Form gives James edge
MEN'S GIFT BY PHIL EDWARDS
02 Jan, 2011
SOUTH Australian backmarker Robbie James showed his class and grabbed his best career win and $10,000 prizemoney by taking out the 2011 Burnie men's gift against some talented opposition at the Burnie Carnival last night.
The 24-year-old from Woodville North, who is trained by Paul Young, ran from the back mark of 5.5 metres and just finished over the top of two talented Tasmanian teenage runners in 17-year-old Charlie Leek (7.5m) and 18-year-old Jarrod Gilroy (8.25m), who filled the minor placings.
"I felt awesome all day and I was lucky enough to have a little bit easier heat and semi, so I saved it until the final and was lucky enough to get up at the end," James said.
"The guy in yellow - I'm not sure who he was - gave me a scare because I could see him out of the corner of my eye.
"I'm ecstatic. I wanted this for the past year and have been training for it, and Youngy got me up for December and early January and it worked."
James said he ran at the Bay Sheffield Gift on December 28 and made the final, but was disappointed with his run to finish fifth.
"I came here pretty confident and then executed it well in the final, luckily enough," he said.
James said he wanted to run amateurs and get his PB down before contesting nationals in April.
Three Hobart teenagers did the state proud this year by making the final, with 16-year-old Max Waldron joining Leek and Gilroy in the field after interstate runners dominated in an all- mainland final last year.
Gilroy is a novice at the carnivals, but is the state 100m and 200m champion.
Leek mixes football and athletics but showed great form during the carnival week.
Waldron was the youngest runner in the field and is the state under-20 100m, 200m and 400m champion.
Another South Australian, James Boden, plus Victorian Lachlan Taylor made up the gift field.