for four months.

Jockey Dale Smith told connections that he suspected Speedy Cat hurt herself in the first 200m as “she wasn’t the same horse that won at Colac.”

Smith said that the filly, who is part-owned in Tasmania, was unable to accelerate as usual, otherwise he would have crossed to the lead rather than sitting wide.

O’Neill said that he wasn’t sure whether it was the injury, the boat trip to Tasmania or the 10-day back-up that caused Speedy Cat to race below her best.

“But, we haven’t changed our opinion that she is a good filly,” he said.

¤¤¤ Southern Tasmania is being unfairly treated in the allocation of race meetings, according to Light Harness Tasmania president Phillip Young.

Mr Young said yesterday that there would be 84 meetings in Tasmania this year, with 50 in the North and only 34 in the South.

“Yet it’s the Southern blokes who are holding it (the industry) up,” he said. “There are more horses in the South than the North and we’re looking for a better ratio of meetings.”

As reported at the weekend, the South sees only one way of rectifying the situation and that’s to change the structure of Harness Racing Tasmania’s board at the election starting next week.

The board currently comprises three members from the North or North- West and only two from the South.

Southern participants who are eligible to vote have been urged to support a four-man Southern ticket.

If the campaign is successful, it’s the Carrick and Burnie clubs which would seem in danger of losing out. It would be ludicrous to take meetings from Mowbray and the Devonport calendar has already been decimated in recent years.

The ball is really in the participants’ court. They will decide who sits on the board and, subject to Tote Tasmania approval, the board will decide where it wants its race meetings held.

But, it will want to decide wisely – for its own sake.

¤¤¤ Tasmania’s best mare Dragila is heading to stud later this year and may have run her last race.

Connections are still deciding on a suitable stallion, with the high- priced Flying Spur and Redoute’s Choice high on their list of possibilities.

Dragila just failed to cap an amazing season when narrowly beaten in last week’s $60,000 Queen Of The Turf at Mowbray.

She had won her previous three starts in the $40,000 Newmarket Handicap, $40,000 Tattersalls Stakes and $80,000 Bow Mistress Stakes.

By boom sire Encosta de Lago out of a Centaine mare and with career earnings of $212,000, Dragila has enormous broodmare potential.

¤¤¤ Jodi Borrett will represent Tasmania at the National Jockeys’ Celebration Day launch in Canberra today.

The Australian Racing Board and Australian Jockeys Association have joined forces to establish a special day on the national racing calendar to celebrate the achievements of all jockeys.

This year it will be on March 13 when, at 27 race meetings across Australia, there will be ceremonies to mark the contributions of current and former jockeys and commemorate jockeys who have died in riding accidents.

The occasion will also be used to raise funds for the National Jockey Trust.

Other jockeys at today’s launch will include Damien Oliver, Corey Brown, Glen Colless and Clare Lindop.

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State is `on track’ for Olympics

RELIEVED: Launceston rower Brendan Long, who has been selected for the double sculls. Picture: SIMON GROVESJust two days after the news that Launceston rower Brendan Long had been selected in the double scull, Ms Jack said Tasmania’s Olympic preparations were on track.
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“We should have around 10 which I think is a good number for Tasmania when you consider our population,” Ms Jack said.

Long, 24, a rower with Tamar, will move to Canberra this month to start training two days a week with his new partner Peter Hardcastle, from NSW.

He joins veteran Simon Burgess as the only other confirmed rowing representative for the State.

Long said he would compete at lead- up World Cup events before the Olympics and said he was expecting to come home with a medal.

“I really think we have a chance of winning a (Olympic) medal,” Long said.

“I am really relieved and just pleased I finally got in.

“I still really can’t believe it – it is something I have wanted to do for most of my life.”

Ms Jack said Matthew Wells, from Hobart, had been selected in the Australian hockey squad of 24, which will be culled to 18, and said he was a good chance of playing.

“When he has played for Australia in the past (Sydney Olympics and Manchester Commonwealth Games) he has been either vice captain or captain so he has a very strong chance,” she said.

“But (Hobart’s) Zane Wright missed out and is extremely disappointed.

“That is the side of it that a lot of people forget – there is a lot of elation and pure relief but for some there is disappointment after training for it for four years or longer.”

Mountain bike champion Sid Taberlay and former world junior champion Mark Jamieson are in with solid chances as are Launceston’s Hollie Grima (basketball) and Daniel Geale (boxing).

State rowers Dana Faletic, Kerry Hore, Scott Brennan and Robert Mitchell are also still in with a chance.

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