Games bid about to begin
SEVERAL Darling Downs athletes are expected to sacrifice pleasure for business when they sit out this weekend's Olympic Games opening celebrations to prepare for first-up events.
The 2012 London Games opening ceremony takes place from 5.30am Australian time on Saturday (8.30pm Friday in London).
The Darling Downs will have a healthy presence during the two weeks of competition with Damien Hooper, Travis Passier, Hope Munro, Andrew McCabe, Sally Kehoe and Chris Burton all having a connection to the region.
Passier (volleyball), Munro (hockey) and Kehoe (rowing) will all launch into action on Sunday, while Hooper begins his light heavyweight boxing campaign the next day.
McCabe's men's 4x100m relay event is run in the second week of the Games, while Burton is part of the equestrian team.
Kehoe is one of the Aussies having to forfeit the chance to march with the Australian squad at the gala opening.
"Unfortunately we won't be in the opening ceremony - rowers never are," the former Toowoomba Prep School student said.
"It's just too close to competition and it is quite an ordeal for the athletes.
"It's usually an 8-10 hour round trip."
Kehoe is a member of Australia's women's eight crew.
The Australian rowing squad has been preparing at the AIS European training centre in Varese, Italy. The womens' eight boat qualified for a London start only two months ago.
It is now ranked sixth heading into the Games.