Shock as top javelin thrower dies at 33

2018-02-09 07:41
Jarrod Bannister (Getty Images)

Sydney - Australia's champion javelin thrower Jarrod Bannister has died suddenly in the Netherlands, Athletics Australia said on Friday.

He was 33.

Bannister, won gold at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and was the national javelin record holder, had been training and living in Europe with his girlfriend.

Reports said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

Bannister made the final of the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, and the Beijing Olympics.

The news shattered the Australian track and field community, in which the charismatic Bannister was a popular team member.

"RIP Jarrod Bannister. A talented athlete with so much more to give. You will be missed," Australia's dual world and Olympic hurdles champion Sally Pearson said on social media.

Olympic sprinter Melissa Breen posted on Twitter: "You were the best javelin thrower Australia has ever produced, but may this be a reminder that we are all more than results on a page."

Breen later posted a telephone number for a suicide prevention hotline in Australia.

Bannister's last major competition came at the 2011 world championships in South Korea where he placed seventh in the javelin final.

Bannister's mark of 89.02m is the current Australian record in javelin, set in Brisbane in 2008.

"On behalf of Athletics Australia, I extend our deepest condolences to Jarrod's family and friends and urge the athletics fraternity to support each other at this difficult time," said chief executive Darren Gocher.

Bannister in 2013 was controversially banned for 20 months for missing drug tests.

The national record holder missed three tests within 18 months, which is treated the same as a positive test.

Bannister blamed poor communication and procedures by Athletics Australia as a factor behind the circumstances that saw him breach the ASADA Athlete Whereabouts programme, which requires the drug agencies to be informed of the movements of athletes at all times.

In recent months Bannister had returned to serious training with a view to reigniting his career.

Read more on:    athletics

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