Melanesia (Western Pacific /Southern Hemisphere) Na World Nius # 4

1) PNG pushed to solve domestic violence crisis

Updated 17 November 2012, 10:39 AEST

By PNG correspondent Liam Fox

Humanitarian medical organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says violence against women in Papua New Guinea represents a “humanitarian crisis”.

A victim of domestic violence shows her head wound, patched up with tape, in a women's shelter in Port Moresby.

A victim of domestic violence shows her head wound, patched up with tape, in a women’s shelter in Port Moresby. (Credit: Reuters)

Humanitarian medical organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says violence against women in Papua New Guinea represents a “humanitarian crisis”.

One often-quoted statistic about the problem of domestic and sexual violence in PNG is that two-thirds of married women have been hit by their husbands.

MSF provides treatment to hundreds of victims of domestic and sexual violence at two support centres.

This week the organisation’s president Dr Unni Karunakara visited the centres, in Lae on the north coast and in Tari in the southern highlands, to try and convince the government to devote more of its resources to the problem.

“If you look at the number of women who come to us reporting rape, for example, that is about 60 a month in both Lae and Tari together,” he said.

“There are other (kinds of) intimate partner violence, etc, so the numbers are much higher than that.”

Dr Karunakara says the level of violence faced by women in PNG is shocking for a country that’s not in a state of war or civil unrest.

But he says it is hard to know just how big the problem is.

“If I have a road accident and if I was raped it’s all lumped together,” he said.

“So there is no disaggregation of data, or data is not reported in a specific enough way to know the exact magnitude of the problem across the country.”

‘Listening ear’

MSF’s family support centres are a one-stop shop for the victims of violence. Women who have been bashed are offered free medical care.

Rape victims are given treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and emergency contraception to prevent pregnancies.

But Dr Karunakara says one of the most important services they provide is counselling.

“What we find is that women are not being heard,” he said.

“They find it very hard to find services sometimes, support they can get, from a police station or from the legal system.

“So very often the first port of call for them is the family support centre where they find a listening ear.”

The PNG government has set up its own family support centres in five of the country’s 22 provinces, but the range and quality of services they provide varies.

Last year an MSF investigation found some centres did not meet minimum standards of care and staff were not medically qualified or properly trained.

“We don’t even have counselling courses offered by recognised institutions in the country,” Dr Karunakara said.

“I think in the whole country we just have two who are qualified and who are trained in Melbourne. The others are one with trainings that we give to others to do.”

Replicated

Ume Wainetti, director of the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee, says as well the general lack of services and trained personnel, there is a drastic shortage of accommodation.

“When a woman is raped, there’s nowhere really to keep the woman to make sure she completes her treatment because to avoid HIV one needs to take treatment I think for a month,” she said.

“And most times when the women go, they don’t come back.”

While he is in PNG, Dr Karunakara has been meeting with government representatives to explain how MSF’s approach can be replicated around the country.

“While long-term measures are being put in place to address the high levels of violence in the country, immediate life-saving activities that women can benefit from, not just women but in some cases, men, and in some cases, children, can benefit from should not be forgotten,” he said.

PNG’s health minister Michael Malabag was unavailable for comment.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2012-11-16/png-pushed-to-solve-domestic-violence-crisis/1047720

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2)Nupla Ni-Vanuatu MP i sapotim ileksan blong en

Updated 16 November 2012, 17:52 AEST

Caroline Tiriman-Radio Australia

Wanpla nupla palaman memba blong Vanuatu, itok emi gat right long sanap long ileksan na sanap makim ol pipal blong en.

This is an image of the Vanuatu Flag

Foto blong Vanuatu Flag (Credit: ABC)

Robert Bohm em mama ibin karim em long America, tasol nau emi kamap pinis olsem wanpla citizen blong Vanuatu.

Mr Bohm ibin winim ileksan long makim Epi constituency, na long wik bihaen bai oli makim em olsem palaman memba tru tru.

Tasol  General Secretary blong kastom muvman oa Nagriamel movement, Jeff Patunvanu itok emi no wanbel wantem win  blong Mr Bohm. Mr Patunvanu itok tu olsem em bai mekim ol palaman memba blong muvman blong en long senisim mama loa blong kantri long stopim ol pipal olsem Mr Bohm long resis long ileksan.

