Could on form Jacob Despard be only the 4th dual winner in 140 years?

Date: 22nd March 2022

We caught up with 2018 Powercor Stawell Gift winner Jacob Despard on his outstanding run at the Melbourne Track Classic at the weekend.

 Powercor Stawell Gift winner Jacob Despard took out the Melbourne Track Classic 100m Open men’s final on Saturday evening in a time of 10.11 (+3.4).

Jacob told us that leading into Saturday’s Lakeside Stadium final he felt really positive and his race plan fell into place on the night.

“I was hitting all our performance indicators and we knew I was coming in ready to race fast,” he said.

“The run in the final was technically good, I executed the first 60 to plan and my coach Rolf Ohman was really happy with that. We have addressed a few small things with my last 40 that have room for improvement, so I’m really looking forward to racing in the Australian Championships in Sydney next week.  

Jacob agrees that while the results are positive, he is looking to keep improving in the upcoming competitions.

“Winning on Saturday was a good indicator that my team and I are heading in the right direction leading into the pointy end of the season. 10.11 (+3.4) is the fastest ever run in Victoria by an Australian in all conditions and ranks me as the 8th fastest Australian ever. These stats are good, but ultimately I want to carry this form into the coming weeks and have an Australian title next to my name.”

As a Stawell Gift winner Jacob can look back and say pro running has helped him to get this far.

“I grew up competing in Tasmania in all the pro carnivals and have been coming to Stawell every year since 2013. These races and competitions have definitely been a large piece of the puzzle for shaping me into the athlete I am today, and I’d recommend anyone should come and start racing in the pro’s!

On his future plans: “This year is a large one for international competition and championships with the Commonwealth Games and World Championships in Oregon coming up. My goal is to qualify for the 100m and 4x100m Relay. I am also hoping to travel overseas and race in the next few months. 

Jacob is looking forward to Stawell and with his recent form, becoming the fourth dual winner of the Open Gift is not out of the question.

“I am definitely excited to get back to Central Park! To be a dual Stawell Gift winner would unbelievable, I’ll definitely be leaving no stone unturned in my preparation for this one!”

Only weeks ago, Jacob was lamenting the fact that the amateur race timetables had prevented him entering many VAL Gifts this season.  Commenting at the time he said, “I wish there was a way track athletics could work together.” Little did he know that behind the scenes Stawell Gift Event Management, promoters of the Powercor Stawell Gift, and Athletics Australia were putting the finishing touches to a partnership agreement between the two organisations.

“I think this is a great evolution for the sport of athletics, it makes sense to have this partnership and I can’t wait to see some of the fastest people in Australia coming to the Stawell Gift!” 



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