Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 23rd March 2015
Young guns Jack Hale and Ella Nelson the ones to watch at this year’s Woolworths Stawell Gift
Tasmanian teen sensation Jack Hale, one of the youngest in the field for the 2015 Woolworths Stawell Gift, will be hoping to make a name for himself in the pro-running circuit when he makes his debut at Central Park this Easter weekend.
Following the release of the official handicaps today, the 16-year-old has been handed a mark of 2.25m.
Hale is in good form following recent wins at both the Tasmanian State Championships over the weekend and the 100m & 200m at the national Junior Athletic Championships, qualifying him for the World Youth Championships in Colombia in July. Hale clocked a wind-assisted 10.13 seconds at the Australian All Schools Track and Field Championships last year.
His last Gift appearance at the Bay Sheffield in Adelaide saw him run out of his semi-final, off a handicap of 2.75m
Mitchell Williams-Swain has the difficult task of running off scratch as he attempts to win the Woolworths Stawell Gift for the second time. The backmarker first won the event in 2011 and was favourite going into the 2013 Gift final before a false start ended his chances of victory. Joining Williams-Swain at the back of the field is Australian
World Championship representative Matt Davies, off a mark of 0.75m.
2013 Gift winner Andrew Robinson is registered to run, with a mark of 4m, however is unlikely to compete due to an Achilles injury.
Former Jamaican sprinter and member of the bobsled team Khan Marr (3.25m) will be returning to Stawell after a year off. The 32-year-old most recently competed at the Victorian Track & Field Championships in February, running the 100m in a wind-assisted 10.74 seconds.
For the first time in the history of the 134-year old event, athletes competing in the Australia Post Women’s Gift will be racing for prize parity of the Woolworths Stawell Gift, a total prize pool of the $60,000.
With 121 women competing in the event, it is arguably one of the strongest fields in recent years.
Australia’s 100m record holder Melissa Breen, a regular at Stawell, has been handed the scratch mark and will be hoping for a repeat of her 2012 win. Breen will be running down New South Wales’ Ella Nelson, who recently upstaged Breen and Sally Pearson at the Sydney Track Classic to win the 200m.
Nelson, running off a mark of 2.75m, will be one to watch with her known 200m strength to go along with a recent season best of 11.72 seconds (-0.7).
Nelson will start 0.25m in front of Commonwealth Games representative Ashleigh Whittaker who is also showing good recent form. Whittaker (PB 11.51s) recently ran 11.62 seconds into a -1.3m head wind to challenge Breen in the Melbourne World Challenge.
Last year’s winner Holly Dobbyn (6.5m) is back to reclaim victory, no doubt vying for the significant increased prize money. Australian World Juniors sprinter Maddie Coates (4.5m) and three-time Olympian Lauren Wells (5.25m) are also in the mix.
A full list of handicaps can be found at www.stawellgift.com.
2015 Woolworths Stawell Gift – Backmarkers
Mitchell Williams-Swain QLD 0m
Matt Davies QLD 0.75m
Jordan Caldow SA 1.75m
Matt Carter VIC 2m
Jake Hammond NSW 2m
Jack Hale TAS 2.25m
Luke Stevens VIC 2.5m
Khan Marr VIC 3.25m
Andrew Robinson TAS 4m
Ben Mispelhorn QLD 4m
2015 Australia Post Women’s Gift – Backmarkers
Melissa Breen ACT 0m
Ashleigh Whittaker VIC 2.5m
Ella Nelson NSW 2.75m
Monica Brennan VIC 3.5m
Elly Graf NSW 4.5m
Maddie Coates VIC 4.5m
Angela Byrt VIC 5m
Kendra Hubbard VIC 5m
Jacinta Doyle NSW 5m
Nicole Kay QLD 5.25m
Lauren Wells ACT 5.25m
This year’s Woolworths Stawell Gift will be broadcast on the Seven Network with a two and a half hour live telecast on Easter Monday. Highlights of the event will follow on Fox Sports at 10.30pm.
The 2015 Woolworths Stawell Gift will be held over the Easter Weekend, from Friday 3rd April to Monday, 6th April at Central Park, Stawell. Tickets are now on sale. For all information please visit www.stawellgift.com.
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Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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