Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 15th February 2018
Stawell, VIC Feb 14: The 2017 Stawell Gift Men’s and Women’s race winners Liv Ryan and Matt Rizzo have confirmed they will return to defend their titles at the historic Easter event this year.
Hosted by the Stawell Athletic Club, the iconic Stawell Gift Carnival, including the Stawell Athletic Club Stawell Gift and the Australia Post Women’s Gift, will be broadcast live on the Seven Network on Monday April 2.
Last year’s favourite to take the famous Men’s Gift, Matt Rizzo admitted it was still a shock when he crossed the finish line in front. “It was a dream come true, I was over the moon with an emotion that you can’t even describe until you do it.”
Both Matt and Liv will be attempting to do what only one athlete has achieved in the 137-year history of the Stawell Gift, when the great Bill Howard took consecutive wins in 1966 and 1967.
“It would be such an honour to be associated with history and enter that category of back-to-back winners, but you can’t get ahead of yourself. This year will definitely be tough, but I am trying to stay positive,” said Matt Rizzo.
“I have a bigger engine this time so I feel like I could still improve on last year. Anything can happen in this iconic race which is part of Australian sporting history, a win in this stays with you for the rest of your life.”
Liv Ryan, who took the Australia Post Women’s Gift from the front of the handicapped race in 2017, also admits it will be more difficult this year and expectations of her performance will be higher.
“It will be a lot harder with the handicap at Stawell but I’ll be happy as long as I produce some good times and hopefully a PB.
“It was incredible, the best day of my life,” enthused Liv speaking about her win last year. “This race has so much history, it’s very prestigious and everyone wants to win it. The huge crowds and amazing atmosphere make it super exciting but nerve wracking at the same time. I will never forget driving up to the entrance gate knowing I had the chance to make the final, and that was when nobody knew who I was.”
Stawell Athletic Club President Kieren McIntosh said: “It’s an incredibly difficult feat to win back to back Stawell Gifts, as we know only one person has ever achieved that and no woman in the history of the Stawell. The beauty of these handicapped races is that you just never know. Both Liv and Matt are in good form so let’s just see if 2018 could be the year of the double.”
This year Australia Post celebrates 24 years of supporting the Stawell Gift, with the organisation providing equal prize money for the Australia Post Women’s Gift for the past four years.
Three days of activities and entertainment make up the Stawell Gift Carnival. Fashions on the Field will once again take centre stage on Easter Saturday (March 31, 2018) with $2500 in prize money and gifts up for grabs.
Easter Sunday is Cadbury® Family Day at Stawell with The Cadbury® Easter Egg Hunt headlining a fantastic schedule of child-friendly activities including an athletics clinic, an animal nursery and plenty of other organised fun for the kids.
Athletes can now register to compete at http://www.stawellgift.com/on-the-track/athlete-registration-2018/
Tickets can be purchased online in advance of the Stawell Gift here. Adult concession tickets start from just $12, while Child tickets are free on Cadbury® Family Day.
For further information, please contact Jane Owen at 360 Sport and Entertainment on 0407936005 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Stawell Gift
The Stawell Gift Carnival is one of Australia’s most iconic sporting events, which incorporates the famous 120 Metre handicap foot race known as the Stawell Gift. Run on grass, athletes are handicapped according to form and ability, and start off varying marks accordingly. Competitors in the men’s and women’s 120 Metre Gifts compete for a massive $40,000 first prize each as well as a place in Australian sporting folklore. The Stawell Gift is conducted each Easter in Stawell, Victoria. The 2018 carnival will take place from Saturday March 31 – Monday April 2, 2018. More information is available at www.stawellgift.com
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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