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  Track & Field Athletics Australia    by Graham Thomas 

Profile - Jana Pittman

Jana Pittman.  World Youth Champion, World Junior Champion, Commonwealth Games Champion..... What's Next??DOB - 9 November 1982

Height 1.81 m Weight 67kg

Australian Institute of Sport

Coach - Phil King

Jana Pittman, the former World Youth 400m Hurdles Champion and World Junior Champion at 400m and 400m Hurdles won two gold medals at the 2003 Commonwealth Games. 

Still just 20 years old, Jana is determined to complete her set of international gold medals at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

Read Jana's Biography below.


In 1999, it was apparent 15 year old Jana Pittman was a likely track star of the future.  Coached by Jackie Byrnes, along-side Olympic sprinter Melinda Gainsford, Pittman qualified at two events (400m and 400m Hurdles) for the year's World Youth Championships and showed promising form in other sprint and hurdles events.  At the Youth Championships, for athletes under 18, Pittman starred for Australia, winning the 400m Hurdles and also made the final of the 400m.

Her times continued to improve during 1999 and 2000 and it became apparent she would challenge for a place in the Sydney Olympic team as well as the World Junior Championships.  Competing in South Africa, after the Australian season, Pittman equalled the world junior record for 400m hurdles and she later won the Olympic trial held at Stadium Australia, upsetting the favourite Lauren Poetschka.

Pittman did not make it past her heat in the Olympic event, but assisted the Australian team in qualifying for the 4x400m relay final.  Her leg of 51.1 helping the team to break the national record, which had stood for 24 years, with a 3-24.05 time.

Pittman went on to win a rare double over 400m and 400m Hurdles at the World Junior event in Santiago.  Her year ended with the IAAF 'Rising Star' Award.

After her initial success, Jana showed indifferent form in 2001 and reportedly considered retirement during an emotional year.  Injuries eventually kept her out of the 2001 World Championships and affected her 2002 domestic season but she seemed to be improving, under new coach Craig Hilliard at the AIS.  At the national titles she successfully defended her 400m Hurdles championship and qualified for the Commonwealth Games team.

Still just 19, she ran brilliantly in her European campaign, setting a huge personal best of 54.58 in Paris when she demolished a high-class field.  Further improvement came in the heat of the Commonwealth Games when she sliced her PB to 54.14, the second fastest time in the world for 2002.  Pittman then backed up in 54.40 to take the Gold medal.

Further success came in the 4x400m relay team where Australia, with no individual 400m runners entered, took the gold medal.  A great team effort from Lauren Hewitt (200m), Tamsyn Lewis (800m), Jana Pittman (Hurdles) and a half-fit Cathy Freeman.

After the Commonwealth Games, Pittman shocked many by leaving coach Hilliard and relocating to Melbourne with new fiance Rohan Robinson, the Atlanta Olympic finalist over 400m Hurdles.  Robinson and Pittman had coaxed Phil King, the husband and coach of 1988 Olympic Champion Debbie Flintoff out of retirement to guide Pittman towards her goal of an Olympic gold medal in Athens, in 2004.

Training at Mornington peninsula, with the Kings, Pittman showed substantial improvement in the 2003 domestic series with a host of top performances.  She improved her personal bests over 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m and 400m Hurdles and thrashed Olympic champion Cathy Freeman over 400m in their only clash of the season.

Her 300m (36.34) was an Australian record (best) time, beating Freeman's mark, and Pittman's improvement on the flat can only help Australia's chances in 4x400m relay events at the World Championships and Olympic Games.

Jana is currently ranked #1 on the IAAF Merit Rankings for 400m Hurdles and leads the world lists with her 53.76 PB from the Canberra A-Series meet.

Pittman recently reported she had set a series of personal bests in training at Mornington peninsula, which showed the potential for a full further second of improvement over her 400m times.

Team Pittman will make a base in Zug, Switzerland, for the European season and Jana is expecting to race over the hurdles in numerous Golden League meetings across the continent.  Her first race will be in Oslo (June 27) but the tight tracks may not be conducive to a particularly fast time.  Debbie Flintoff's best at Oslo (53.76 - leading into her Olympic campaign) may be a guide to Pittman's form.

Jana will then race over 400m at the Lausanne meet (1 July) and hopes to challenge world number one Ana Guevara, as this will be the only time the two may race in 2003.

Pittman will then race in Paris (4 July) over the sticks and should break the long standing national record set by Debbie Flintoff-King in 1988 (53.17) during her European campaign.  

Jana is possibly Australia's best chance of success at the Paris World Championships and her clashes with 25 year old Russian, Yulia Pechonkina, the world's best 400m Hurdler in 2002, will be a highlight.   Go Jana!

PROGRESS 400m     400m Hurdles

2003     50.43    53.76
2002     52.37    54.14
2001     51.74    55.93
2000     51.76    55.20
1999     51.80    56.23
1998              59.75 

PERSONAL BESTS

100m     11.77
200m     23.52
400m     50.43
100H     13.92
4000H    53.76

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

400H    2001, 2002, 2003

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS

BRONZE 2002 World Cup 400m Hurdles
GOLD   2002 Commonwealth Games 400m Hurdles
GOLD   2002 Commonwealth Games 4x400m Relay
GOLD   2000 World Junior Champs 400m Hurdles
GOLD   2000 World Junior Champs 400m
GOLD   1999 World Youth Champs 400m Hurdles

WORLD RECORDS

World Junior Record 400m Hurdles 2000 (55.20)

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