Bates breaks free to achieve goals
HAVING shed 8kg in Perth, international hockey player Tim Bates returned to Ipswich in tip-top condition.
He’s heading back to Western Australia feeling even better after recovering from injury and relaxing in his home city.
The 2012 Olympics prospect rejoins the Australian squad in Perth tomorrow after his first two-month break since heading west in 2009.
Bates broke away from his North Tivoli-based family and identical twin brother Michael in his quest for higher honours.
Despite a hand injury setback last year, it’s been a productive move.
The 80kg, 185cm apprentice electrician debuted for Australia and is in contention for the London Olympics.
“You only get out what you put in,” said Bates, 22, revealing his sporting philosophy.
“I’ve been training pretty hard.
“I haven’t picked up a hockey stick in probably four months but physically I reckon I’m close to being the fittest I’ve ever been.
“To get my body to where I’m at now is what I need.
“I’ve just got to keep working hard, put my best foot forward and see what happens.”
Bates concedes it was a huge decision to leave Ipswich, especially his close brother Michael.
However, “Batesy” settled quickly into his new life and started impressing the right people at Australia’s hockey headquarters.
After returning to Perth this weekend, Bates will prepare for the next Australian Institute of Sport camp where Michael will reunite with him.
But while Michael remains based in Ipswich, Tim is focused on staying in Perth to pursue his Olympic dream.
“I have to sit a two-week exam for college (in Ipswich) to get my trade ticket then I’ll cruise back over,” Tim said.
Completing that achievement represents a six-year commitment from Tim, who continued to study and work while building his international hockey career.
“It’s been tough but I wouldn’t take it back,” the former Easts midfield/striker said.
“I doubt if I didn’t pack up and move over I wouldn’t have been picked for the Kookaburras like I did.
“It’s just good to be in front of the selectors and coaches and just being there and training hard against everyone else.”
Tim thanks his ever-supportive parents Danny and Therese for helping him chase his goals.
Despite their financial commitment – and even being robbed three times – Danny and Therese have always helped Tim and Michael give hockey their best shot.
“It (the support) has been pretty much everything,” Tim said. “They have always just been there.
“In the end, they just want us to be happy.”
Tim and Michael have enjoyed tremendous success together over many years. They shared in the Australian under-21’s Junior World Cup bronze medal success in 2009, have represented Australia A teams together and were part of Queensland’s comprehensive national league title triumph last year.
The twins also shared in a memorable Easts grand final victory in 2008 – when they raced back from a losing Brisbane decider to help the Ipswich Tigers savour glory.
“It was the passion of playing in Ipswich ever since growing up,” Tim said, glad he and Michael achieved the feat before chasing higher goals.
“It was just a close-knit group out there with Easts.”
But after going solo and arriving in Perth in October 2009, Tim Bates quickly set about building a reputation alongside some of Australia’s most successful sportsmen.
They include Tim’s favourite hockey player Jamie Dwyer, often rated the best in the world.
“He’s got the quality there that you can’t really question,” said Tim, who also admires the courage of cycling great and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong.
Queensland Academy of Sport scholarship holder Tim said he was coping well in his new Perth environment, just two minutes from the hockey stadium.
“It’s given me a bit more independence,” he said. “It’s the first time away from home and just trying to find your feet. It was a lot easier than I what I thought it would.”
This year is relatively quiet internationally with the Azlan Shah Cup in May and a European tour in July. But Tim is looking further afield.
“Everything is working towards London really,” Tim said. “It’s only two years now so it’s game on.”