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3)From Vanuatu to Bundaberg

VISITING YACHTIES: Jim and Katie Thomsen are enjoying their visit to Bundaberg as part of the Port2Port Rally. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail

VISITING YACHTIES: Jim and Katie Thomsen are enjoying their visit to Bundaberg as part of the Port2Port Rally. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMailMike Knott

FROM Vanuatu to Bundaberg, the Port2Port Yacht Rally offers a lifestyle many of us can only dream of.

Jim and Katie Thomsen from California said they had been having a fantastic time on their epic five-year journey.

“We set off from Holland in 2007 and haven’t looked back,” Mr Thomsen said.

“We’ve been to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Galapagos Islands.”

The couple have come to embrace Bundaberg and its surroundings since arriving more than a week ago.

“The weather is beautiful and the people have been very nice,” Mrs Thomsen said.

Bundaberg Port Marina manager Geoff Beyer said the rally – in its 13th year – continued to have a positive economic influence on the community.

“There is no doubt it provides a great boost to tourism,” Mr Beyer said.

Mr Beyer said people came from all over the world to be a part of this unique event.

“It is a five – six day journey from Vanuatu to Bundaberg,” Mr Beyer said.

Bundaberg Cruising Yacht Club president Lesley Grimminck said in an internal in-depth costing her company carried out, it was estimated around $3.6 million was spent by visitors in 2011.

“That is a significant contribution to the Bundaberg community,” Mrs Grimminck said.

She said her club had placed a lot of effort into encouraging these visitors to make Bundaberg their first port of call in Australia

“Because the first port of call in Australia is generally where they will spend most of their time which is financially beneficial to Bundaberg,” she said.

“They will get their yacht serviced here, spend money on food and even buy the local newspaper.”

Mrs Grimminck said there had been an increase in participants in the past two years.

“Last year we had 82 yachts and this year we had 71 with an average of 150 people onboard” she said.

Mrs Grimminck said the upsurge of yachts in the past two years can be directly related to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service entry fee.

“The Australian government charges them $330 for entry into Australia,” she said.

“We decided to refund them this amount to act as an incentive to stop here ’cause no other port in Australia does that.”

Mrs Grimminck said New Zealand had no entry fee charges and warned if we did not do more we could lose this vital tourism boost.

“New Zealand has less red tape so we must do all we can to keep these yachts stopping here,” she said.

An End of Passage dinner will be held on Sunday to celebrate the rally.

http://www.news-mail.com.au/news/vanuatu-bundaberg/1625492/

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VALLÉE-DU-TIR. RESTRUCTURATION RÉUSSIE À LA SOCIÉTÉ SAINT-VINCENT-DE-PAUL

4) Du social au solidaire

Publié le vendredi 16 novembre 2012 à 03H00

La Société Saint-Vincent-de-Paul tire le bilan d’une année de refonte. L’épicerie est passée du social au solidaire, la vestiboutique s’est ouverte au grand public et les plus démunis sont mieux accompagnés. Un bilan plus que positif.

L’épicerie solidaire de la Société Saint-Vincent-De-Paul accueille près de 1 000 personnes par an, uniquement pour l’alimentaire.

L’épicerie solidaire de la Société Saint-Vincent-De-Paul accueille près de 1 000 personnes par an, uniquement pour l’alimentaire.

Photo Thierry Perron

 Ne plus laisser personne sur le bord du chemin, tel était l’objectif principal de la nouvelle direction de la Société Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVDP) pour 2012. « C’est un pari réussi, affirme Marie France Michel, la présidente de l’association. Avec notre restructuration, nous sommes arrivés à sortir nos comptes du rouge pour aider encore plus les personnes qui sont dans le vrai besoin. »

La restructuration de l’association de la Vallée-du-Tir a surtout porté sur le fonctionnement de son épicerie sociale, qui est devenue une épicerie solidaire. Depuis mai dernier, l’épicerie est ouverte uniquement aux personnes titulaires d’une carte médicale et non plus à tous les publics comme auparavant. « Cela nous a permis de ne plus faire tout et n’importe quoi, de ne plus être que des distributeurs. Nous aidons vraiment les véritables nécessiteux », précise la présidente.
Cartes. Pour ceux qui ne détiennent pas de carte mais qui sont également dans le besoin comme les SDF ou les personnes qui arrivent des îles et qui sont dans l’attente de leur carte médicale, la SSVDP a mis en place, deux fois par semaine, des permanences pour les recevoir et leur attribuer des cartes alimentaires Saint- Vincent-de-Paul.

