Calls to limit sugar in Aust soft drinks

Australian doctors want soft drink manufacturers to voluntarily limit the amount of sugar they put in drinks.

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The head of the professional body representing GPs says it’s time to acknowledge the existing federal government will never introduce a sugar tax so other practical ways of tackling obesity should be considered.

With a “damning” seven out of 10 Australian adults estimated to be either overweight or obese by 2025, Dr Bastian Seidel says its time for common sense solutions to the obesity epidemic.

“The issue of obesity and Australians being overweight doesn’t go away so we keep talking and talking about it and we actually don’t take any action,” said Dr Seidel, the head of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

Having reached a “roadblock” on a sugar tax, Dr Seidel conceded for many medical professionals it probably “doesn’t make any sense” to keep arguing for it.

“It doesn’t seem like a sugar tax is not going to happen with he current government being in place,” Dr Seidel said.

“We need to have a look at what other countries are doing to achieve the same result,” he said.

The head of the RACGP has urged Australia’s policy makers to look to Singapore’s recent soft drinks deal as an example.

In August, seven drinks manufacturers, including Coca Cola, Pepsi Co and Nestle, agreed with the Singaporean government to a 12 per cent cap on sugar by 2020.The deal was struck as a way of curbing the incidence of diabetes.

“If you can do this in Singapore why can’t you do this in Australia. It’s in the industry interest, it’s in the politicians interest and it certainly would be in the interests of medical organisation such as the RACGP,” Dr Seidel told AAP.

“We should be open minded, we should be seeking dialogue with the big soda companies and make it work. It would be a common sense approach in the right direction and everybody wins” he said.

Australian GPs identify obesity as one of the detrimental health issues of the future.

The RACGP’s General Practice: Health of the Nation 2017 report found GPs identified obesity and complications from obesity as one of the most significant health problems Australia faces today and will continue to face in coming years as the incidence of obesity continues to rise.

At present two in three Australian adults and one in four school aged children are overweight or obese.

Based on the current trends, by 2025 70 per cent of Australians will be impacted by obesity, placing significant implications on society.

Dr Seidel says all Australians should speak to their GP about weight management.

“Early intervention by a GP plays a key role in an attempt to change the weight gain trajectory that patients with obesity often find themselves on,” Dr Seidel said.

The RACGP inaugural Walk Against Obesity will be held in Melbourne on Sunday to raise awareness of the issues associated with obesity ahead of World Obesity Day on Wednesday.

Rain threatens to slow down McLaughlin

The threat of rain at Bathurst looks like being the only thing that can slow down Supercars series champion Scott McLaughlin.

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A maiden Bathurst title appears McLaughlin’s to lose after the Ford gun claimed pole in an astonishing two minutes, 03.83 seconds – the fastest Supercars lap ever seen at Mount Panorama.

He became the first to crack the 2min:04sec barrier on the mountain after shattering the record mark he had set barely 24 hours earlier in Friday’s practice.

The New Zealander was reduced to tears when he realised the enormity of his achievement.

But he quickly regained his composure after wet weather was predicted for Sunday’s 161-lap classic.

“It looks like there will be a fair bit of rain tomorrow so it will be completely different to today,” McLaughlin said after topping the 26-strong field.

“We start on pole but we have 26 spots to lose.

“We will worry about that when we get there, work out a plan – but I am pretty confident.”

No wonder.

McLaughlin’s qualifying effort has been described as the new “Lap of the Gods”, first coined when fellow flying Kiwi Greg Murphy shattered the lap record back in 2003.

“I dreamed of doing this since I was a kid,” McLaughlin said of his record.

“We’ve still got plenty of work ahead of us tomorrow, but what an incredible day.”

Sunday will be even better if he can address his Achilles heel – his starts.

Besides Bathurst’s infamous ever changing weather, McLaughlin’s other concern for Sunday is his lacklustre race start reaction time from the front row of the grid.

He has had plenty of practice from the pointy end – for the 18th straight race he will start from the front row on Sunday.

And he claimed a Supercars record 14th pole for the season on Saturday.

Not surprisingly McLaughlin backed himself to address the sole chink in his armour despite lining up against Holden’s fast starting David Reynolds on the front row on Sunday.

“I am getting better, I think,” he said.

“Last round at Sandown was better, and on our test day I did about a billion starts.

“Davey and (third fastest) Mark Winterbottom are very strong and I am not as amazing as them at it but I am getting more consistent.”

Co-driver predicted Bathurst lap record

No one saw it coming – except for one man.

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Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin has revealed co-driver Alex Premat accurately predicted his qualifying time before setting an astonishing lap record to claim pole for Sunday’s Bathurst 1000.

Not that McLaughlin believed him at the time.

Then again, few would have.

Ford’s McLaughlin left the Bathurst faithful in shock and himself in tears of joy when he clocked two minutes, 03.83 seconds – the fastest Supercars lap ever seen on the infamous Mount Panorama street circuit.

He became the first to crack the 2min 04sec barrier on the mountain after shattering the record mark he had set barely 24 hours earlier in Friday’s practice.

Everyone from Supercars great Mark Skaife to the drunk bloke who did a trackside haka for New Zealand driver McLaughlin could scarcely believe the time.

Except maybe Premat.

