15th– New Zealander Nina Kathy Rillstone was born on this day in 1975 in Brentwood, Essex, UK. Affiliated to Pakuranga Athletics Club, she was a national champion in both middle and long-distance running, and a national record holder for the half-marathon.She set her personal best for the Half Marathon of 1:13:03 at the 2005 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Edmonton, Canada. Her personal best in the marathon came during the Nagano Marathon in 2006, with a time of 2:29:46. Rillstone set a national record for the marathon at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, with a time of 2:33:58, finishing in thirteenth place.
Rillstone represented New Zealand for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and competed in the women’s marathon. She ran and finished the race in sixteenth place, with a best possible time of 2:31:16, nearly two minutes short of her personal best set in Nagano.
16th – British walker Robert “Bobby” Bridge was born today in 1883 in Lathom, Lancashire. Initially a postman, he later qualified as a dentist despite the handicap of his left arm being deformed at birth and later amputated at the elbow. He has a passion for athletics and became a self-taught home-trained walker. On his début in the AAA championships in 1912, at the age of 29, he won both the 2 miles and 7 miles walk and he repeated the double in 1913 and 1914. At the 1919 Championships, he won the 2 miles for the fourth consecutive time and was the only pre-War champion to retain his title. At the Northern Championships, he took the 2 mile/7 mile double four times (1912-14, 1919), won the 2 miles twice more (1921-22), and had a fifth successive win the 7 miles in 1920. In one race at Stamford Bridge on 2nd May, he rewrote the British record book from 11 to 15 miles and also set a world record by covering 15 miles 701 yards in two hours. This was the same race in which the famous Edgar Horton of Surrey Walking Club set world record figures for 12 hours walking.
His ambition was to represent his country at the Olympic Games in 1916 but as they never took place due to the Great War he never fulfilled this ambition. Even after his great years were behind him Bobby continued to race, but the loss of a leg in a motoring accident in the early 1930’s brought also a great loss to race walking. He did, however, stay with the sport by acting as an umpire in athletic events. He left Chorley some years later to go into business in Liverpool where he died on 17th July 1953 at the age of 70.
17th -Australian figure skater Jo Carter was born on this day in 1980. On the ice from the age of four years, Jo trained in Canterbury, Norwest and Macquarie. In the 1994–1995 season, she won her first senior national title and was selected to compete at the 1995 World Junior Championships. She qualified for the free skate and finished 19th overall at the event, which was held in November 1994 in Budapest, Hungary. She would soon win her first international medals – at the 1995 Summer Trophy (bronze) and 1996 Golden Spin of Zagreb (silver). In the 1996–1997 season, Carter won her third senior national title and finished 16th at the 1997 World Junior Championships, held in November 1996 in Seoul. In March 1997, she competed at her first senior ISU Championship – the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. Achieving her career-best Worlds result, she finished 11th overall after ranking 10th in qualifying group A, 10th in the short program, and 12th in the free skate.
In the 1997–1998 season, Carter appeared at her first Champions Series (later known as Grand Prix series) competition – the 1997 NHK Trophy, where she finished 11th. After winning her fourth consecutive national title, she represented Australia at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan; she ranked 11th in the short program, 12th in the free skate, and 12th overall. The following season, she was awarded gold at Piruetten in Hamar, Norway, as well as her fifth national title. Carter missed the 1999–2000 season due to a knee injury. She took bronze at the Australian Championships in the 2001–2002 season and silver during the next four seasons. Her career-best result at an ISU Championship, fourth, came at the 2005 Four Continents in Gangneung, South Korea. In February 2006, she competed in Turin at her second Winter Olympics, where she was ranked 25th in the short programme. Jo’s last major event was the 2007 World Championships in Tokyo. She qualified for the free skate and finished 20th overall. In 2007, She retired from competition and became a principal performer for Holiday on Ice, with which she would skate for five years as well as coaching figure skating in the Sydney area.
18th– Cyclist and former Air Force pilot Imtiaz Bhatti was born in Gujrat, Pakistan in 1933. He was the Pakistan cycling champion during his student days at Punjab Agriculture College, Lyallpur (now University of Agriculture, Faisalabad) in late 1940s and early 1950s. He set national cycling records and represented Pakistan in the individual and team road race events at the 1952 Summer Olympics where he was placed 1st among the Asian cyclists and 25th in the world in the 1000m time trial. Imtiaz is a veteran of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, flying 34 combat missions, the maximum from Pakistan during the war and is credited with the confirmed downing of two Indian planes and damaging a third, besides participating in raids that took out the Amritsar radar and various other air defence and ground support missions.
He was commissioned as an officer and had a distinguished career before retiring as an air commodore in 1988. Due to his distinguished acts of gallantry, valor and courage shown during war while performing duty and meritorious service, he was awarded with Sitara-i-Jurat, Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Military) and Sitara-i-Basalat by the Government of Pakistan and declared a legend by the PAF Falcons and is one of the war heroes to whom tribute is paid on Pakistan Defence Day. After leaving PAF, he served as Ambassador/High Commissioner of Pakistan for Burundi, Madagascar, Malawi and Tanzania from 1990 until 1992. After returning from his ambassadorial duty, he happily settled in Sargodha, looking after family farmlands in districts Jhang and Sargodha concentrating on growing citrus and guava orchards, bamboo and forest plantations besides various food crops.
19th– Canadian ice-hockey player Dana Antal was born on this day in 1977 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She was affiliated to the Oval X-Treme club in Calgary. Dana started her playing days in minor hockey on local boys’ teams until Bantam (15 & under), as at the time, there were no girls’ teams in the area. On 22nd March 1998, she scored at 5:31 of a 10-minute overtime period from a pass by Jennifer Botterill as Team Alberta (represented by the Calgary Oval X-Treme) defeated Team Ontario (represented by the Beatrice Aeros) by a 3-2 mark to win the Esso Nationals. In the tournament, Dana scored two goals and added an assist at the games. She scored a goal in the 2003 Esso Women’s National Hockey Championship to help Team Alberta win the Abby Hoffman Cup.
Dana was a member of the Canadian National Team that won gold at the Women’s World Hockey Championships in 2001. She was selected to the team in 2000 but was unable to play. She was a member of the Canadian Olympic Team that won a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City – when they won the final 2-3 against the American’s. The match played on 21st February was marred with controversy as referee Stacey Livingston awarded the American team eight successive power plays.
20th– Sand-fisherman turned rower Paul Etia Ndoumbe was born in Douala, Cameroon in 1984. Double African champion Paul participated in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He moved to France before the 2012 Games to train at the Yacht and Athletic Club of Rouen, where conditions are very different from his native Africa. Fatherless orphan, Paul was not destined to become a champion. From the end of his school-days, becoming the head of the family, he had to hard to support his family. – every day he plunged into the water of the river Wouri to collect sacks of sand and resell them to construction companies. One of his colleagues eventually changed the course of his life. In 2005, he introduced him to rowing at the Cameroon Championships – Intrigued by the sport, Paul wanted to try immediately and bitten by his new passion, he managed to combine his gruelling work as a sand fisherman with his rowing training and a few months later participated in his first international competition, the regatta of Tunis where he won a silver medal.
Spotted the same year at the African Games, he received an invitation for the Beijing Olympics. Despite the obvious difference in level, the African representative came 27th out of 36 with a time of 7m21sec on the 2,000m single skulls course. Four years later he gained his place for the London Games during the Alexandria regattas. In England, on Lake Dorney, he was placed 32nd in the final rankings. Aware of his luck, he wants to transmit his knowledge to young Cameroonians. “I learned a lot more techniques here. When I get home, I’m calling my teammates to show them how to row. I am almost a coach already! He laughs.
21st– Indian 400m runner Vandana Rao was born today in 1963. She competed in two Olympic Games – 1984 and 1988. At Los Angeles, together with team-mates Usha, Shiny and Valsamma she made the final round of the 4x400m relay – a first for India – as one politician eloquently put it – “it was a display of Indian’s woman power in athletics” and paved the way for their success in later years which made all these women household names. In 1987, India honoured her with her highest award in sport – The Arjuna Award. In 1984, Karnataka state government conferred her with the highest state award – The Rajyotsava Award.
Vandana’s key international athletic events participation include – 1982 Asian Games at New Delhi, 1984 Olympic Games at Los Angeles, USA, 1985 Asian track & field event at Jakarta, Indonesia (she won gold medal in 4 x 400 meters relay and bronze medal in 200 meters) and World Cup Athletics event at Canberra, Australia held in 1985. She took the gold medal in 200 meters in 1986 four-nation athletic meet at New Delhi. She brought home gold medal in 4 x 400 meters relay from 1986 Asian Games held at Seoul, South Korea. She bagged yet another gold medal in 4 x 400 meters relay in 1987 Asian Track & Field event held at Singapore. Vandana also participated in 1987 world cup athletics at Rome and in 1998 Olympic Games at Seoul, South Korea. She is married to hockey veteran and former Indian Coach Joaquim Carvalho. She is presently on contract with SOTC, India’s premier travel brand as a Tour Manager.