Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 22nd February 2018
Stawell, VIC Feb 22: Track star Josh Ross has announced he will run in this year’s Stawell Gift at the iconic Central Park, Stawell, the final of which takes place on Easter Monday April 2. In recognition of his extraordinary achievements at the iconic
event Ross will also be inducted into the Stawell Hall of Fame as a Legend on Friday March 30.
The fastest Australian over 100m on home soil, Josh Ross is one of only three athletes to win the Stawell Gift twice (2003, 2005). No sprinter has achieved three wins in the historical carnival Final in its 137th year history. Josh Ross would like to achieve an historical treble this April.
“I always turn up to a race looking to win,” said Ross. “I am there to win.”
Josh is training with Newcastle based Gerrard Keating, already a Stawell Gift winning trainer (Nathan Allan 2007). The pair have been working together for the past few months, originally with the aim of winning the Stawell Gift next year but Josh believes he will be ready to conquer Stawell in just over a month from now.
“I fully endorse what Josh believes, he’s training well and is in great shape,” said Keating. “He’s not short of confidence, but you never doubt a champion. When he’s got his mojo on he can do anything, he really can. If it doesn’t happen this year then definitely next.”
“I feel I have unfinished business in the sport so to win the Stawell Gift three times and make history would be something very special and put me at the top,” said Ross.
Despite not getting out of his heat at Bay Sheffield in South Australia in December, Josh believes he is better placed now and will be even more so by Easter. “I will have lost a few kilos and be in better shape by the time Stawell comes around.”
He also believes he will start off scratch at Easter. “I’ve won every major Gift in Australia off scratch so to get anything else would be a surprise to me.”. A win off scratch would also take him into the history books as the only person to do that twice.
“The Stawell Gift is one of my greatest achievements, and a highlight of my career that I’m very proud of. I hold the Stawell Gift close to my heart, and I speak for many Australians when I say that the Stawell Gift is much more than just a 120m race, it’s an exciting cultural event that has become a part of me, and runs through our blood. I’m extremely honoured that in my life I was a part of its rich history.
“I’m more well known for my success at Stawell than my seven national titles and two Olympic finals, that’s how special the Stawell Gift is within the Australian community.”
Josh will join the likes of Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa (Ravelo), Bill Howard and Warren Edmonson when he is inducted as a Legend into the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame on Friday April 30.
“It is only fitting that Josh Ross becomes a Legend of the Gift,” said Stawell Athletic Club President Kieren McIntosh. “Ravelo was the first Stawell Gift runner to win off scratch with Josh Ross the second. Nothing is impossible in this event and it wouldn’t surprise me if Josh says he can do it, he may even match Bill Howard who won back to back Stawell Gifts in the 1960’s.”
“To stand along-side the likes of Ravelo and Edmonson (the US Stawell winner from 1977) is truly an honour. As a kid, I dreamed of winning Stawell one day but I never would have imagined that I’d be inducted into the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame as a legend fifteen years later. I’m happy that my hard work and dedication to the sport and to my craft has been recognised and that Australia has enjoyed watching me run over the years. I thank the Stawell Athletic club for this incredible privilege.”
This is not the first time Josh Ross has returned to athletics after a break in his career. After deciding to retire from athletics in 2009, Ross proved he still had it when he returned to win his sixth national 100m title in 2012, compete in the London Olympics and the following year take the 100m and 200m double at the Australian Championships.
Three days of action-packed racing, activities and entertainment make up the 2018 Stawell Gift Carnival. The off-track action is headlined by Fashions on the Field which takes centre stage on Easter Saturday (March 31, 2018) with $2500 in prize money and gifts up for grabs. Easter Sunday is Cadbury® Family Day at Stawell with The Cadbury® Easter Egg Hunt headlining a fantastic schedule of child-friendly activities including an athletics clinic, an animal nursery and plenty of other organised fun for the kids.
Athletes can now register to compete at http://www.stawellgift.com/on-the-track/athlete-registration-2018/.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance of the Stawell Gift here. Adult concession tickets start from just $12, while Child tickets are free on Cadbury® Family Day.
For further information, please contact Jane Owen at 360 Sport and Entertainment on 0407936005 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Stawell Gift
The Stawell Gift Carnival is one of Australia’s most iconic sporting events, which incorporates the famous 120 Metre handicap foot race known as the Stawell Gift. Run on grass, athletes are handicapped according to form and ability, and start off varying marks accordingly. Competitors in the men’s and women’s 120 Metre Gifts compete for a massive $40,000 first prize each as well as a place in Australian sporting folklore. 2017 winners were Matt Rizzo and Liv Ryan. The Stawell Gift is conducted each Easter in Stawell, Victoria. The 2018 carnival will take place from Saturday March 31 – Monday April 2, 2018. More information is available at www.stawellgift.com
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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