What would you think of seeing Sally Pearson powering over hurdles at Barden Park in the coming months?
How about South African champion Caster Semenya charging around the track, Australian standout Dani Stevens hurling a discus miles out of the cage or Olympic gold medallist Omar McLeod getting around town with the kind of swagger only Jamaican athletes can get away with?
If it was up to Australia’s fastest man and Olympian Patrick Johnson, that's exactly what would be happening prior to next April’s Commonwealth Games.
Johnson was at Dubbo on the weekend where he helped a huge amount of junior athletes at the Western Plains Zone Super Clinic.
While he was in town, he said the world-class Barden Park facility would be a perfect place for athletes to base themselves before the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
With the Commonwealth Games coming up, this would be a great facility for athletes to train at.Patrick Johnson
“You can really create Championships here and Grand Prixs and get visitors and overseas athletes here,” he said.
“With the Commonwealth Games coming up, this would be a great facility for athletes to train at. It’s a great facility and a great track and I think people want that because it’s hard to find good track and good facilities that you can use.
“Dubbo council and everyone else has done a great job and it’s incredible to have it in this area.”
Johnson said there were numerous times in his own career he would travel through Dubbo but would never stop or compete because there was no track at that time.
He added Barden Park would be perfect for Commonwealth Games hopefuls for numerous reasons.
As well as it’s quality of the facility, Johnson believed the more quieter surroundings of Dubbo would mean there would be far less scrutiny from outside sources while the local region also has “less distractions” than the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
Johnson also stated the next move for the Dubbo area should be to push for high-calibre event which attracts athletes from not only across Australia, but overseas as well.
While focused on high-profile athletes and future possibilities, Johnson was still thrilled with the current potential shown by juniors at the weekend’s clinic.
He was one of a number of high-profile athletes and coaches in attendance at Barden Park on both Saturday and Sunday and it was clear the only Australian to break the 10 second barrier was making an impact.
“The great thing about a lot of the kids here is I can see they’re learning,” he said.
“It’s easy for a coach to tell kids what to do but they might know understand it but it’s great here and a parent came up to me and said ‘my kids knows what you’re talking about’ and these kids are practicing,” he said.
“I want to share my knowledge to every Australian, even if they don’t want to run.”
The Commonwealth Games run from April 5-18.