A fatal car crash which killed former Olympian Daniel Batman has sent shockwaves through the Australian athletic community.
Those close to the Australian sprinter, 31, who lived in Canberra, were left ‘‘gutted’’ by his sudden death yesterday.
In mourning, they remembered him as a talented athlete and a family man who loved his kids.
‘‘He was a great family man, an unbelievable trainer, who was highly competitive and trustworthy,’’ said Paul Hallam, who assisted Batman last summer during his attempted return to the sport.
‘‘Daniel was just a really good guy. It’s a big loss – people are very shocked by it, we all can’t believe it.’’
Some friends took to Twitter last night after hearing of Batman’s death.
Former Australian sprinter Matt Shirvington said, ‘‘100m – 10.19s, 200m – 20.44s, 400m – 45.02s. Daniel Batman was the best all-round sprinter Australia has ever seen. Rest in peace, mate.’’
Sprinter Melissa Breen said, ‘‘A life taken too young, our thoughts are with your family and close friends at this very sad time.’’
Batman was killed in a car accident south-east of Darwin early yesterday.
Northern Territory police said Batman was travelling east on the Arnhem Highway after midnight when his car left the road, crashed into a culvert and rolled 10 metres.
A passing motorist alerted police to the incident about 7am and the highway remained closed for several hours as investigators worked the scene. Detective Acting Senior Sergeant John Worrall said speed and alcohol may have been contributing factors in the crash.
Batman spent much of 2010 ploughing through a lengthy divorce from former Aussie track queen Nova Peris, to whom he had been married for almost a decade and who is the mother of his first two children, Destiny and Jack. It is believed the three live in the Northern Territory.
Daniel was just a really good guy. It’s a big loss – people are very shocked by it, we all can’t believe it.
Batman had since found a new partner, Natalie Sainsbury, who last year gave birth to their first child, Liberty.
Tudor Bidder, who coached Batman from 2005 to 2008 while he was an AIS scholarship holder, remembered Batman as ‘‘very much a family man’’ who put his kids first.
‘‘Thirty-one, it’s not an age to be losing your life,’’ Mr Bidder said.
‘‘But he had quite a lot of life inside those few years.
‘‘I always found him to be a most warm and welcoming boy.’’
Bidder also said Batman was a ‘‘very talented boy’’.
Batman competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and was the national men’s 200m champion in 2005 and 2006. He also placed sixth at the 2003 World indoor championships.
‘‘He would be Australia’s best all-round sprinter in the 100m, 200m and 400m,’’ Bidder said. ‘‘He had different moments in his life where he thought he should retire for a while and then came back stronger and better.
‘‘From 2008 onwards he’d moved more towards his professional career in the government.
‘‘I don’t know whether he was totally committed to his latest comeback ... 2008 was the end of his running, really.’’