I can remember interviewing Jobie Dajka in a small room underneath the Dunc Gray Velodrome for Cycling Central.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM




It
was about six months after the Athens Olympics and this brash, but
determined track sprinter was making a bold comeback to the world of
track cycling at the age of 23, after being kicked off the team prior
to the Games.

Here was his chance to prove to the sport's officialdom they were wrong.

Video: A look back at Jobie Dajka.

He
had just moved to Melbourne from his hometown in Adelaide, linked up
with respected coach John Beasley – his aim – to attempt to make the
Australian squad for the world championships of 2005.

It was a big step in the right direction for a bloke who obviously had some personal issues to overcome.

But
he was so hungry to repeat the performance of 2002, when he burst onto
the scene as a relatively unknown 18 year old, to snare the keirin gold
medal at the world championships.

During the interview at Dunc
Gray Jobie told me he watched the Olympics very closely on television,
but what surprised me was when he admitted to "eating pizza and
drinking a slab of beer almost every night".

He said had put on 20 kilograms in weight and returning to the track - at the time - was furthest from his mind.

But
return he did and I can clearly remember him raising the eyebrows of
many local coaches, when he collected a medal at the national
championships that particular weekend.

I too, was of the belief, if anyone could make a successful return it was Jobie.

He
was a true track sprinter whose rivalry with the likes of Ryan Bayley
and Mark French are legendary to those who followed the big names on
the velodrome.

His distinctive blond hair extenuated his pop
star persona - he simply was a likable larrikin with talent on the race
track to burn.

Apart from his obvious sporting qualities, I
found Jobie to be a true gentleman, always offering a handshake
whenever we reunited at cycling events.

He always had the courtesy to ask how I was doing, which is a rare characteristic from success driven sportsmen and women.

I'm
told Jobie simply mixed with the "wrong crowd" during the final years
of his life, however, it's not for me to elaborate on his personal
circumstances in this forum.

I can only guess his eventual
demise was as a result of wanting a way out and there was probably no
one he could ultimately lean on for support.

Personally, I'm
deeply saddened by Jobie Dajka's passing. I can only hope his legacy as
a sportsman and genuinely honest human being will not be forgotten by
Australia's cycling community.