Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 23rd February 2012
With the London 2012 Olympic Games just 155 days away, unfinished business at Central Park has driven 2003 world 100m champion Kim Collins to have another crack at Gift glory and the $40,000 first prize this Easter.
Run out in the semi-finals last year, the Australia Post Stawell Gift was the perfect launching pad for an outstanding comeback season for Collins, who went on to win the bronze medal in the blue-riband 100m final at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Korea, before adding another bronze alongside his St Kitts and Nevis teammates in the 4x100m relay.
Like fine wine, Collins has proved that he is only getting better with age. Set to turn 36 just before the Gift this Easter, the sprint sensation has made it unmistakably clear that he is still a force to be reckoned with, recently clocking 6.56 seconds over 60m indoors in Birmingham against world-class competition.
A three-time Olympic Games finalist, his best result to date has been sixth place in the 100m final in Athens 2004, and in the 200m final in Beijing 2008. With London drawing closer and closer, Collins is hoping to replicate his outstanding 2011 where it all began, at Central Park.
“I want to go back as it’s a great experience and now that I know how it all works, I want to give it another shot,” said Collins.
“It’s an interesting race, running on grass inside those small lanes, having to hammer in my starting blocks and giving everyone else a big head start.
“This is going to be a big year for me and the London Olympics are not far away. The Stawell Gift was a great starting point for my season in 2011, and I hope it can set me up for even more success in London.”
Hailing from the tiny two-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies, the five-time world championships medallist put his nation on the map back in 2003, becoming the first Caribbean athlete to win a world 100m title.
A sub-10 second runner over 100m on four occasions, Collins produced his lifetime best of 9.98 seconds in winning the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Collins initially announced his retirement from international athletics in 2009, however he decided that he was not done yet and dusted off his spikes for another crack at international glory.
“Kim had a fantastic time in Australia and he was an extremely popular figure at Central Park,” said Stawell Athletic Club president Trevor Skurrie. “We’re delighted that he’s keen to come back, especially in such an important year with the London Olympics just around the corner.”
Australia Post Stawell Gift promoter David Culbert said that Collins had been talking about returning to Stawell for the last 12 months.
“Kim had an fantastic year in 2011, winning two bronze medals at the world championships to add to his ever growing list of accolades. Athletes are creatures of habit and he’s keen to replicate the same build up ahead of London,” said Culbert.
“He was just knocked out in the semi finals in 2011 but now that he has that Gift experience under his belt, we’re really looking forward to seeing what he can produce on the track this time around and to see if he can get his hands on the big cheque this Easter.”
The 131st edition of the Australia Post Stawell Gift carnival will be staged over the Easter long weekend from Friday, 6 April to Monday, 9 April 2012.
The carnival kicks off with the Calcutta on Friday night and is followed by three days of thrilling racing, including the Driscoll McIllree and Dickinson Ladies Day and Family Day, all culminating in the 131st running of the Australia Post Stawell Gift on Easter Monday.
For those still looking for accommodation at Easter, check out Stawell Central, a temporary accommodation precinct located just minutes from Central Park. Further information can be found on www.stawellgift.com.
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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