Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 26th March 2022
The Stawell Athletic Club was proud to announce in 2015 that the prize money for the Strickland Family Women’s Gift would rise to $60,000, up from $6000 the previous year.
For the first time the female winner would be taking home $40,000, the same as the winner of the equivalent Men’s final. This was not only a recognition of the value of women’s athletics but was also an example to other women’s sports throughout Australia.
Fifteen-year-old Grace O’Dwyer took out the Strickland Family Women’s Gift after being defeated in her semi final and only qualifying for the final as one of the fastest semi-final losers. Her winning time was 12.1s off a mark of 10.25m. Second place went to Anna Pasquali and third to Lynette Viney. Caitlin Hawks, Keely Henderson and Sarah Blizzard completed the placings.
“Having my family, friends and all of my POD Squad teammates there helping me over the weekend, giving me advice and encouragement and ultimately helping me to celebrate my win was a dream come true,” said Grace after her win. “I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life.”
Grace’s evergreen father and coach Peter O’Dwyer also took his place in the Stawell Gift semis, the 18th time that he had done so.
Winner of the Powercor Stawell Gift in 2015 was the beach sprinting schoolteacher from the Gold Coast, Murray Goodwin in 12.10s off 6.5m. Luke Houlihan was runner up, and Brendan Matthews third, with Dean Scarff, Tjimarri Sanderson and Tim Eschabach in the other placings.
Goodwin and coach Brett Robinson had set the Gift as a challenge 12 months previously and mapped out a plan which paid off. “I was in the semi-final of the Gift in 2014 and it was a mutual decision we made three to four weeks after to make this the focus.”
“The moment you cross the line, coming back on the shoulders of your teammates, accepting the trophy, celebrating with your friends and family, heading to the hotel; it all still gives me a huge smile whenever I think about it,” said Murray several months after claiming the trophy. “I guess when you’ve set a long-term goal like Stawell, having been fortunate enough to have executed that just gives you this insane sense of euphoria that literally lasts for months after.“
Impressive performances on the day also came from Douglas Hamerlok, who won the Herb Hedemann 1600m Invitation and three hours later also won the 3200m from his mark of 20m.
The Chris Perry Memorial Backmarkers was won by Jordan Caldow in front of future Open Gift winner Jacob Despard and Ryan Bedford.
Chris Innes-Wong won the Arthur Postle 70m, Liam Proccacino the Jack Donaldson 200m and Rupert Lugo took out the Bill Howard 100m.
Dion Paull took out the Bill McManus Backmarkers 400m from Hamish Adams and Jack Newman.
Ali Trewartha was victorious in the Lorraine Donnan Womens 400m in front of Morgan Mitchell and Stephanie Jinks.
Sue Anderson won the Women’s 800m and was runner up in the Women’s and Masters 1600m.
For the first time the Lynx camera judging and timing system was used, and this proved to be a very successful innovation.
Another first for 2015 was when the Stawell Athletic Club took over the organization and running of the Warnambool Gift in November. This enabled the club to reach out into the community and assist another town with their experience and expertise.
For full results for 2015 see here: https://www.stawellgift.com/results-2015/
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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