“It’s funny. Alex got out of the car after practice (on Saturday) and he told me there’s a 2min03.8sec in it – I thought he was joking at the time,” McLaughlin said.

“I never thought we could do it.”

Then Holden cult hero David Reynolds threw down the gauntlet at Saturday’s top 10 qualifying.

Reynolds appeared in the box seat for pole with an impressive 2:04.27 with just McLaughlin’s flying lap left in the qualifying session.

“Davey did a pretty awesome lap and I was like ‘you bastard, I better have a crack here’,” McLaughlin said.

“I am buzzing. It is something I will never forget – it is pretty special.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

McLaughlin, 24, went on to claim another Supercars record – a 14th pole for the season.

But McLaughlin baulked at his mind blowing qualifying time being considered the new “Lap of the Gods”.

McLaughlin’s hero, fellow Kiwi Greg Murphy, earned the tag back in 2003 with a record breaking qualifying effort that stunned the Bathurst faithful.

Murphy may be a four-time King of the Mountain but he will always be remembered for that lap.

His milestone still endears the Supercars faithful despite being left behind after six time Bathurst champ Craig Lowndes first eclipsed it in 2010 on a resurfaced Mount Panorama.

McLaughlin may have done his best to ensure it becomes a distant memory after his scorching qualifying effort.

But McLaughlin still looked back on Murphy’s 2003 heroics fondly.

“That was the main thing that went through my mind when I saw the time (Murphy’s Lap of the Gods),” McLaughlin said.

“That day back then was a pretty special one not only as a fan but for New Zealand as a country.

“It was a day I will never forget – this is another.”

McLaughlin will have a maiden Bathurst title in his sights when the 161-lap Great Race starts at 11.10am on Sunday.

Bullets to juggle NBA clash with NBL hopes

The Brisbane Bullets will have one eye firmly focused on their NBL round two clash against the Cairns Taipans as they take the court in the US next weekend.

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The Bullets will back up their opening-round loss in Perth this weekend with an exhibition game against NBA side Phoenix on Saturday, as a part of the new partnership between the two leagues.

They will then return to Brisbane to host the Taipans on October 20 and will back that up with a tough schedule of games against Illawarra, New Zealand and Melbourne before the end of the month.

Thankfully, only the game against Illawarra, of the NBL contests, is away from Brisbane.

Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said that a lot of planning has gone in to expected management of players over this tough period.

“I’m not going to play people into the ground,” he said. “It’s a 48-minute game and Kicks (Dan Kickert) isn’t going to see 48 minutes.

“We need to be smart with load management and we have to be smart with giving people opportunities.

“We have some young guys who deserve to go and get opportunities and learn from the experience as well.

“It’s a chance to continue to work and get better as a team.

“There are things we can work on in that game that can help us when coming back against Cairns.”

The Bullets players spent no time preparing for Phoenix during the lead-up to Saturday’s clash against the Wildcats. They pushed the reigning premiers for the first three-quarters, before losing by 10 points.

Lemanis said that the challenge the club faces is representing the NBL and themselves well, but returning back home in good enough shape to tackle the schedule that faces them.

But by the time they get back, teammate Mitchell Young will hopefully be a step closer to returning to action.

The 206cm forward is suffering from glandular fever, but was this week given the all-clear to begin cardio work. He won’t travel with his team to the US, but hopes to get the all clear to start training soon.

Buddy inspired Sambono to follow AFL dream

Adam Sambono was a couple of years away from playing organised football when a visit from Lance Franklin changed his life.

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Franklin was still at Hawthorn, around 2011 or ’12 when the indigenous star and several teammates visited the community of Nauiyu, or Daly River, about 220km south of Darwin.

The locals took their visitors hunting and Sambono talked to Franklin.

“I was really shocked, meeting a famous person,” Sambono told AAP

“I actually talked to him, asked him about the AFL and he told me a bit about what I could achieve in my future.

“He actually put that in my mind.”

When Sambono met Franklin, the extent of his football experience was local scratch matches.

In 2014, he went to Darwin to try his luck.

This season, Sambono starred for NT Thunder in the NEAFL and won the league’s rising star award.

That led to the 20-year-old’s invitation to the AFL draft combine last week at Etihad Stadium.

“It’s amazing I’m getting this opportunity,” he said.

If he is drafted next month, Sambono will be the first player from Nauiyu to make an AFL list.

Like Franklin, Sambono is indigenous, a forward who boasts impressive speed.

But that’s where the similarities end, with the 188cm Sambono only weighing 69kg.

Sambono laughs when asked about his slight build, saying he is well aware that if he joins an AFL club he will become well-acquainted with the weights room.

But he packs a good leap, finishing in the top 10 for the standing vertical jump at the draft combine.

Former North Melbourne player Matt Campbell is a mentor for Sambono, who admits to nerves about what is happening.

“It’s going to be a massive challenge for me – so different, full-on,” he said about the prospect of joining an AFL club.

But then he watches the AFL grand final and is reminded about why he is doing this.

Daniel Rioli, another Top End indigenous export, helped Richmond end their long premiership drought.

“Watching him in the grand final it’s something special, a Territory boy,” he said.

“A couple of years ago, he was in the same situation I’m in now and he was drafted. It’s something I look up to.

“I rate him as probably a role model for me.”