« Nous recevons 85 familles par mois dans ce cadre soit, 700 adultes et 735 enfants. Nous leur attribuons directement des bons alimentaires après analyse de leur situation », explique Florie Mercier, la responsable de l’épicerie solidaire. Des permanences qui permettent à l’association de déceler des personnes qui veulent s’en sortir et de les accompagner dans leurs démarches de réinsertion.

Finances. Pour trouver l’argent nécessaire à alimenter son épicerie, l’association dispose de dons et de subventions, mais l’essentiel des rentrées financières proviennent de la vestiboutique.

« Elle fait partie de cette restructuration puisque nous l’avons ouverte à tout public et du coup, nous avons beaucoup plus de rentrées financières. Cet argent nous sert directement pour fournir notre épicerie solidaire et offrir des prix plus bas sur des produits de première nécessité » ajoute Florie Mercier.

« Aujourd’hui notre projet est d’avoir des produits frais, indique Marie-France Michel. Nous en appelons aux maraîchers ou aux personnes qui cultivent dans leur jardin et qui ont des excédents de fruits et de légumes. Nous pouvons leur racheter leurs pertes à petit prix. »

La société Saint-Vincent-de-Paul profite également de l’approche des fêtes de Noël pour solliciter la générosité des Calédoniens : elle espère récupérer environ 150 jouets pour des enfants dont l’âge est compris entre 0 et 12 ans. Les jouets seront emballés et remis avec les colis de Noël entre le 17 et le 21 décembre.http://www.lnc.nc/article/noumea/du-social-au-solidaire- C.Schoenholtzer
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5)Retour au centre culturel – NEW CALEDONIAN NEWS:

Publié le samedi 17 novembre 2012 à 03H00

Malgré un discours prudent tant que le vote du budget n’aura pas eu lieu, l’exécutif communal a partagé hier soir ses pistes d’action pour l’année 2013. Dans le public, on venait surtout pour le plan d’urbanisme directeur.

Le chantier du centre culturel était un des principaux points évoqués lors des débats présidés par Georges Naturel. Pendant ce temps, sur le parking de la mairie,  des habitants du Val-Suzon exprimaient leur désaccord sur le plan d’urbanisme directeur.

Le chantier du centre culturel était un des principaux points évoqués lors des débats présidés par Georges Naturel. Pendant ce temps, sur le parking de la mairie, des habitants du Val-Suzon exprimaient leur désaccord sur le plan d’urbanisme directeur.

Photos FT

n La balle au centre

Le chantier feuilleton du centre culturel, en travaux depuis mai 2011, touche à sa fin. C’est un équipement rénové qui doit fonctionner l’an prochain. D’abord la maison dédiée aux arts plastiques, bientôt livrée, puis la salle de spectacle au cours du deuxième semestre. Il est d’ailleurs envisagé de recruter un animateur régisseur. D’ici là, le service culture et fêtes aura retrouvé des locaux sur place : depuis l’incendie criminel du 2 septembre, il est basé au centre aquatique. En matière de culture, il est aussi question d’aménager un espace ouvert au public dans la mezzanine de la médiathèque.

n Vous avez dit sécurité ?

Pas de mystère depuis l’annonce fracassante de la province Sud, fin octobre : avec les moyens supplémentaires qui leur sont alloués (50 millions et douze agents PPIC), les communes du Grand Nouméa mettent l’accent sur la sécurité.

