Sport

Jana could bob up

Astrid Radjenovic.
Astrid Radjenovic.

SUNSHINE Coast bobsledder Astrid Radjenovic says she will attempt to convince ex-training partner and former hurdles world champion Jana Pittman to make the switch to the high-speed winter sport after the London Olympics.

It is just one of the options the Kawana product is considering in the wash-up to a successful yet frustrating European winter season.

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Radjenovic (formerly Loch-Wilkinson) also said she was considering following in the footsteps of fellow Coast bobsledder Chris Spring by defecting to a rival country.

Two-time Olympian Radjenovic, who returned to Queensland last week, said she was weighing up her opportunities as she entered the final phases of her career.

She revealed the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, would be her competitive swansong and said she was desperate to claim a medal.

She also said she would work with the Australian Institute of Sport in the lead-up to the 2012-13 European season to put together a new two-person Australian bobsled team.

Radjenovic, who herself came from an athletics background, said she was in discussions with the AIS to determine whether any established athletes from other sports would consider making the switch to bobsledding.

She said she had held preliminary talks with Pittman, who she trained with as a teenager in Sydney under track-and-field coach Jacki Burns, and received encouraging feedback.

"They (the AIS) are interested in helping me to find better athletes, try to get athletes from other sports and pull them across into bobsleigh," Radjenovic said.

"I've also had some interest from Jana Pittman. She is interested in trying bobsleigh after the London Games, but I don't know how she would go.

"She also has an injury at the moment and she's got a son, so she wouldn't be able to commit to being away for so long, but we'll see."

Radjenovic described her 2011-12 season as frustrating after being forced to drop her personal sponsor because of a clash with the Australian team's financial backer.

It was a risky move considering the cash-strapped nature of the sport in Australia.

Following the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Spring defected to Canada.

Radjenovic could not rule out following suit.

She enjoyed a breakout season in 2011-12, cracking a top-10 place at the World Cup round in Altenberg, Germany - a first for the Australian two-woman crew.

Despite this the Australian team driver said she was feeling the financial strain and operating on a budget of about $20,000 - approximately a 10th the size of the larger European teams' resources.

She said several countries had approached her about changing allegiances.

"This will be my last two years in the sport, so I want to finish my career with the best possible result," she said.

"My aim would be an Olympic medal, but I'm sure everyone would be aiming for that.

"I do think it is a small possibility if we had the right support. I know I'm good enough to be at that level if I have good enough athletes to push for me."

Topics:  jana pittman, sunshine coast



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