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Innes-Wong wins Flagstaff Hill Gift (Review)

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Innes-Wong wins Flagstaff Hill Gift

After a succession of near misses, Prospect physiotherapist Chris Innes-Wong concluded his South Australian Athletic League season winning his second consecutive 120m event when he took out the Flagstaff Hill Gift on Saturday night.

Last month, Innes-Wong was a close 2nd in both the Ballarat Gift and the prestigious Don Furness 70m Classic in Melbourne and narrowly missed making the final of the rich Stonnington Gift.

He returned to SA last week, winning the Nippys Loxton Gift and despite a reduced handicap of 6.50m, the 2014 Stawell Gift finalist won the Flagstaff Hill Gift beating the 2014 winner Shaun Ryder (14m) and 70m winner Paul Taylor (12.5m) in 12.64secs.

Innes-Wong was just relieved he had won after the disappointment of twice being second in Victoria. 

"I'm rapt to finally get something back for all the hard work I've put in" he said. 

"I'm not sure if I will run next season due to work commitments, so this is a great way to finish the year".

Similar to Innes-Wong, the Women's 120m winner, Coastal's Katie Jury was also delighted to enjoy a win after running second at her previous three starts. Jury (13m) beat Loxton 300m winner Kellie Symons and Women's Bay Sheffield winner Lauren Buchanan to win her first race since 2012.

After the previous week's narrow loss to Innes-Wong in the Loxton Gift, Aldinga sprinter Jake Stangewitz (42m) proved too strong for Camden's Hayden Rothe (42m) and Flinders' Aiden Miller (50m) to win the John Dawkins Memorial 550 Metres. Stangewitz had finished 2nd at his previous two 120m Gift starts at Marion and Loxton.

McKinnon Parade's Tim Earle (125m) put his rivals on notice for the big McKinnon mile in a fortnight, taking out his second consecutive Flagstaff 1600m from Western's Chan Mayol (120m) and Camden's Chad Truscott (250m). Earle's time of 4mins 12secs was five seconds faster than his 2014 winning time.

Self trained athlete Paul Taylor backed up his 3rd place in the Gift to win the 70m Open. Taylor (8m) edged out Liam Wright (7.5m) and Ryan Hancock (6.5m) in 7.61secs.

Hills District athlete Bennett Maxwell enjoyed his first start over 400m taking out the richest Over 45's race on the calendar. Maxwell ran with the SAAL 20 years ago and only recently resumed with the League. Maxwell (56m) ran a race record 51.35secs to beat Flagstaff's Peter Biggs and Team Townley's Sue Turner.

Flagstaff Hill's Peter Biggs made the most of his home track advantage, winning the Over 35's 120m from Team Townley's Sue Turner and Lyn Peake. Czenya Cavouras made it a Flagstaff Hill double for her hard-working coach John LeRay with a brilliant come-from-behind win in the Women's 400m with Camden's Natassia Messent (2nd) Coastal's Yasmin Openshaw (3rd).

Novice 400m winner Christopher Simpson beat Chan Mayol and Shaun Ryder to win his first sash beyond 200m. 

Coastals' Liam Jones won his first sash in the Under 20's 70m beating Flagstaff's Joshua Biggs and Camden's Luke Whitford. 

Casey Buchanan won his second Flagstaff Hill sash with a well timed win in the Under 17's 1600m. The Reynella junior won the 550m in 2014. 

Caitlin Stallan continued Reynella's domination of the Under age races, striding away from Morgan Miller and Sebastian Jurado to win the 550m. 

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