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Dajka death not suspicious

By:
Daniel Benson in Gent, Belgium
Published:
April 08, 2009, 0:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 21:06 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News for April 8, 2009

South Australian Police believe the circumstances surrounding the death of champion Australian...

South Australian Police believe the circumstances surrounding the death of champion Australian cyclist Jobie Dajka are not suspicious, according to local media reports. While details on the discovery of a body at the 27-year-old's home in Paralowie yesterday are limited, local police are compiling a report for the coroner.

Dajka spoke publicly last year about his battle with depression and alcoholism after spending a number of years surrounded in controversy. The 2002 UCI Track World Championship kieren gold medalist was sent home from a pre-Athens Olympic Games training camp in 2004 after lying to a doping inquiry.

"It is a sad day for the sport when this sort of thing happens," Cycling Australia president Mike Victor told AAP. "We feel for his teammates who knew him.

"It is a blow to the sport and he never really got over the disappointment [of missing Athens] and he had other issues going on in his life," he added.

Dajka's circumstances worsened one year after the fallout from Athens, as he was convicted for assaulting Australian track coach Martin Barras. As the court hearing in 2006, Dajka pleaded guilty to a further 12 charges ranging from traffic infringements to theft. He was fined $2,600 for the 13 offences and placed on a good behaviour bond with a suspended jail sentence.

"Personally, I'm deeply saddened by Jobie Dajka's passing," Australian television personality Mike Tomalaris said on his SBS.com.au blog. "I can only hope his legacy as a sportsman and genuinely honest human being will not be forgotten by Australia's cycling community."

Dajka was banned from the sport for three years following the Barras assault, however the ban was lifted early in 2006.

Former professional cyclist and Adelaide resident Patrick Jonker described Dajka as an amazingly talented athlete and good guy. "He was one of Australia's finest sprinters for a long time, mainly as a someone I respected his ability to sprint," Jonker told abc.net.au. "He was a fiery character, an amazingly talented athlete, a good guy who made some bad decisions here and there."

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