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Bannister's Olympic dreams on hold

RYAN MATHESON  | 

Townsville-raised javelin thrower Jarrod Bannister after winning gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

TOWNSVILLE product Jarrod Bannister is under investigation for alleged anomalies involving support funding that could derail his dream of reaching the London Olympics.

A spokesman for the Australian Olympic Committee this week confirmed the Victorian Institute of Sport was investigating allegations against Bannister.

The now Melbourne-based thrower recently became a member of the AOC's elite shadow Olympic team after placing in the top eight at this year's athletics world championships in Daegu, Korea.

The 27-year-old is expected to be called before a committee comprising the London Olympic team chef de mission Nick Green, deputy chef de mission Chris Fydler and the AOC secretary-general Craig Phillips.

The Commonwealth Games javelin gold medallist is at risk of losing his chance of gunning for Olympic gold due to a behaviour rule introduced after the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Swimmer Nick D'Arcy and cyclist Chris Jongewaard were banned from Australia's team to Beijing under the strict new laws.

Jongewaard was jailed for nine months for running down his cyclist training partner while driving a support car when drunk. Townsville coach Gary Cairns, who was heavily involved in Bannister's rise through the junior ranks, said the Townsville product was one of the most talented youngsters to come out of the region.

"I have always felt Jarrod had the potential to be in the top three in the world if he could remain injury free," he said. "His main goal has always been to be able to represent his country at the Olympics so it would be a real shame if he wasn't able to achieve that."

The talented Townsville junior was without a coach for much of 2010 after former East German world record holder Uwe Hohn was forced to end their partnership for personal reasons.

Bannister's big breakthrough came when he smashed the Australian record with a throw of 89.02m at the 2008 national championships, an effort bettered by only two other men worldwide in the following two years.

Bannister's parents, who still live in Townsville, could not be contacted yesterday.

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