Dumbéa ne précise pas comment elle compte les répartir. Les renforts humains, rémunérés par la province à un salaire net d’environ 107 000 F, serviront comme auxiliaires de proximité sous les ordres de la police à partir de février. Hier, un texte autorisait le maire à signer la convention encadrant ce dispositif. Une douzaine de caméras devraient par ailleurs lancer la vidéosurveillance, ou vidéoprotection, sur la voie publique.

n Les écoles d’après

L’ouverture du groupe scolaire Renée-Fong laissera son empreinte dans les caisses dumbéennes. Financée par l’aménageur de Dumbéa-sur-Mer, l’école numérique située à l’orée de Panda sera livrée à la ville et ouverte à la rentrée 2013. Ce qui implique le recrutement de deux agents d’entretien et d’une aide-maternelle.

Il est également question de lancer les études pour enfin doter le centre urbain d’une école primaire, quand le foncier du FSH (Fonds social de l’habitat) aura été libéré dans le quartier des Palmiers. Cela faisait partie des projets inscrits dans le dernier contrat d’agglomération, pour un montant d’environ 300 millions CFP répartis entre la province, l’Etat et la commune. Autres opérations de ce type qui doivent suivre leur cours en 2013 : l’aménagement du pôle sportif à Auteuil ou la rénovation des plateaux sportifs attenants au lycée.

n Routes du Nord

En 2013, la priorité en matière de travaux routiers devrait consister à refaire la route Socafim (l’axe cabossé qui relie l’entrée des Koghis au col de Tonghoué), la route de Nondoué depuis le radier et si possible jusqu’à l’embranchement des Charbonniers, ainsi qu’une partie de la route de Koé.

n Des budgets annexes

Grande nouveauté : le prochain budget de Dumbéa, voté le 20 décembre, n’inclura pas la collecte des ordures ménagères, l’alimentation en eau potable et l’assainissement.

Ces « services publics à caractère industriel et commercial » feront chacun l’objet d’un budget à part. La municipalité s’inscrit ainsi dans une nomenclature comptable applicable au 1er janvier 2012 (ce qu’a respecté Païta, par exemple), avec tout de même un délai de quatre ans admis par la jurisprudence administrative pour équilibrer ces budgets.

Le projet de PUD déplaîtmais passe le conseil

Parmi les délibérations votées hier soir, une en particulier a attiré du monde. Le conseil municipal a passé l’une des dernières étapes avant que la ville n’obtienne un nouveau plan d’urbanisme directeur : il a adopté son projet de PUD.

Seule l’élue sans étiquette Muriel Malfar s’est exprimée contre. Le conseiller de la majorité Christian Martin, qui pilote aussi le comité de quartier pour la partie la plus au nord, a pour sa part salué la prise en compte des avis exprimés par les Dumbéens durant l’enquête publique. Mais dans l’assistance, son intervention et le document en lui-même ont provoqué l’incompréhension et la colère parmi une quinzaine d’habitants. Réunis en Association du Val-Suzon, ils contestent le zonage qui est prévu pour leurs propriétés et tenaient à se montrer.

Nous reviendrons sur ce projet de PUD dans une prochaine édition.

Françoise Tromeur

http://www.lnc.nc/article/dumbea/retour-au-centre-culturel

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6) Banker cautions a steady step is needed

November 17, 2012
Eric Johnston

Eric Johnston

Rob Whitfield of Westpac, fresh from the Kokoda Track, warns businesses some economic mire still lies ahead.

IN SEPTEMBER banking journeyman Rob Whitfield and more than a dozen of his Westpac staff and customers started out on a 96-kilometre trek that ranks as one of the toughest in the world.

Through the highlands of Papua New Guinea, the Kokoda Track, often described by climbers as a muddy, hilly hell.

One of the top executives working alongside Gail Kelly in steering the nation’s second-biggest bank, Whitfield oversees Westpac’s vast institutional banking business, which lends to big business and steers through complicated trade deals.

In its own right Whitfield’s business would be the equivalent of a top-10 Australian company. Last financial year it managed nearly $100 billion of assets and generated a profit of $1.47 billion.

“I don’t know if intimidated is the right word,” Whitfield said about taking on the track. ”But I was certainly nervous about the stories about people who have found it an incredibly difficult physical and mental challenge.”

In the months before the trek, to help train for it, Whitfield would sometimes strap on a backpack and climb the 30-odd flights of stairs at the bank’s Kent Street, Sydney, headquarters.

The track itself was a ”tough, physical walk”. However, he was to find his concerns were to be centred on his staff and others.

Among the clients who joined his team were the McDonald’s Australia chief executive, Catriona Noble, and the iiNet boss, Michael Malone. The Greenhill Caliburn banker Jamie Garis and the Allens chairman, Ewen Crouch, also took part. The motivation was a charity walk, which ended up raising $380,000 for Mission Australia and Save the Children’s PNG program.

Kokoda offered deep contrasts.

”The terrain is a pristine, beautiful PNG jungle, but it’s just so difficult,” Whitfield says.

The group had to deal with tropical downpours and sickly humidity, all the while negotiating steep climbs and mud.

”We were spread out along the length of the trail,” he says. ”I’d walk up and down with different people and I was so worried about them … I got to the end and I had this huge sense of relief that we all made it safely. It is very rare to get all 16 people to be able to complete.”

He says he learnt much about leadership. ”There was no step that I took that I found difficult or thought, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ I think that’s because I felt the responsibility of leadership and I was so worried about everyone else being OK … It was a good reminder about the power of thinking about others rather than yourself”.

With nearly three decades at Westpac, including a stint as its chief risk officer, Whitfield is widely known in banking circles and and broader Australian markets for his financial insights. His counsel is often sought by corporate heavyweights, including chairmen.

Given he has one of the best lines into corporate Australia, Whitfield’s take on the economic landscape has some serious grounding.

Any given week he speaks to dozens of directors and the chief executives of the nation’s biggest companies. They range from miners to retailers, manufacturers to even other bankers, both in Australia and from further afield.

It’s Whitfield’s job to know the financial health of his corporate customer base and anticipate any shocks they might present.

While Europe and the US still have serious structural economic challenges to tackle, by comparison Australia is in for a brighter outlook. That said, Whitfield cautions the Australian economy will experience slow growth for some years yet.

”It’s going to be a slow grind to operate in,” he says.

The global economy is facing a critical period with Europe and the US running out of time to deal with their deeper structural issues.

Whitfield was speaking as global markets had another tough week. US stocks were pummelled amid uncertainty over whether the looming “fiscal cliff” will be avoided. Europe again entered a technical recession after notching up two quarters of consecutive negative economic growth.

Europe is particularly vulnerable, he says, because short term, cyclical solutions are being applied to deeper structural issues.

”Everyone talks about kicking the can down the road,” he says. ”But it’s just short-term solutions.”

A critical marker for Europe will be any spread of the social unrest that has flared in Spain and Greece. This could represent the tipping point at which politicians and regulators lose the fight to control the European project.

The global financial crisis was the test the Australian economy needed. It triggered a shift in householders’ behaviour, prompting more of us to plough more into savings.

As the crisis began, Australian corporate balance sheets were in excellent shape and the sovereign balance sheet was in excellent shape. Even those corporate groups not in good shape were able to raise equity, even if it was at a discount.

”So the sector most at risk going into the GFC was the consumer,” Whitfield says. ”It was over-leveraged … that was the weakest part of our balance sheet as a nation. Consumers started to pay down debt and that was absolutely the rational thing.”

Even now in most households every spare dollar is being used to pay down the mortgage or credit cards.

After the global financial crisis, some changes are still playing out through the Australian economy and these will continue to test corporates. The higher Australian dollar and subdued consumer spending are here to stay for the medium term, and more pain is expected.

”This is a period where management teams in corporate Australia are differentiating themselves through … a preparedness to recognise the problem and a preparedness to respond to it,” Whitfield says. ”Some, unfortunately, haven’t responded fully and they’re the ones that are getting exposed.

”In every industry strong players are able to survive and take advantage of this more difficult environment, and the weaker business models and the weaker management teams are getting exposed.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/banker-cautions-a-steady-step-is-needed-20121116-29hwm.html#ixzz2CQPh3cVv

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7)ABC2′s indigenous footy show axed

Saturday, 17 November 2012. By Tim Blight.

