Gift attracts top runners including Cam Dunbar
By MICHAEL ESPOSITO
The Star News
14th February 2012
Werribee’s Matthew Hargreaves will contest the Keilor
Gift on Saturday. 59098 Picture: DAMJAN JANEVSKI
A NUMBER of locals and former champions will contest the prestigious Keilor Gift this Saturday.
Among the main drawcards is 2010 Keilor Gift winner Cam Dunbar, who will have another tilt at the final and is expected to advance to the final.
The Ringwood Athletics Club runner has had a stellar start to the year, winning the Wangaratta and Rye Gifts. He is only the second runner to have won two Rye Gifts.
Dunbar will be joined by 2009 champion Paul Tancred and 2000 winner Peter Walsh.
Among the local hopes in the 120m Gift and other events are the Hargreaves brothers from Werribee. Matthew Shaun and Chris are consistent performers on the Victorian Athletic League circuit.
Matthew has been in particularly strong form lately, and will be hoping to add to his Woodside Gift victory in December 2010. Hargreaves ran second to Dunbar at the Wangaratta Gift on 28 January, with Williamstown’s Sam Jamieson coming in third.
Jamieson, the 2008 Stawell Gift winner, is also coming into good form.
He took an extended break nine months after winning the Stawell Gift, partly due to recurring injuries, and returned to the Victorian Athletics League circuit last year.
While admitting he was focused more on fun than winning last year, Jamieson has ran well the past few months, coming third in the Wangaratta gift off a handicap of 3.25m, and winning the 70m event at Gippsland off scratch.
New Williamstown resident Khan Marr will also be competing in the day’s events. Marr hails from Barbados and was a representative in the Jamaican bobsled team and is a very handy athlete.
Gold Coast residents Paul Cracroft-Wilson and Melissa Howard will also make the trip to Keilor. Howard won the 70m open final at Keilor last year, beating a field of men, and has nominated for the same race on Saturday.
Other local athletes to watch out for during the day’s events will be Keilor Downs’ Lachlan Taylor (120m Gift and 400m open) Keilor Downs, Essendon’s Stephanie Mollica (120m and 400m), Westmeadows’ Shane Buckingham (70m and 400m), and Essendon’s Stephanie Jinks (400m and 120m).
Apart from the Gift, other highly sought-after events include the open 400m, women’s 120m, Backmarkers 1600m and the “Skins” invitational run over 70m.
The day also features wood chopping events contested by some of the best axeman in Australia.
There will also be carnival rides for the kids, bookmakers, open sports club bar and a canteen.
The Keilor Gift will go from 12.30pm to 9.15pm and will be held at Keilor Recreation Reserve.
Entry is $10 for adults and $3 for pensioners and children.