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Pittman, climbing through a break-up
- New Aussie star wishes to focus on running career

Sydney: Australia’s new golden girl of the track Jana Pittman should be laughing, instead she is in tears after a split with her fiancé and fellow athlete Rohan Robinson, it was reported here Monday.

Twenty year-old Pittman became Australia’s latest world champion when she spectacularly won the 400m hurdles at the Paris world athletics championships last week. But Pittman has turned her back on lucrative prize money to capitalise on her new-won fame by passing up running in Brussels this week and the Grand Prix final in Monaco to get over her emotional upheaval.

“I should be really happy after my win, but all I want to do is cry,” Pittman told Australian newspapers.

The powerful Pittman, who won the hurdles event at last year’s Manchester Commonwealth Games, said she wanted to focus on her running career, adding, “I can’t be married to the track and married to Rohan as well.”

The two have been together for three years after meeting at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, where Pittman moved after the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Robinson, an Atlanta Olympics finalist in the 400m hurdles who is 10 years older than Pittman, is said to have been crucial in steering Pittman from the institute to her current coach, Phil King in Victoria.

But the Sydney Morning Herald said over the past six months the pair clashed frequently. Six weeks ago, Robinson was preparing to return home from the squad’s European training base in Zug, Switzerland, the paper said.

But for Pittman’s sake the two decided to stick it out until after the world championships because of the potential emotional disruptions ahead of her Paris ambitions.

King, the husband of 1988 Seoul Olympic hurdles gold medallist Debbie Flintoff-King, convinced Pittman it was better for her to return home, deal with media and sponsorship commitments and then knuckle down to preparing for next year’s Athens Olympics.

“If she won those two races she could win $ 70,000 ($ 45,000 US),” King told The Australian.

“I don’t think in terms of dollars and cents and neither does Jana. The bottom line is she has done almost the impossible in winning the world championship. She threw all her physical and emotional energy into it and the tank is empty.”

Pittman is being pragmatic about the break-up. “We’re still the best of mates, but we have known for months it was not a productive relationship.” (AFP)

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