The Marngrook Footy Show Panel (Image: ABC)The Marngrook Footy Show panel (Image: ABC)

The Marngrook Footy Show, a landmark project in indigenous programming, has been cut from ABC2‘s schedule, with the national broadcaster citing high production costs and low ratings as the motive.

The Brisbane Times reports that the program was ABC2’s most expensive program to produce, with a spokesperson referring to the multichannel’s “limited resources”.

Covering Australian Rules Football from an Aboriginal standpoint, the show had been called ground-breaking for its mix of sport, music, personalities and culture.

Executive producer and host Grant Hansen, who founded the show in its original format, expressed disappointment at the ABC’s decision. It is not clear whether the concept will return to community television or radio in the future.

The television program began life on community television’s Channel 31 Melbourne in 2007 before being taken on by the ABC last year. National indigenous broadcaster NITV was also involved, with additional screenings on the channel since the program’s inception. Prior to its debut on Channel 31, The Marngrook Footy Show existed as a radio program dating back to 1997.

Have your say: join the forum discussion or submit a comment below.

http://www.mediaspy.org/2012/11/17/abc2s-indigenous-footy-show-axed/

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8)Beckham ‘absolutely no plans’ to play in Australia

UPDATED NOV 16, 2012 1:57 PM ET
     

LONDON (AP)

David Beckham’s representatives on Friday ruled out the former England captain moving to an Australian club as uncertainty surrounds his future at the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Football Federation Australia had claimed it had received an approach by an agent representing the 37-year-old midfielder to play some matches with an A-League team this season.

Despite the FFA claiming that talks were at a ”preliminary stage,” Beckham’s representatives denied it.

”There is always enormous interest from clubs across the world in signing David as a player,” Beckham’s management company said in a statement. ”There are absolutely no plans to play in Australia. David is completely focused on the MLS playoffs and winning another championship with the Galaxy.”

Beckham joined the Galaxy in 2007 after a career at Manchester United and Real Madrid turned him into one of football’s biggest stars.

He signed a two-year deal with the Galaxy in January, but has yet to commit to playing next season in Major League Soccer.

The current campaign ends in two weeks and Beckham indicated last month that he would ”see how this body feels after the playoffs” before committing to playing another season.

The Galaxy is one match away from securing its third MLS Cup appearance in four years after the defending champions beat the Seattle Sounders 3-0 in the first leg of the MLS Western Conference finals. The second leg is Sunday in Seattle.

The denial about moving to Australia came after FFA chief executive David Gallop went public with details of the apparent direct talks to bring him to Australia on a short-term basis.

”I spoke to the player’s agent today and said to him it would be fantastic,” Gallop told Australian broadcaster Fox Sports. ”There would be some hoops to jump through. Clubs need to come forward and be the first point of contact.

”What we’re thinking about is a guest stint. It would be fantastic but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves at this point. The most I can say is we are talking about a 10-game guest stint and obviously that might whet his appetite to come back.”

The profile of Australia’s league has been raised by the arrivals this year of former Juventus forward Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC) and former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey (Newcastle).

Mark Bosnich, Beckham’s former teammate at Manchester United, said the A-League should pull out all the stops to secure the star.

”There’s a golden opportunity right now to secure David’s services in Australia, not just for 10 games but for a considerable period of time,” said Bosnich, now an A-League television commentator.

”Let’s do everything we can to make it happen,” the goalkeeper added. ”There’s a small window of opportunity with these things and you’ve got to … seize the day, so to speak.”

Bosnich said Beckham was still capable of performing at the top level.

”He’s in outstanding condition, and if there’s anyone you would want in your team to have the ball when you’re 1-0 down with 10 minutes to go away from home, it’s David Beckham,” Bosnich said.

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said his team would not be interested in signing Beckham, but Perth Glory chief executive Paul Kelly said he would.

”I know he’s being touted around, but there’s been no conversation,” Kelly said. ”As usual, I’ll always say I’m happy to speak to anyone.”

