Batman dies in car crash

2012-06-26 14:42

Sydney - Former Australian runner Daniel Batman, who competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and was considered one of the country's best all-time sprinters, was killed on Tuesday in a single-car accident in the Northern Territory.

Police said on Wednesday that a car driven by the 31-year-old Batman left the Arnhem Highway near a bridge. Wreckage of his car, strewn over 100 meters along the highway, was discovered several hours later by a passing motorist.

Batman was once married to fellow Olympic sprinter and Australia field hockey player Nova Peris. They had two children. He was reported to have been visiting his children shortly before the accident.

Batman, who separated from Peris in 2010 and divorced in 2011, competed over 100, 200 and 400 metres.

Former Australian sprinter Matt Shirvington said on Twitter: "100m - 10.19s, 200m - 20.44s, 400m - 45.02s. Daniel Batman was the best all-round sprinter Australia has ever seen. Rest in peace, mate."

"It's a massive loss for the athletics fraternity," Shirvington told a Melbourne radio station later on Wednesday. "He was an amazing athlete. We've had faster sprinters but if you look at it across the board he would be the best."

A former Australian schoolboy rugby representative, Batman temporarily quit athletics to try a career with Super Rugby's Brumbies but didn't advance from their training squad.

Batman had a new partner, Natalie Sainsbury, and they had a child together last year.

Former coach Tudor Bidder remembered Batman as "very much a family man" who put his kids first.

"Thirty-one, it's not an age to be losing your life," Bidder said. "But he had quite a lot of life inside those few years."