In our stars of ECS Series, we take a look at Swedish Cricket Federation Performance Director Benn Harradine, heavily involved in the organisation of the European Cricket Series events in Sweden this summer. On an interesting side note, Benn is a 3-time Olympian and Gold Medal winner in the discus for Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
As an Australian Olympic athlete, how did you end up in Sweden?
I needed to be Europe based for competitions because I was often competing in Diamond league and IAAF meets all over Europe. I was based in Germany for seven years, but I met my Swedish fiancé in Australia during a training camp and we decided to move to Sweden.
What was the highlight of your sporting career?
I have a couple actually. Throwing an area record at the World Cup in Split, Croatia on Father’s Day with my Dad watching. This was one of the best competitions I ever enjoyed.
The second was competing in the Olympic Final in London 2012, with 110,000 people in the crowd, and my brother and his wife and 2 boys, my Mum and Dad, and one of my first coaches all there too! The kicker was my fiancé was also a participant. She swam for Sweden so we were able to share one of the biggest moments of our careers together. Memories forever.
Why did you make the transition from high performance athletics to cricket?
To me, it’s all about development. The opportunity to be exposed to new environments and new challenges is always a chance to grow. In Australia, we are born with a cricket bat in our hands, it’s a rite of passage to play backyard cricket and then develop into a real cricket nut. I have acquired so much knowledge over my career as an athlete and had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s greatest coaches and organisations, so I hope that I can use that knowledge and enable cricket to flourish in Europe!
How has your life changed since the Covid19 situation?
It has not really changed to be honest. My garden looks much better and I am appreciating a hug when I get the chance to have one. The only thing I really miss is social contact and being able to travel. My family are on the other side of the globe and so my trip home to Australia was cut short by this pandemic.
Positively, what is the best part? If any?!
Spending more time with family and prioritising the things we often take for granted. It has been quite fun having small projects to either try or finish that have been hanging around. My partner and I bought a house that was built in the 1700’s so we have been slowly doing things and improving parts that we did not have a lot of time for due to hectic schedules and commutes to work.
What do you do more of these days? And less?
Well I train considerably less. No more 13 sessions a week, 15,000 throws per year and tons and tons of weightlifting. I spend more time training to feel good, and less time chasing extra distance in my throws. I also spend more time in nature, exploring new challenges and less time in and out of suitcases, aircrafts and hotels.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration at this time?
It is and always will be my family. You know, it’s fascinating to me how they managed to raise myself and my brother to be the human beings we are today. My Dad was my coach for many years in my athletics career and I can honestly say that the measures that he and my Mum went to, to provide for myself and my brother are incomprehensible. If I could somehow manage to follow my parents formula for raising a family and securing strong values in my children, I will be incredibly happy.
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