A memorial service for world champion triathlete and marathon runner Jackie Fairweather will be held at Canberra's AIS Arena on Thursday at 11.30am, while the ACT government is looking at ways to honour her legacy to the ACT's sporting community. Australian sport reacted with shock and sadness to Fairweather's death last week, the 46-year-old having battled depression for years. Details are yet to be finalised but a ceremony at the AIS Arena on Thursday looks most likely. It would be an appropriate venue, given Fairweather was the AIS's inaugural triathlon coach, had continued to work at the Canberra campus as a high-performance manager and met her husband, Olympic Games gold medal archer Simon Fairweather, there. The AIS is hosting the "World Class to World Best" conference from Wednesday to Friday, which would enable many of the country's leading sports administrators to pay respect to a woman who had so much influence on Australian high-performance sport. ACT Sports Minister Shane Rattenbury, a long-time triathlete himself, has had informal discussions about a permanent memorial to Fairweather in Canberra, perhaps in the form of an event or popular running trail named in her honour. "A few people who've known Jackie have said we should do something to mark both her success as an athlete but also her contribution as a coach and mentor to so many people. I think it'd be quite appropriate," Rattenbury said. Any decision would be made in consultation with Fairweather's family, but popular running spots at Stromlo Forest, the Arboretum or Bruce Ridge would be considered. "She inspired a lot of people, so hopefully this would be another way of continuing to inspire people as well as a legacy for Jackie."
CARTERS KEEPS GIVING
His new Big Bash League club, the Sydney Sixers, has heralded the arrival of Canberra's Ryan Carters by re-posting video of his classic outfield catch for NSW in the domestic one-day competition last month. But while Carters is enjoying his role as a specialist batsman for NSW, the former Radford College student considers himself a wicketkeeper-batsman. Carters will don the gloves for the Sixers in the BBL but admits he's had to adjust to playing first slip beside Peter Nevill for the NSW Blues. "As a natural keeper, it's hard to stop yourself moving over and following the line of the delivery," Carters said, laughing. Carters has relaunched his charitable initiative Batting for Change to raise money during the BBL, this time aiming for $66,666 to educate as many as 500 impoverished women in India. The 24-year-old is urging fans to pledge money, even as little as $1, for every six the Sixers hit this summer. Carters will donate $100 for every six his teammates hit, but wants to raise his own contribution. "I only hit one six last year, so it's time to open the shoulders," he said. To give you a good idea, the Sixers hit 29 sixes last summer. At that rate, Carters would donate $2900 himself. Visit http://www.battingforchange.com.au/ to make a pledge.
OLYMPIC GOLD AND DIAMONDS
Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but they're best complemented by gold. Former AIS boxer and Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medallist Andrew Moloney returned to Canberra last week for a fitting celebration with his sponsor, Solitaire Jewellers. They struck up the partnership when Moloney, now based in Melbourne, was living and training in Canberra. But the relationship became far more important than just financial support in Moloney's quest for gold in Scotland. Solitaire also helped the 23-year-old design a whopping 1.25-carat diamond engagement ring. No sooner had Moloney claimed gold in Glasgow, he whisked girlfriend Chelsea-Madeleine Kean away to Paris and dropped to one knee on the famous "Love Lock" bridge, Pont de L'Archeveche. Not a bad bit of bling for both in the same year.
MANUKA CURATOR GAGGED
Manuka Oval curator Brad Van Dam is among the groundsmen blocked from speaking to media as the International Cricket Council attempts to stamp out match-fixing before next year's Cricket World Cup. Van Dam has regularly given pitch assessments before Canberra's biggest games, like the annual PM's XI game and last year's one-day international between Australia and the West Indies. But a meeting of curators from across Australia and New Zealand in Christchurch last month has tried to limit talk of pitch preparation. It's understood curators have been instructed not to offer specifics, such as advising whether to bat or bowl first or who the pitch might favour, whether it would be fast or slow bowling. Cricket ACT is seeking clarification from Cricket Australia and the ICC as to what Van Dam is permitted to say. Only last week, Cricket ACT chief executive Mark Vergano said he expected the ODI between Australia and South Africa, on November 19, would result in more than 600 runs to be scored. That's hardly a shock, given Manuka's reputation as a batsman's paradise. Canberra will host three games in next year's World Cup in February and March. Security will be ramped up to stop illegal bookmakers using "pitchsiders" attempting to take advantage of slight delays in the broadcast of overseas games by transmitting data from their seats.
SETU SET FREE
It's no surprise to see Lagi Setu released from the final year of his contract at the Canberra Raiders to join the Sydney Roosters. Setu was signed before coach Ricky Stuart's arrival at the club but he was never in the plans for an NRL call-up in 2014. The former Brisbane Broncos and St George Illawarra back-rower was costing the Raiders about $180,000 a season, but spent the entire year with NSW Cup team Mounties. Setu's only appearances in the top grade were trials and the Auckland Nines. Veteran prop Tom Learoyd-Lahrs has moved to Melbourne, also freeing up salary cap space. But expect some of that to be invested in promising young forwards coming through the club, with Patrick Mago, Tevita Pangai, Luke Bateman and Luke Page among those on the cusp of breaking into the NRL next season.
EASTS' KIDS KICK-ON
Rugby is putting smiles on all these young faces, but their club, one of the oldest in Canberra, almost went bust a few years ago. Instead, Easts Junior Rugby Club has rebuilt and has ambitions to continue expanding. Established in 1938, Easts Juniors almost folded in 2011-12, with financial issues and only 48registered players. Driven by a group of volunteers and parents, Easts embarked on a schools program and has grown to 120 players from under-7 to 13s. They even collected a couple of premierships this year, in U11s and 13s. The club is continuing to prosper over summer, launching its Budding Brumbies program on Friday night, which is being attended by 50 kids. "We were in pretty dire straights," manager Tim Beaver said. "Instead of calling it quits, we called for parents and volunteers to turn it around. We're one of the smallest catchment areas in ACT rugby. We lose a lot of our players at under-13s; they go off to St Eddies, Marist and Grammar, which are all in our catchment area. But now we're looking to develop teams we can take through all the way to under-18s. That's the goal, to have kids running out in an Easts jersey in under-16s and under-18s for the first time in over a decade." Brumbies forward Ruan Smith also deserves a lot of credit for the helping hand he's given the club.