AP Sports Writer Dennis Passa in Brisbane, Australia, contributed to this report. http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/soccer/story/Media-Beckham-might-play-10-games-in-Australia-48955327

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9) Diver Matthew Mitcham opens up about drug addiction

  • BY:DENNIS PASSA 
  • From:AP 
  • November 17, 2012 12:17PM
Matthew Mitcham

Olympic gold medalist diver Matthew Mitcham’s new book is about to be released. Source: News Limited

AUSTRALIAN 10-metre platform diver Matt Mitcham says he battled a methamphetamine addiction in 2011 that almost derailed his career and his life, but the 2008 Beijing gold medallist will be free to compete on future Australian Olympic teams.

In a book to be released on Monday, “Twists and Turns,” Mitcham reveals his battle with low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, panic attacks and repeated self-harm as a teenager, which helped begin his dependence on crystal meth.

After winning the 10-meter gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, Mitcham failed to make the final 12 at the London Games this year.

Mitcham said that even after his Beijing gold medal win, he was still ranked No. 2 – “I had still failed to achieve my childhood dream of becoming the best in the world at something,” so he turned to drugs.

He said he knew the dangers of crystal meth, but “taking it was something I did . to take my mind off things that were upsetting me, to make me feel better about myself.”
Mitcham, who is openly gay, said in the book, excerpts of which were published in Fairfax Media on Saturday, that he has recovered from last year’s drug problems with the help of Narcotics Anonymous, hypnotherapy and his family and friends.

He said he is back in training for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Australian Olympic Committee said it had no idea that Mitcham had any drug issues ahead of the London Games.

“We had no idea that he had a problem, he was his usual friendly, outgoing self in London,” AOC spokesman Mike Tancred told The Associated Press on Saturday. “He went out and supported all his teammates, was happy and chatty, the usual Matty.

“We did know that before the games he had a horrendous run with injuries, but we were not aware of any issues with drugs. But we think that it is sad that such a talented athlete has been caught up with such a hideous drug, and we are glad to hear that he is on top of it.”

The AOC on Friday adopted a resolution that will require all future Australian Olympians to declare any past use of performance-enhancing drugs. Tancred said Mitcham’s use of recreational drugs, even serious ones such as crystal meth, would not be in that category.

“It would fall under recreational drug use,” said Tancred. “This drug is a performance ruiner, not enhancer.”

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/diver-matthew-mitcham-opens-up-about-drug-addiction/story-e6frg6n6-1226518583583
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10)Meet the New Caledonians

By Sam Darroch

WITH the FIBA Pacific Youth Basketball Championships just around the corner the international contingent is in the final throes of preparation as they look to put a dent in the armour of Australia and New Zealand when they hit the courts in Churchill.

The New Caledonia junior women’s national team has employed an extremely professional approach in the build up to this tournament.

Starting earlier in the year, some of the team travelled to Coffs Harbour, Australia for a week-long training camp with their Mont Dore club.

Spurred on by this visit, coach Charles HaHo embarked on an extensive training regime for the side, which Basketball Victoria chief executive Wayne Bird believed would make a statement on an international scale.

“This is a unique opportunity for them and particularly to be able to play against the stronger and more developed programs out of New Zealand and Australia,” Bird said.

“It certainly helps raise the profile and the value of the sport in their country where they have a team that has come through a process to be selected to represent them in a regional sense; it may be for some of these teams at this stage of development their ultimate experience.”

Beginning in May, the squad travelled to the furthest northern village in their country, Koumac, for a four-day camp, followed by a five-day camp in Mont Dore.

In September the squad headed north to Poindimie for a five-day camp and in October, returned to Mont Dore for another five-day camp.

In addition to squad training, the players have undertaken two-hour sessions in their own areas, three times per week.

Bird, who was also the chair of the FIBA youth organisation committee, said the level of professionalism shown by the New Caledonians was a huge boost for the tournament.

“From our point of view it’s just ideal,” he said.

“The fact that they are committing the time, effort and energies to bringing their team together and developing them so that when they do come here they’re going to be as competitive as they possibly can; that’s what we want because rest assured the Australia and New Zealand teams play to win.

“They come here to be as competitive and to learn as much as they can out of this week-long experience (as possible).”

New Caledonia’s first fixture will be on the first day of competition, Monday, 26 November, against Samoa in the women’s draw and Fiji in the men’s.http://www.latrobevalleyexpress.com.au/story/1051817/meet-the-new-caledonians/?cs=1210

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