Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 18th March 2022
Great excitement surrounded the 132nd running of the Powercor Stawell Gift with the entry of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Asafa Powell.
The former world 100metres record-holding Jamaican had broken 10 seconds for the 100m more times than any other athlete in history.
Josh Ross, the Australian 100m champion, was also back, in hot form and seeking to become the first man in 132 editions to win the Open Gift three times after already taking the Bay Sheffield Gift in the December off scratch.
Powell started his heat brilliantly, but by the 60m mark and with the race seemingly well within his grasp a tight hamstring caused him to jog to the finishing line in third place, but his time was still fast enough to qualify him for the semis.
Unfortunately, he was unable to take his place in the semis, leaving the way open for the young Tasmanian Andrew Robinson to win his way into the final alongside previous Gift winners Mitchell Williams-Swain and Aaron Stubbs.
Williams-Swain had won the Open Gift two years earlier and was the clear favourite which would make him only the 4th two-time winner in the history of the event, but a break at the start saw him penalized one meter. However, he ran brilliantly and just failed by a few inches to win the final which went to the 20-year-old Andrew Robinson, the first Tasmanian to win the event for 72 years.
Running off 7.25m, Andrew recorded 12.01 seconds to take the victory by just two hundredths of a second. Ecstatic with the win, he was quietly confident after the restart. “I thought my luck might be in. When that happened I was quietly happy about it myself. But I still knew I had to execute. I put that behind me pretty quickly.” He dedicated the win to coach Ray Quarrell who lost his home in the January Dunalley bushfires in Tasmania.
There was plenty of drama too in the Strickland Family Women’s Gift where Sydney’s Davina Strauss (off 10m) was a comfortable winner in 13.98 seconds. The former world master beach sprint champion ran a sensational 13.69 seconds in Saturday’s heats before organisers pulled her 4m for the finals because “not all relevant information was available at the time of original handicapping.”
Whilst Asafa Powell unfortunately scratched from the semi-finals there was still a Jamaican victory at Central Park as Khan Marr, a former bobsleigh competitor now residing in Australia, won the Chris Perry Memorial Invitation Backmarkers 120m 12.23 seconds. The race had been renamed in 2013 after the untimely and tragic passing of the 1986 Open Gift winner Chris Perry who made history by becoming the first Powercor Stawell Gift champion to win a national medal – silver in the 100m. When selected in the 1986 Commonwealth Games team he became the first Stawell Gift winner to represent Australia at a major international championship.
Perry was not only a revered winner at Central Park and an Australian Championship medallist, but he was also a central figure affecting major changes in Australian track and field in the mid-eighties when the then highly controversial decision was made to open up the sport to all athletes – both amateur and professional.
In other events, Isaac Dunmall held off Hana Basic and Leigh Phelan to win the Arthur Postle 70m in 7.48s.
Dean Scarff from NSW (6.5m) triumphed in the Gift Winners’ Gift 120m which showcased the winners of other prestigious Gift races across the nation. In a time of 12.37s Dean held off Joel Bee and Jacob Despard.
Former Gift finalist Todd Ireland (23m) dived across the line to pip former Gift runner-up Evan King and Peter O’Dwyer to win the Veterans’ Handicap 300m recording 34.79s.
In a fast and furious final furlong in the Herb Hedemann Invitation 1600m, three-time Victorian 1500m champion Daniel Clark in 4.03.06s won a hard-fought challenge ahead of Kevin Craigie.
Kendra Hubbard, running in the red colours of the backmarker (20m), dominated the Lorraine Donnan Women’s Handicap 400m. The former Women’s Gift runner-up made her move down the back straight, hit the lead with 200m to go and never looked back, winning in 52.44s.
Running off the back mark of 10m Matt Hargreaves took out the Jack Donaldson Handicap 200m in 20.68s and Nicholas Cross won the Bill McManus Backmarkers 400m in 46.08s off 30m.
Adrian Phelan impressed on the day, claiming victory in both the Northern Grampians Shire Council Handicap 800m with 1.48.54 off 70m and the Backmarkers 1600m in 4.01.58 off 115m.
A young Matthew Rizzo (23m) was a jubilant winner of the Little Athletics Handicap 400m recording 50.73s. He also came second in the 100m off 4.5m behind Cosimo Mucci.
Jonathan Woodman (54m) won the Stawell Family Central Park Frontmarkers 400m in 46.99 whilst in the Bill Howard Handicap 100m Queenslander Ted Belcher was a clear winner in 10.58s off 11m.
AFL boundary umpire Ian Burrows (300m) took out the final event on the three-day carnival program, winning the Backmarkers Handicap – 3200m in 8minutes 55.09 seconds.
For a full list of 2013 results see here.
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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