Australian javelin champion Jarrod Bannister has died suddenly in the Netherlands.
Bannister, 33, had been living and training in Holland and there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, Fairfax Media is reporting.
Athletics Australia chief executive Darren Gocher said the sport’s peak organisation was shocked to learn of Bannister’s death. “On behalf of Athletics Australia, I extend our deepest condolences to Jarrod’s family and friends and urge the athletics fraternity to support each other at this difficult time,” Gocher said in a statement on Friday.
Bannister won javelin gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and finished sixth in the final at the 2008 Olympic Games. His personal best of 89.02 metres, set in Brisbane in 2008, remains the current Australian record.
Pearson and other members of Australia’s athletic fraternity took to social media to pay tribute to the Townsville-born Bannister.
Hurdler Lauren Wells posted on Twitter a tribute to a “talented athlete and nice guy, gone too soon.”
Ex-Olympian and renowned athletics commentator David Culbert described Bannister on Twitter as “a super athlete who sadly had many demons”.
Commonwealth Games Australia and the Australian Sports Commission were others to express sadness at the death of Bannister, whose last major competition came at the 2011 world championships in South Korea where he finished seventh in the javelin final.
Two years later, Bannister was banned for 20 months for failing three whereabouts drug tests. He maintained drug testers arrived at the hotel where he was staying, but were told he had checked out the previous day.
Bannister was actually in the hotel in a room shared with another Australian athlete – the accommodation had been paid for by Athletics Australia.