Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 28th March 2013
By his own admission two-time Australia Post Stawell Gift winner Josh Ross was born to run at Stawell.
Nicknamed ‘Ross the Boss’ after his first Stawell win in 2003, the inform fast man is ready to take on former world record holder Asafa Powell and 152 other speedsters chasing the $40,000 first prize in Australia’s richest footrace.
“It’s basically where I was born, where I was born into pro running,” Ross said.
“It’s a kind of spiritual place for me and as soon as you walk through those gates and smell the grass, the atmosphere, something grabs you inside. It’s a very special place.”
The current Australian 100m champion, Ross will seek to become the first man in 132 editions to win the Gift three times.
He has no shallow claim, with Ross already creating history by taking the Bay Sheffield Gift in December off scratch.
The 32-year-old will return to Central Park for the first time since 2009. Having been run out in the semi finals that year, Ross entered a brief retirement before returning to competition in late 2011. Promising 2013 results have him bursting with confidence ahead of the Easter showdown.
“It’s hunger, it’s mindset, it’s self belief, it’s the whole package.”
“It’s your training, it’s your lead up, everything has to be perfect. Your moons have to align on the day, and they did for me in 2005,” Ross said.
Ross had hoped to have a handicap of 1.5metres, but the handicapper felt otherwise and handed him a slender 1m start on the Powell who will begin from scratch.
“On Easter Monday, it’ll take a miracle, but I’m making it happen. I’m in the best shape of my life, there is no reason why I can’t win,” he said.
After his first Stawell win in 2003 off a handy 7m handicap, Ross went on to become the fourth Stawell winner to compete for Australia at the Olympic Games when he made the 100m semi finals in Athens in 2004.
Returning to Central Park the following year, Ross created history by becoming the first Australian to win the Gift off scratch, joining Madagascan Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa (1972) as the only other man to do so. In the process Ross joined Bill Howard (1966 and 1967) and Barry Foley (1970 and 1972) to win the Gift twice.
Amongst those names, Ross is seeking to elevate himself to the top of the pantheon of Stawell winners by becoming the first man to win the Gift three times.
The 132nd Australia Post Stawell Gift carnival kicks off this tomorrow night with the Calcutta and Call of the Card, followed by the heats of the Australia Post Stawell Gift on Saturday. The semi final and final will be held on Easter Monday.
Visit www.stawellgift.com or the SAC office in Stawell now for your individual, family or three day weekend event pass.
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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