Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 23rd February 2017
Australian record holders Melissa Breen and Lauren Wells have confirmed they will make a return to what has become a regular annual trip to Stawell for the 136th Stawell Easter Gift.
Both have tasted success on the turf of Central Park, with Melissa winning the Australia Post Women’s Gift in 2012 and Lauren the 400m last year.
“I’m looking forward to coming back down to Stawell this Easter. I’ve been coming every year since 2009 and I was lucky enough to win the women’s gift in 2012,” Breen said.
A six-time Australian Champion, dual Olympian and Australian 100m record holder with 11.11seconds, Breen is one of the greats of Australian sprinting.
The 26-year-old clocked 11.33 (+2.0) on her home track in Canberra on the weekend and is keen to put in the long spikes for another tilt at the $40,000 winner’s cheque in the Australia Post Women’s Stawell Gift.
For the third year in a row, the Australia Post Women’s Stawell Gift will feature equal prize money to the men’s race.
The last two years have seen the massive pay days’ head to Ballarat teenagers Talia Martin in 2016 and Grace O’Dwyer in 2015. With Breen’s recent form looking good, it is expected Australia’s fastest woman will once again start from the scratch mark. It’s an honour the speedster is prepared to take in her stride.
“This year I’m looking forward to being in the mix again,” she declared.
Fellow Olympian and training partner Lauren Wells is also in some staggering form at present. The 28-year-old last week ran 52.97seconds for the 400m, just a stride short of her personal best of 52.82.
The two-time Olympic semi-finalists is better considered a 400m hurdler, but recently showed her versatility by breaking the Australian 200m hurdles record. Wells clocked 25.79seconds to eclipse the record that was set 46 years ago by two-time Olympic medallist Pam Kilborn-Ryan in 1971.
After tasting success at Central Park in 2016 and in great current form, Wells said she was thrilled to be heading back to the famous race this Easter.
“I had a fantastic time winning the women’s 400m at Stawell last year.
“I can’t wait to come back again this Easter at Central Park,” she added.
The pair will once again join forces with their coach Matt Beckenham to help bring joy to the kids at the kids clinic on Easter Sunday. Beckenham, a Sydney Olympian, will bring a number of his squad members for the weekend to participate and run the kid’s clinic, something that Breen said was a highlight of the weekend for her.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone to seeing everyone down at the Stawell Gift, especially all the kids on Easter Sunday morning for the kid’s clinic,” Breen added.
The kid’s clinic kicks of Cadbury Family Day at Central Park, with loads of fun activities including face painting, airbrush tattoos, an animal nursery, jumping castle and much more.
2017 will also see the return of the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt which includes a special visit from the Cadbury Easter Bunny.
The 2017 Stawell Easter Gift runs from Saturday 15 – Monday 17 April.
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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