Stawell Gift's top women honoured
March 24, 2016
STONES commemorating the achievements of women in the Stawell Gift will be unveiled at a ceremony at Upper Main Street in Stawell on Monday, March 28.
It is a big year for the women involved in the Stawell Gift this year. Along with the new dedication celebrating women’s achievements in past events, there will be a strong women’s field featuring past winners and Olympians.
There has also been an increase in prize-money in the Newmarket Gold Lorraine Donnan Women’s Handicap 400m race, jumping from $1425 to $4000.
The commemorative stones, placed beneath the established golden ash trees lining Upper Main Street near the Stawell Athletic Club Hall of Fame, recognise and celebrate the achievements of the past 27 winners of the Women’s Gift.
Last year’s 120m Women’s Gift race winner Grace O'Dwyer will be at the official opening, along with past winners Melissa Breen, Holly Dobbyn, Davina Strauss and Jacqueline Watt.
The stones are an extension of the Champions Parade and it is hoped the installation will become a new attraction for tourists, family and friends of past runners.
The event will be attended by Northern Grampian Shire mayor Cr Murray Emerson and Newmarket Gold Stawell Gold Mines environment and community manager David Coe. The commemorative stones were made possible with a donation from Newmarket Gold and were placed with the assistance of Grampians Shire Council.
The ceremony kicks off a huge day of racing for the talented women athletes taking the stage for this year’s event.
Australian Olympians Melissa Breen and Lauren Wells have confirmed they will be returning to compete at the 2016 Woolworths Stawell Gift carnival.
Australia’s fastest woman Melissa Breen has been returning to form after a disappointing performance at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing.
“I’ve worked really hard and smart since returning from Beijing and I’m looking forward to what 2016 holds,” she said.
Breen is looking forward to a better Gift campaign this year, after failing to advance to the final in last year’s women’s event. Breen took out the event in 2012, running from scratch.
“The Stawell Gift is always a challenge, but it’s also such an honour to run from scratch,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to embracing the Stawell spirit once again this year.”
Wells, Australia’s 400m hurdles champion, returns after a strong year that saw her win her eighth National 400m hurdles title and automatically qualify for 2016 Rio Olympics.
“The Stawell Gift carnival is always a special event in my eyes; the history and prestige associated with it makes for a great weekend.”