Date: 19th February 2015

** Media Release **

New sponsorship agreement with Australia Post paves way for parity.

Female athletes competing in this year’s Women’s Gift at Stawell will be racing for equal prize money under a new sponsorship agreement with Australia Post.

The prize money for the 120m race will increase from $6,000 to $60,000 with first place taking home $40,000, the same amount as the prize winner of the iconic Stawell Gift Final.

For the first time in the event’s 134-year history female athletes will be competing for prize money of this magnitude, making the Australia Post Women’s Gift and the Stawell Gift the two richest footraces on the Australian athletics calendar.

The prize money parity comes as a result of a new three-year partnership with Australia Post, following 20 years of support for the event.

Australia Post General Manager of Human Resources Catherine Walsh said Australia Post has worked in partnership with the Stawell Athletic Club for many years to help build the profile and stature of the internationally recognised Stawell Gift.

“With the Stawell Gift in such a strong position, Australia Post will now direct its energy to supporting the Women’s Gift. As an organisation, we are passionate about diversity and equality and this partnership aligns to our core values. The aspiration is for the Women’s Gift to become as successful as the Stawell Gift, providing a platform for new talent and attracting the world’s best athletes,” Ms Walsh said.

Stawell Athletic Club committee member Robert Irvine said the increased prize money was a significant milestone for both the 134-year old event and more generally for sport in Australia.

“The Stawell Gift is one of the most iconic and prestigious events on the Australian sporting calendar. Today, thanks to Australia Post, the Stawell Athletic Club is proud to be one of the few major sporting events offering equal prize money for men and women in sport in Australia,” Mr Irvine said.

Mr Irvine said the event, which attracts more than 1600 athletes a year, is certain to grow in competitors as a result of the increased prize money.

“With a prize pool of $60,000, we expect the race to become more attractive to elite athletes both Australia-wide and internationally,” he said.

Victorian Minister for Sport John Eren MP said the Victorian Government was pleased to see Australia Post supporting the Women’s Gift.

“The Victorian Government has committed to a further four years of funding to the Stawell Gift, and are proud to continue to partner with sponsors and the Stawell Athletic Club to deliver this iconic event,” Minister Eren said.

“Events such as these attract significant visitors to our State, boost the economy and increase participation in sport throughout communities, and I would encourage sports loving Victorians to get along to the 2015 Stawell Gift.”

In the past, the Stawell Gift carnival has hosted a number of high-profile female athletes including Cathy Freeman, Tamsyn Lewis, Jana Pittman, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Melissa Breen.

Melissa Breen, who currently holds the Australian 100m sprint record and won the Women’s Gift in 2012, said prize money parity was a dream come true.

“We run the same distances, we train the same hours, we love the sport equally and now, thanks to the Australia Post and Stawell Athletic Club, men and women will be racing for the same prize money,” Breen said.

I’m sure the boost in prize money will see many of the best female athletes from across the country support the Stawell Gift, as I have since 2009. The registration process for competing is still open, so I encourage my fellow athletes to get involved and chase the prize pool”.

Breen has registered to compete in the Australia Post Women’s Gift at this year’s event, along with the 70m and 200m events.

“The Stawell Gift carnival is such an awesome weekend on and off the track and I look forward to racing there this Easter, and hopefully getting the win!”

The 2015 Stawell Gift takes place this Easter weekend (April 3-6), with tickets on sale now. For all information on the event please visit www.stawellgift.com.au

For media enquiries, please contact:
Chloe Kennedy
Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment
0400 217 662

Michelle Skehan
Australia Post
0477 367 485

About the Stawell Gift
An icon of Australian sport, the Stawell Gift has been held in all but four years since 1878, and is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious foot races. Every Easter thousands of runners and fans of athletics from all over Australia make their way to Central Park, in the Victorian town of Stawell, for the event. The races are run on grass with athletes handicapped according to form and ability, making for competitive and exciting athletics. With a true carnival atmosphere off the track, the Stawell Gift features the ever-popular fashions on the field competition, along with a betting ring and the new Gift Enclosure hospitality area. There are plenty of activities for the kids, including an Easter egg hunt, face painting, sport clinics, entertainers, rides and an animal nursery.

Comments are closed.