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  

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

Please direct all media enquiries to:
Chloe Kennedy
Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment
0400 217 662

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