Tim Blair, The Daily Telegraph August 22, 2016 BESIDES ridiculous levels of fitness and superhuman devotion to training, there is another important difference between average human beings and the athletes returning from Rio with gold medals in their luggage. That is their ability to concentrate — to focus entirely on the moment, excluding all possible distractions. It’s an extraordinary talent and a difficult one to maintain. Former Australian Test cricket captain Greg Chappell used to consciously set himself several levels of awareness and concentration while batting because holding complete focus all the time was so draining. He’d reserve absolute concentration only for the moments when he was facing a delivery. In a similar fashion, airline pilots train for circumstances that are extremely rare. When something goes wrong, and an ill-judged decision may result in disaster, that training and an associated intense focus are called upon. For police, a terrorist siege is the equivalent of losing an engine at 12,000m. Many lives depend on each step taken thereafter. Talk to pilots and they’ll tell you that the key during any emergency is to remain in the present — not to be bothered with any distracting concerns about what might happen or could happen or won’t happen. NSW Deputy commissioner Cath Burn leaves the Lindt cafe siege inquest / Picture: John Grainger Some of Australia’s most senior police could learn from athletes and pilots. Last week we discovered from the inquest into Sydney’s deadly Martin Place siege that senior police allowed themselves, even while the siege was in progress, to be concerned by fears of a backlash against Muslims. Instead of maintaining a fixed focus on the 2014 siege to the exclusion of all else, they actually devoted time and thought to something that was never going to happen and in fact never has happened to any great extent. The “backlash against Muslims” is a modern