Tony Fairweather is a level 4 Sprints, Hurdles and Relay Coach who is based in the Gold Coast after he moved from Maitland, Newcastle in 2013. He has coached athletes to World Juniors, World Champs, World Indoors, Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games and Pacific Games. This will be Tonys first time attending Mini Pacific Games as a Team Manager for the Cook Island Athletics team.
How did you get involved in athletics?
Before athletics football was my first love, I was always positioned as a winger, full back or centre. My footy skill level was sharp and precise but with extra speed I knew I could be a phenomenal player, right then my search for a local sprint coach began. I was taught the mechanics of sprinting and got hooked to the feeling of moving quick. I was approached by Branxton Greta Little Athletics in the early 80s to coach some of their junior athletes and it just evolved from there. I was asked to branch out with my own squad and first developed that with juniors who eventually grew to include senior athletes. My passion for football was always there but sprinting won out. Ever since then I have stayed within the sport coaching 100, 200 and 400m runners.
What do you enjoy about athletics?
Being very goal oriented myself I have a passion for helping others develop in the sport and seeing them achieve set goals. Any sort of improvement from an athlete is exciting, it proves that they are working hard, pushing boundaries and doing all the extra 1 percenters away from track.
My squad is like an extended family to me and we probably see more of each other than our own families at times. Developing a bond with athletes is crucial within athletics, a good relationship always means a great team. Lucky for me my athletes are all matured and easy to work with. I get to travel a lot with some of my senior athletes and we have a lot of fun together.
What were your highlight moment in athletics?
There are so many but to be a part of an athletes first National medal, first major gift win, attending Olympics, World Indoor Championship, Pacific Games, Mini Pacific games next week in Vanuatu as a personal coach is very special. Those moments will forever be close to my heart.
As a coach what is your ultimate goal be?
To have more athletes making their national team and competing successfully in International competitions, to develop juniors into successful senior athletes and hopefully work on bettering the development of athletics within our country. I would like to see athletes (and coaches) with more support across the board, because I love the sport of athletics and I hate to see people leave the sport because they are disillusioned.
With the Mini Pacific Games coming up my goal is to help my Pacific athletes do well in their respective events. I know what they can run and do believe that they will be medal contenders at the games.
Coaching Oceania Athletes
Tony coaches a handful of athletes from Pacific Island nations who will be competing at the Mini Games in Vanuatu next week. From Papua New Guinea Nazmie-Lee Marai (100m, 200), Theo Piniau (National record holder in 200m, 400), Adrine Monagi (National Record Holder in Heptathlon) and Cook Island sprinter Patricia Taea (National Record Holder in 100m, 200m). Marai and Taea ran personal best times in a shield meet in Brisbane on Dec 3. Taea ran 11.97s in womens 100m and 24.39s in 200m and Marai ran 21.54s in mens 200m setting themselves up for the Mini Games next week.
Previously there have been many athletes from the Pacific training with Tony: 2015 Pacific Games 100m Silver Medallist Rodman Teltull and Pacific Sprint Queen Toea Wisil. Teltull became the 2nd fastest man in the Pacific 2015, 2016, shaving 0.3s of his personal best time in the 100m in two years while being coached under the watchful eye of Tony. Wisil claimed the 2017 Australian National Title and became the first woman from the Pacific to run a 100m ‘A’ standard qualifying time to attend the 2016 Rio Olympics as well as breaking National and Pacific records in the 200m.
Tonys passion for athletics is as strong as an athletes hunger to win. All Pacific athletes in his squad are ready to compete and are capable of winning medals in their events
He encourages a real team environment which is evident in how all the athletes support each other.
‘Keep the dream alive’ a saying Tony shares with all his athletes to encourage and motivate them to continue working hard achieving set goals not only on the track but life in general.