War of words between Pittman, Lewis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

War of words between Pittman, Lewis

By Sam Lienert 08/02/2006 08:01:15 PM Comments (0)

Athletics Australia has stepped in to try to broker an end to the feud between top Australian athletes Jana Pittman and Tamsyn Lewis.

The verbal barbs between the pair have overshadowed the athletics team's preparation for next month's Commonwealth Games, with Lewis describing their uneasy relationship as a "catfight and a bitchfight".

Athletics Australia (AA) chief executive Danny Corcoran met with both women in an effort to ensure their differences were put aside in the interests of the sport.

"I have spoken to both Jana and Tamsyn today and have indicated in the strongest possible terms that they should focus on their own preparations for the Games rather than letting themselves be distracted," Corcoran said.

"At a time where there is great optimism in the sport, with the selection of our largest team and a new generation of athletes representing their country for the first time, this distraction is both unwanted and unnecessary.

"From Athletics Australia's perspective, the ball is now firmly in both Jana and Tamsyn's court as to how they now focus on preparing for the Commonwealth Games."

Corcoran said he did not expect the spat to damage team morale.

"Any suggestion that the current personal relationship between Tamsyn Lewis and Jana Pittman is having any detrimental effect on the morale of the Australian team in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games is untrue," he said.

"Rivalry and competitiveness are integral parts of competing in elite sport, but sportsmanship and respect for fellow competitors are also important values when representing your country."

Pittman, who blamed Lewis for generating the feud, said she wanted to forget about the war of words and focus on training, saying the media spotlight created would not help her performance.

"As far as I'm concerned, bring the Commonwealth Games on, let's get back to what the atmosphere and what the Commonwealth Games spirit is about and let's forget about all this," she said on the Nine Network's A Current Affair.

Lewis said she regretted calling Pittman a "bitch" during a radio interview, after beating her at last Friday night's 400m race at the national trials.

"I only said one comment, I believe, that has been bad," she said.

"I wish I could take back the comment ... I didn't mean it as nasty to Jana, I meant it as tongue-in-cheek and a joke."

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