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Greg won the 2010 Australian Open 110m hurdles with a season best 13:82 (w: 2.1), having clocked 13:94 in the heats (w: 1.5) 2006-07 Australian Open saw him do 13:72 (+1.5)
Greg Eyears farewells the track
After a tremendous track career, Greg Eyears has decided to hang up his spikes. His final hurdles race is expected to be at the Oceania Championships representing Australia in Cairns on 27-29 June.
A talented athlete, Eyears successfully combined athletics, study and a career as a chartered accountant, although one wonders how much better he could have been with more time to train.
“The best thing about juggling sport, academics and a nine to five job, you get better at time management and accomplish a lot each day. Athletics has always provided an enjoyable break from my accounting career and vice versa,” he said.
The recent national championships in Melbourne was his last elite race. It didn’t turn out to be the perfect exit as a young training partner, Mitch Tysoe beat him for the national title.
“It was great that Mitch and I took out the Team Final quinella at the nationals,’’ he said. “Ideally I would have loved to finish with three consecutive Australian titles but I am ecstatic with the season’s best and adding another medal to the trophy cabinet. I’m so happy for Mitch especially considering he was DQ’d for false starting at last year’s nationals.’’ Eyears placed second in 14.18s, after making the final in the last qualifying position.
“Looking back over my 25 years in the sport I have thoroughly enjoyed my time competing at the highest level over the high hurdles,’’ he said.
“No doubt competing at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games for Australia at the MCG in front of a patriotic crowd with family and friends cheering me on was a major highlight. Running just weeks after an appendix operation made the achievement all the more special.”
It started for Eyears in 1987 as a five-year-old at Bankstown Little Athletics. A Junior Life Member of Bankstown Sports Little Athletics Club, Eyears started out as a discus and road walks state medallist before he switched to hurdling at the age of 12 on the advice of his discus coach Steve Clima and also Edith Robinson, the first Australian woman to compete at the Olympics in 1928.
Eyears started his hurdling career with coach Robert Macey in 1993 training on the grass at Jensen Oval in Sefton. Over their 15 year partnership Macey took Eyears from a novice 12-year-old hurdler to a multiple state and national champion, representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games. In 2008, Eyears joined Fira Dvoskina’s hurdles squad where he has trained for the last four years.
Eyears was educated at Milperra Public School and Picnic Point High School (graduating with a UAI of 98.30) before going on to complete an accounting degree with a distinction average at University of NSW. While at UNSW, Eyears won multlple gold at the Australian University Games and received a Ben Lexcen Sports Scholarship and Blues Award in athletics.
He always trained after work, each weekday where he would often finish as late as 9pm.
He won his first national gold at the Australian All School Championships in Canberra in 1998. He went on to two silver medals in the 110m hurdles at the 1999 and 2000 Australian junior championships and in 2003 won his first senior medal with a bronze at the nationals.
“I will always remember that bronze as I was on the medal dias with my childhood hero Kyle Vander Kyup. Who would of thought three years later we would be both in the Australian team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games”
Two years later in 2005 it was gold at the nationals for Eyears.
“I almost didn’t make the start line for the final. It was an extremely hot day and both of my calves were cramping up. Fortunately NSWIS physio Brent Kirkbride was on hand to massage the cramps out minutes before the final”
In 2007, although placing only second, he clocked the stunning time of 13.72, a time which moved him to fifth fastest in Australian history. He won national titles in 2010 and 2011.
“One of my proudest milestones would be winning the Australian title in 2010 in Perth. Coming back from a serious hamstring injury, I won in a close, high quality field, in the second fastest time of my career, 13.82 seconds,” he said.
While not selected in the 2010 Commonwealth Games team, Eyears represented Australia in the Great North City Games in England (13.88 seconds) and the Oceania Championships (meet record of 14.20 seconds) in September 2010.
During his nationals career he won three gold, two silver and three bronze medals.
He was just as prolific at State level, winning eight gold, four silver and one bronze medals.
“I’ve competed at 13 NSW Open State titles since 2000 and considering I am retiring from the elite level of athletics at the end of this season I’m ecstatic with winning an eighth title,’’ he said.
“Apart from this year’s win, the most memorable would be the 2006 title in a 12 man final clocking 14.00. The final also included Kyle Vander Kuyp, Stuart Anderson and Justin Merlino (Sydney Uni). To see hurdles in 12 lanes was certainly some spectacle.
“I am so grateful to my hurdle coaches Robert Macey and Fira Dvoskina. I cannot thank them enough for their time and sacrifice over the years. They played a major role in my successes and my longevity in the sport which included competing in 13 seasons in the Australian Grand Prix Athletics circuit. My massage therapist (Wes Le Breux) has also been instrumental in keeping me on the track over the past five years.
“I also would like to thank Bankstown Sports Little Athletics and Senior Athletics Clubs for their ongoing support and selecting me as a Junior Life Member and Club Captain respectively.”
Eyears broke the masters 30-34 years 110m hurdles Australian and NSW records this season. His future plans include hurdles coaching and competing at the odd interclub and masters competition for Bankstown.
Report courtesy of David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW