Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 11th April 2022
The Victorian Athletic League has announced the handicaps for all athletes competing in this year’s Powercor Stawell Gift Carnival, held over Easter from Saturday April 16 to Monday April 18. Athletes can find their handicaps here:
Over 600 athletes have been given handicaps in the events which comprise the prestigious Powercor Stawell Gift. The fields for the men’s and women’s 120m Gifts include a group from the best of Australia’s current sprinters – Jake Doran, Eddie Nkeita (New Zealand), Jack Hale, Aidan Murphy, Torrie Lewis, Bree Masters, Taylah Cruttenden and Mia Gross.
“It’s so encouraging to see the strong numbers continuing at Easter. It’s exciting because of what we have had to deal with in the last two years,” said Stephanie Spence, Chair of Stawell Gift Event Management.
“With still some nervousness around covid-19 and isolation rules, we are thrilled with the number of runners joining us for the pinnacle of Australian pro running events next week.
“Thanks to our partnership with Athletics Australia we will have around half of the best male sprinters in the country and one of the best women’s fields in a long time lining up to run against a class field of professional runners.”
Two new races have been added to the calendar this year, the AIA Vitality Women’s 1000m Invitational featuring some of Australia’s top middle distance runners including Linden Hall, Catriona Bisset, Georgia Griffith and Abbey Caldwell; and the SYPAQ Australian Defence Force 100m Handicap featuring some of the fastest active services personnel, and both races will be held on Easter Monday.
“Fashions on the Field is back, together with all the kids’ activities on Easter Sunday, and the weather looks pretty good too. It is shaping up to be a fantastic Carnival with something for everyone to enjoy,” said Stephanie.
Eddie Nketia will run off the scratch mark in front of current Australian National 100m champion Jake Doran 0.5m; Jack Hale, Aidan Murphy and 2019 Powercor Stawell Gift winner Dhruv Rodrigues Chico are all on 0.75m and Calab Law has been given 1m.
2018 Open Gift winner Jacob Despard is pleased with his mark of 1.25m, given his recent form on the track, winning the Melbourne Track Classic and placing 3rd at the Brisbane Track Classic at the weekend. With his experience at running on grass in the 120m distance he could be only the 4th winner of two finals in the 140 year history of the Powercor Stawell Gift.
Gerrard Keating, coach of Torrie Lewis and himself an Australian champion runner, said of Torrie’s scratch handicap: “We predicted she would be off zero. It’s an honour to be on such a mark at such a young age.”
Bree Masters, who came 3rd in the 2019 Women’s Gift is also off scratch. Mia Gross will start at 0.75m, Taylah Cruttenden’s handicap is 1.75m, and 2019 winner Lexi Loizou is off 2.5m.
Some of the favoured Women’s Gift pro runners include Jessica Payne 4.75m; Winter Olympian Kiara Reddingius 5m, Ellie Keratianos 7.25m, Canberran Clare de Salis 8.5m and Hayley Orman’s South Australian teammate Hayley Openshaw 9.5m.
The highly rated professional runners competing in the Powercor Stawell Gift include Jesse Cordoma from South Australia with a mark of 8.5m, Aidan Green 7m, Sydneysider Hamish Lindstrom 7.75m, Jesse McKenna 6.25m, Jasper Nettlefold 7.25m, Harrison Kerr on 9.25m and Tom Griffin with a handicap of 9.75m.
“I believe the handicap makes me very competitive at Stawell this year,” said Cordoma, “so I will try to do the best with what I have. There are a number of extremely quality amateur runners competing which is fantastic to see. I’ll try my best to hold them off and think I can do it, but you can just never underestimate these quality runners. They’re experienced and obviously very very quick, so if you make any mistakes, the race will be over,” said Jesse.
Aidan Green, who trains at the Doncaster Athletics Track, agrees that being a front marker will still be difficult. “They are quality athletes and I hope I can hold them all off.”
Hamish Lindstrom is “not too worried about the amateurs, although I think Jacob Despard could be the danger with his quality mark and experience of winning the Gift.”
Reigning champions Hayley Orman and Ed Ware will be in attendance but only Hayley will compete to defend her title as Ed’s training has been impacted by injury. Ed will, however, be judging the Fashions on the Field, a highlight of Easter Saturday afternoon Ladies Day.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance of the Stawell Gift here. Adult concession tickets start from just $15.
The 2022 Powercor Stawell Gift will be broadcast on Channel 7 from 11.30am AEST on Monday April 18 and live streamed over the three days on 7plus. https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=STAWELLG22
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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