- Created: Tuesday, 26 June 2012 20:35
Daniel Batman, one of the most versatile sprinters in Australian history, has died at the age of 31 in a single car accident in the Northern Territory.
Batman was a popular figure in the Australian teams he competed in over a decade from 1998 to 2008. Sporting a tattoo of the comic hero who shares his surname, Batman was also well-liked within the broader athletics community and widely respected for his personal bests of 10.19 (100m), 20.44 (200m) and 45.02 (400m).The times rank him 9th, =8th and 9th respectively on the Australian all-time list in those events.
Batman shot to prominence when was selected for the 400m and 4x400m in the 2000 Olympics in his hometown of Sydney at the tender age of 19. A torn hamstring during his heat left him unable to finish his only Olympic performance and prevented him from lining up in the 4x400m, who were finalists.
His greatest individual performance on the world stage came in 2003 when he placed sixth in the 400m at the world indoor championships. With a stocky build and powerful acceleration, he was well suited to the tight turns of the indoor track, and he holds the Australian indoor record at 45.93 seconds.
Earlier in his career, Batman was member of the Australian team that won gold in the 4x400m at the 1998 World Junior Championships, setting an Australian junior record of 3:04.74. The team was the first of many he would make during his career, with representative honours in indvidual events at the 2000 Olympics, 2003 & 2005 World Championships and the 2006 Commonwealth Games, as well as being a member of the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams across that period of time.
Domestically, Batman was Australian 200m champion on three occasions (2005, 2006 and 2008) as well as thrice placing on the podium in the 400m.
The news of Batman's death has spread quickly through the athletics community via social media, with many athletes fondly remembering the champion sprinter.
"So sad to hear the news of Daniel Batman's passing. We spent most of our teens on trips together. Condolences to his family," Jana Pittman said via twitter.
Grant Cremer, who was also a member of the 2000 Olympic team, was one of many to remember Batman's socialable nature and competitive spirit.
"Daniel Batman was a fun and often crazy guy who you could always count on for a smile and a laugh, plus a great competitor," Cremer tweeted.
Batman is survived by three young children from two relationships.