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Steve & Cal Partington pictured at Salford Quays less than half an hour before the start of Cal's big event. (ML)

 

Throughout the development of Manx athletics during the past forty years, race walking has featured as one of the events in which our athletes have excelled.

During this time no Manxman has ever walked faster than Steve Partington at 20km. No woman has ever walked faster than Cal Partington.

Sunday 28 July, at the Manchester Commonwealth Games,  will not be remembered as the highlight of their careers.  Steve was disqualified and Cal retired.

 I'm sure neither athlete will seek to blame anyone else for their performances but we all know we did not see the best of either athlete. Quite apart from the traumas of the past four years, Cal was ill in the weeks and months leading up to the games.  She had no wish to publicise her anaemic condition and would have been quite happy to withdraw but was persuaded that she may regret such an opportunity to compete in Manchester.  Three judges thought Steve was in breach of the rules but none of the dozens of walkers in the 16,000 I spoke to agreed.

In four years time I hope we will see the real Steve and Cal Partington, Martin Aram nearing the peak of his career and opportunities for other athletes who came close to making their mark this time joining some of the young talent only just being exposed.

The 2006 games planning starts now. We don't even have four years - they will be held in March 2006. We'll never all agree on what the standards should be but I hope that everyone in athletics will rally around and work together to ensure the best ever performances.

 

Bridget and Peter Kaneen partying in Manchester on Saturday. Instead of heading for Liverpool, they set of for Blackpool. Rumour had it that Bridget was hoping to open a face painting franchise on Blackpool promenade - in fact they merely got on the wrong train at Manchester Piccadilly. Thanks to various train staff they eventually arrived back on the Isle of Man about 5 hours late via Heysham.

 

Straight leg and loads of contact! Steve Partington is pictured by Bridget Kaneen (top) during the high point in the Commonwealth Games 20km walk. He has just passed eventual 4th placer, England's Andy Penn, before Steve slowed, Andy speeded up, Steve threw up, Steve was dq'd and Andy had a career highlight. Bottom pictured by the webmaster shows Steve gritting his teeth during what is likely to be Manchester's hottest day of the year.

Hugh Jones certainly measures up for the job. 1982 London Marathon winner is not only the official course measurer in London but also at the Commonwealth Games. He had vivid memories of the 1979 Easter Festival which he won. See inset and Chris Quine's research.

  

Fellow competitor, Steve Partington, captured Martin Aram's big day on camera. On the bench with Martin are his high-jump colleagues Ben Challenger, Boateng & Boswell (Canada) and the Nick Maroney (Aus). As Steve put it: "Top company indeed!".

Meanwhile I've only scratched the surface of my collection. At Salford Quays to support Steve and Cal Partington were Michael Kneale, Elizabeth Corran, Karen Kneale, baby Alexander, Sue & Tony Forryan and Ruth Sadler.

Two of my pictures of the early stages of the women's 20km walk in the Commonwealth Games.

 

Martin Aram lining with for the high jump final. He was pictured making Manx Commonwealth Games history by Steve Partington who also took the picture below of the full house at the stadium.

 

Amongst all the joy Bridget Kaneen found double Comonwealth Games walking champio less than ecstatic after his 20km win.

 

Gate crasher! Left to right 1978 Commonwealth Games 30km walking champion Olly Flynn, 1974 Commowealth Games 20 miles walking champion John Warhurst with Murray Lambden who rarely got this close in a race. Cameraman on this occasion was 5 times Olympic walker Chris Maddocks.

 

Part of the largest ever crowd to assemble for a race walking event in Britain at the Commonwealth Games 20km walk - any this was nearly an hour after the race finished as they waited for the medal presentation.

Island Games thrower Louise Kneen pictured in Manchester's Arndale Centre during the Commonwealth Games. She was staying for a week at Sale with the Western AC party. Next Wednesday she celebrates her 28th birthday (if you believe anything you read in chit chat!) I won't win any prizes for taking diplomacy - fancy taking a picture of an athlete outside of Superdrug!

The Kenyan 10,000 metres team at the Commonwealth Games by Steve Partington. They finished first, second and fourth but Steve thought they would miss the start. He explained: "The photo o was taken as they(and us) waited for the bus to take them to the stadium. (They were very relaxed!). We thought that the 10km started at 7.35pm and couldn't quite believe that they were only getting the bus that arrived at the stadium at 7.15pm... It turned out that the start had been moved to 8.35pm, but I was getting concerned that they'd miss it during the bus-ride."

