Tamsyn in Stawell farewell

Date: 14th March 2013

One of Stawell’s perennial favourites, Tamsyn Manou (formerly Lewis), will run at Central Park for the final time in 2013.

A long time supporter of the Australia Post Stawell Gift festival, Manou first made the journey to Central Park in 1994 and has missed competing just three years since.

2013 will mark her 17th appearance, with the 34-year-old set to compete in the State of Victoria Strickland Family Women’s Gift – 120m and the Endura Lorraine Donnan Women’s Handicap – 400m events.

Her best result came back in 2000 when she won the women’s 120m Gift. She was the runner-up in the same event in 2009. Though she has never taken out a victory over her more fancied events, the 400m and 800m, her consistent rank of backmarker has also done little to stop Manou coming back and competing in these distances over the journey.

“Stawell is one of my favourite meets in the domestic calendar.  Even when I haven’t competed I’ve been every year since 1994, except for one year,” Manou said.

“The atmosphere and the crowd are what set Stawell apart.  You go to Stawell every Easter and there’s a crowd and they’re cheering and they’re vocal. It takes the pressure off the backmarker because people don’t judge you so much on the times; they judge you on how much you catch up.  Having spent a lot of my career in the 800m in Australia out the front, that’s exciting.  You find yourself lifting and doing ridiculous things on that track because you have to catch them.”

Manou also praised her fellow competitors at Stawell, saying the fellowship amongst other runners was unlike anything she has experienced.

“All the competitors are really fun.  It’s just one of those weekends where socially you have a great time but for training and competing it’s awesome.”

Coming to the end of a celebrated career that commenced as a 15-year-old at the 2004 Commonwealth Games, Manou has amassed an astounding 17 national titles over the 800m, 400m and 400m hurdles. A three time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and three-time Olympian, her career highlight came in 2008 when she caused a major upset to win the 800m gold medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Her personal best for the 800m stands at 1:59.21, a mere two-tenths of a second off Charlene Rendina’s long standing Australian record, placing her second on Australia’s all time list over 800m. Manou has been the only athlete to threaten Rendina’s record since it was set way back in 1976.

Despite missing the London Olympic Games following a selection controversy, Manou has continued to compete for her Sandringham Athletic Club and recently won the Victorian title over 400m.

Stawell Athletic Club president Scotney Hayter said that Tamsyn has long been a favourite at Central Park.

“Whilst her running ability has enthralled spectators at Stawell for many years, it is as much her lively personality and friendliness that has won her numerous fans. Always smiling, Tamsyn is particularly popular among the younger age groups, never too busy to pose for a photo or have a chat, and always a willing participant in the festivities such as the Little Athletics Clinic that takes place during the Easter weekend,” Hayter said.

“An athlete and personality who will be sorely missed by all at the Stawell Gift, there will no doubt be plenty of fans present to show their appreciation for Tamsyn’s efforts over such a long period of time,” Hayter added.

The 132nd Australia Post Stawell Gift carnival will be staged during the Easter long weekend from Friday 29 March to Monday 1 April 2013.

Tamsyn Lewis – Fast Facts

Date of Birth:    20 August 1978 (34)
State:    Victoria
Personal Bests:    400m – 51.42 (Brisbane, 2009)
800m – 1:59.21 (Canberra, 2000)

–    2008 world indoor champion – 800m
–    Three-time Olympian
–    Seventeen-time national champion in the 400m, 800m and 400m hurdles
–    2000 women’s Stawell Gift winner

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