27 June 2012
Vale Daniel Batman
At just 31 years old, Daniel Batman, Australia’s greatest all round sprinter is dead.
On Monday night June 25, while Batman was driving on the Arnhem Highway in Darwin, his car left the road and rolled. He was not discovered until 7am the following day.
Born in Melbourne on March 20, 1981, he was raised in the southern Sydney suburb of Oatley. He was a direct descent of John Batman, the founder of Melbourne. He attended elite Sydney schools, The Scots College and Cranbrook School where he competed in athletics and played for the Australian Schoolboys rugby team.
He was a very talented junior sprinter. As a 15-year-old he led the national 400m rankings by more than a second. Eighteen months later he won gold on the Australian 4x400m relay team at the World Junior Championships. In the individual 400m, Batman, 17, made the semi-final.
As a teenager, he placed second in the 400m at the Sydney Olympic trials, earning selection in the 400m and 4x400m relays. At the Olympics, he pulled his hamstring at the 150m mark and was out of the Games. It also cost him an opportunity to compete at the 2000 World Juniors where he would have been a medal chance as he was ranked No 3 in the world. He quit the sport in 2001, and was selected in the Australian rugby sevens team. However he returned a year later and in February 2003, he clocked the stunning 400m time of 45.02 to become the sixth fastest in Australian history. A month later he placed sixth at the World Indoor Championships. In the lead-up to the championships he twice lowered the Australian indoor 400m record. Over the next seven years, until 2008, Batman lived between Sydney, Canberra and Darwin taking occasional breaks from the sport but compiling an impressive range of international performances and times to match.
At 100m he ran a best of 10.19 (ninth fastest Aussie ever) in 2005 and during his career he clocked 10 sub 10.40 times. He ran on the Australian 4x100m relay team which placed fifth at the 2005 World Championships and in 2006 on the Commonwealth Games and World Cup teams. The Helsinki World Championships team clocked 38.32, making it the third fastest in Australian history.
Over 200m he ran 20.44 and 10 sub 20.59 times. His best was the eighth best by an Australian. He made the semi-finalists at the 2005 World Championships and 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Over 400m he ran 10 sub 45.8 times, a best of 45.02 (No 9 Aussie) and made the final of the 2003 World Indoors. Running on the national 4x400m relay team, he made the 2008 World Indoors final.
Batman trained with a number of coaches and squads, but primarily with Tudor Bidder at the AIS and in Sydney with Michael Khmel’s squad which included an array of Australia’s finest sprinters including Matt Shirvington, Pat Dwyer, Casey Vincent, Clinton Hill and Adam Miller. In earlier years he was coached by Lindsay Watson. He also had shorter coaching stints with Craig Hilliard, Brian Roe, Dick Telford, Paul Hallam and Nova Peris. In his recent comeback, he was being guided by Matt Beckenham (in Canberra) and Paul Hallam (in Sydney).
While in his teens Batman met and eventually married Nova Peris, an Olympic hockey gold medalist and Commonwealth Games 200m gold medalist. Peris and Batman had two children, Jack and Destiny. They were divorced in 2010 and in recent times Batman met a new partner Natalie Sainsbury with whom he had a child Liberty.
During his career he was registered with the Sydney athletics clubs St George and latterly Sutherland and for a couple of months, UTS Norths. He was supported by the AIS and NSWIS. Last season he made a comeback to athletics, running 10.86 for the 100m in January.
``Batty’’ was a very popular athlete around the track, a hard trainer and very courageous in competition. His large Batman tattoo on his right shoulder was prominent on his 1.73m tall muscular body.
The sporting community remembered Batman on twitter and facebook:
Matt Shirvington: ‘‘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.’’
Adam Miller: “See ya Batty! You're a legend mate! RIP”
Kurt Mulcahy: “RIP Batty!!! You'll be missed.”
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Images: Daniel Batman (compiled by David Tarbotton)
Daniel Batman in Statistics:
Born 19 March 1981
Club: St George
SIS/SAS: AIS and NSWIS
100m: 10.19 (No 9 AUS) 2005, 10.14w 2005
200m: 20.44 (No 8 AUS) 2005, 20.29w 2006
400m: 45.02 (No 9 AUS)
400m indoors: 45.93 (Australian record)
200m: 2005 gold, 2006 silver, 2008 gold
400m: 2000 bronze, 2001 silver, 2003 silver
1998 World Juniors: 400m semi, 4x400m gold
2000 Olympics: 400m heat injured, 4x400m did not run
2002 World Cup: 4x400m 6th
2003 World Championships: 400m heat
2003 World Indoors: 400m 6th
2005 World Championships: 200m semi, 4x100m 5th
2006 Commonwealth games: 200m semi, 4x100m did not finish
2006 World Cup: 4x100m 6th, 4x400m 8th
2008 World Indoors: 4x400m heat