Defending Champ Dunmall Returns

Date: 3rd February 2017


2016 Stawell Gift winner Isaac Dunmall has declared he is a better athlete than what he was last year and like many, has dreams of becoming one of few men to defend his title.

“I definitely think I’m a better athlete than I was last year, mentally and on the track. Training is all pointing to the fact I’m a better athlete so it’s all heading in a good direction, but anything can happen so I have to be positive and give it a go on the day,” the Queenslander said.

As the title holder of one of the biggest titles in Australian sport, Dunmall says he’s enjoyed the perks of extra attention, along with the odd trip and appearance here and there.

“It’s been really nice, I’ve enjoyed every step of being the defending champion and to meet people just because you won the Stawell Gift has been something really special.

Since his 2016 victory from the mark of 6.75m, the 23 year old has run 10.44 for the 100m, albeit with an illegal tailwind and won the Terang Gift in Victoria, which under VAL rules will aide his handicap mark for this years Stawell Gift.

“My form is ok at the moment, I’m in a block of training so it’s hard to say, but I’m looking forward to Easter and trying to defend my title. It will be hard being 2 ¾ back from my winning mark in 2016, but I get an extra metre after I won in Trang, so I should be off 4 unless the handicapper knows something I don’t,” Dunmall said.

Most young men who win $40,000 for a weekend’s work could be excused for splashing a little on some of the finer things in life. However as a Financial Planner, Dunmall did no such thing.

“Given I have a degree in Financial Planning and work in the industry, I decided to invest it all in managed funds. So I’ve kept it away and it can be used maybe as a house deposit in the future. It’s nice to know I won’t be doing anything silly with it to blow it and I’ll have it for a period of time,” the level headed Dunmall explained.

While he is getting used to being introduced as a Stawell Gift winner, the thought of returning as a known figure this year and seeing his plaque in the main street, alongside the expected introduction as the defending champion when he returns to Central Park is something the unassuming Dunmall had yet to ponder.

“Honestly I haven’t thought about it. But it will be a pretty awesome feeling and I’ll just try and soak it up. I got the photo of the plaque sent to me as I was going to Tassie to race over Christmas and it’s pretty nice to know my name is up alongside some of the greats of the sport.

As for the mental approach to coming as a relative unknown in 2016, to man with a profile in 2017, Dunmall is flipping the script and turning it into a positive.

“It will be a different mental state for my running, with the pressure off, so I might be able to run a bit more relaxed and freely. Everything has to fall into place on the day for the win and I’m just looking to going back and seeing what I can do,” he added.

Isaac Dunmall will line up in the men’s Stawell Gift, with the heats to be held on Saturday 15th April, followed by the semi-finals and final on Easter Monday 17th April.

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