 

 STEVE TAYLOR'S COMMONWEALTH GAMES QUIZ

  1. How many different countries participated in this years games?
  2. What is the capacity of the City of Manchester stadium?
  3. Who has represented the Isle of Man the most times as a competitor at the CWG?
  4. How many Commonwealth / Empire games have there now been?
  5. How many medals were up for grabs at this years games? Team events = one medal. Only one bronze per event even though it is shared in some events.
  6. Who won the first Gold medal of the 2002 games?
  7. How many times have the games now been held in the UK? Name the city and the year?
  8. How many different sports were represented at this years games?
  9. How many medals have the Isle of Man won at all CWG?
  10. Name the medal winners, sport and year?
  11. Who has represented the Isle of Man the most times in any capacity at the CWG and how many times?
  12. Who was the first Manx competitor to ever take part in the CWG?
  13. What was the name of the person who handed the Jubilee Baton to the Queen at the beginning of this years games?
  14. Who was the first Manx competitor to compete at this years games?
  15. What is the highest position ever achieved by an athlete in the CWG? Who was it? When was it and in what event?
  16. Name the woman who has represented the IOM on the most occasions in any capacity and how many times?
  17. How many different venues were there for this years games?
  18. Alphabetically, what are the first and last nations competing at this years games?
  19. In which event did Ian Thorpe win a silver medal at this years games.
  20. Who won the Dave Dixon award at this years games

 THE PETER KANEEN MYSTERY

 

What is Peter Kaneen covering up in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens after earlier being told to put in away on threat of arrest? Its much smaller than when he had it out earlier.

Email answers to either challenge to [email protected] and I'll tell you what the prizes are when I get back from my hols. Maybe Peter will donate the prize money from his big 100 metres win this week!

 

Believe it or not, but I had to introduce these two great British walkers, five times Olympic walker Chris Maddocks and John Warhurst at the Commonwealth Games.  John (right) looks little different in this picture but the 1974 Commonwealth Games champion now walks with the aid of a walking stick.  He was one of my heroes when I started walking and  I was thrilled to receive my finishing certificate from him at the English Schools walks at Sheffield in 1976.  His top level walking came to an end in the early 80s just as Chris was hitting the headlines. Although John thinks he may have spoken to Chris many years ago (and Chris is sure he did), he was not confident enough to introduce himself and I persuaded him to talk to Chris through my introduction.  Needless to say their conversations over the weekend were not short ones given the weight of experience.  I'm going to feature Chris plenty more times yet but for this caption I'll stick with John. He is not currently involved in athletics at all.  He offered to help Sheffield AC and he was told he would make a useful marshal.  Somehow I think his experience is undervalued.

John Watterson, who headed up Isle of Man Newspaper's excellent Commonwealth Games coverage, pictured lapping up the sun at Salford Quays. (ML)

The crowd at the Commonwealth Games 50km was much smaller than at the weekend's 20km - but you wouldn't think so to see them gathered for the presentation.

  

Colin Halsall is certainly hard working but he is caught chilling out a little in Steve Partington's picture at the Commonwealth Games.

 

Western AC's Alan & Stephanie Gault enjoyed a few days at the Commonwealth Games as Alan's birthday present. They are pictured by Murray Lambden on their return journey.

This picture was taken by a New Zealand TV cameraman after I had congratulated 50km silver medalist Craig Barratt. He had just completed an extensive TV interview following up the live coverage of the race - contrast with the BBC! There is a Manx link to with Craig. Although coached by New Zealander Graham Seatter, Manxman Andy Garrett undertook a fair amount of sports science work with him during a previous visit down under. I've just realised that the T-Shirt I chose to wear at a 50km walk was nearly as inappropriate as taking a picture of Louise Kneen in front of a Superdrug logo!

 

And just when you thought the photographs could not be  any more frightening we have this one. Who would have thought that these three were once athletic! Only joking - Graham Young, on the right of the picture, represented the Isle of Man with great distinction three times in the Commonwealth Games. He is pictured with Leicester Walking Club's Ronnie Atton and the Lancashire walking club stalwart, Fred Pearce.

 

Commonwealth games athletes, Steve & Cal Partington, pictured with coach, and team manager, Allan Callow about 30 minutes before the start of their events

 

COMMONWEALTH GAMES FEATURE

Keiron Murray gives his view on selection

Murray Lambden's 1994 Team Manager's Report

and Steve Taylor (written in April but not previously published)

and something lighter from Mike Lambden

 

Voting now closed - see forum for Chris's comments.

 

Where have all the Commonwealth Games walkers gone?

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