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Gift still strong as athletes shine

The pain of Williams’ torn hamstring is quickly numbed by the thrill of receiving the winner’s sash, trophy and prizemoney. Picture: WILLAMY IMAGES

The future of the Wimmera’s premier sports carnival appears secure after big crowds watched one of the best athletics fields in years compete at Stawell’s Central Park.
The Australia Post Stawell Gift, Australia’s richest annual professional footrace, will head towards 2012 having consolidated a claim as an international event and justifying the financial backing of government and private enterprise.
On Tuesday, powerfully-built Queenslander Mitchell Williams, 19, tumbled his way to victory in the 130th final of the famous 120-metre race, pipping NSW runner Ed Ware despite tearing his hamstring a few metres from the tape.
“I didn’t know if I’d got there or not,” he said.
“The hamstring went over the last five metres but I just got through at the end.”
The beach sprinter, wearing the white of the second backmarker and off 6.5 metres and backed as third favourite at $5.50, won in a time of 12.11 seconds, pocketed the $40,000 in prize money and dedicated the victory to his ill mother.
“I’d like to thank my mum, I hope she gets better, she has cancer at the moment. This is for her,” he said
Ware, the quickest of the semi-final winners and off 10.25 metres, ran the distance in 12.13 seconds and third place-getter, Andrew McCabe of Queensland, 6.36 metres, was third.
High-profile international and national sprinters, including backmarker and former world champion 100-metre sprinter Kim Collins from St Kitts and Nevis failed to force their way through semi-finals after promising heat performances.
Three-time world beach flags champion Melissa Howard from the Gold Coast won the State of Victoria Strickland Family Women’s Gift.
In other events, Richmond’s Paul Munro won a 3200-metre Town Hall Hotel Grampians Backmarkers Handicap from Highton’s Chris McDonough and fast-finishing scratch-marker Craig Mottram.
Kenyan runner Collins Scheboi proved too strong for the field in the Retravision Herb Hedemann Invitation Handicap mile to win in 3:56.68 off scratch.
National sprint champion Aaron Rouge-Serret continued his dominance of the 120-metre XXXX Gold Backmarkers Invitation Handicap, Matthew Wiltshire won the 100-metre Keith Hayes Memorial Bill Howard Handicap and Bay Sheffield victor Jordan Caldow won the 120-metre Stawell Gold Mines Gift Winners’ Gift.
Todd Ireland celebrated victory in the Redvys Cooper Memorial Jack Donaldson 200 metres, Simon Fitzpatrick won the 400-metre ASICS Bill McManus Backmarkers Handicap and Alice Platten won the Endura Sports Nutrition Lorraine Donnan Women’s 400 metres.
Jack Lewis had success in the 800-metre Northern Grampians Shire Council Handicap, David Chantrill won the Stawell Family Central Park Frontmarkers 400 metres and Zac Newman took out the 3200-metre Stawell Athletic Club Frontmarkers Handicap.
Sonya Pollard had a narrow victory in the 300-metre Stawell Regional Health Veterans’ Handicap, Anthony Crews won the 1600-metre McDonalds Little Athletics Handicap and Ararat Football Club representative Aaron McKinnis won a tense Wimmera and Horsham footballers Gift.

HAMSTRUNG: Queenslander Mitchell Williams, in white, lunges across the line to victory after tearing his right hamstring in the final metres of Tuesday’s Stawell Gift. Picture: WILLAMY IMAGES

The pain of a torn hamstring was quickly forgotten for Queensland sprinter Mitchell Williams after he lunged across the finish line to win the prestigious Stawell Gift on Tuesday. The plucky teenager made a last-second dive to defeat runner-up Edward Ware by one-hundredth of a second to claim the $40,000 race. Picture: WILLAMY IMAGES

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Posted on Apr 27 2011

Posted by on Apr 27 2011. Filed under FEATURED, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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