JOSH DAWKINS WINS RACE IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER
When Flagstaff Athletics Club’s member John Dawkins lost his battle with cancer in 2006, his club immediately moved to re-name the 550m Open in his honour. Since 2007 the John Dawkins Memorial 550m has been one of the most sought after events on the South Australian Athletic League calendar. And no athlete has wanted the sash bearing the esteemed Dawkins name more, than his son, Josh.
On Saturday night, befitting the tenth running of the race named in honour of his late father, Josh Dawkins added his name to a list of quality winners with a sterling performance.
Running off 46 metres, Dawkins took the lead down the back straight and despite late challenges from Tom Lancaster (48m) and Jordan Sellar (75m), the Flagstaff Athletics’ sprinter powered to the line to win in 1min 13.33secs.
The Henley Beach Landscaper admitted the weight of expectation had gotten to him in the past.
“It’s been a devil and also an angel to me,” Dawkins said on the dais.
“To put your heart into it each year and not get it, made me wonder if it would ever happen.
“With 60m to go I was flat knackered.
“(But) I grit my teeth, thought harden up you bastard, think of your old man.”
Dawkins’ win was the second leg of a double for Flagstaff coach John LeRay. Earlier in the night LeRay had watched Ryan Williams score his second Under 20’s sash in a week, adding the Flagstaff 70m to his Loxton 120m sash.
Veteran sprinter Tim Johnson continued his impressive second half to the season winning his third 120m Gift in four starts. The Aaron Harrison trained Johnson (9m), beat home West Beach’s Sebastian Baird (7.5m) and self-trained Misha Lizugoboff (11m) who an hour before had won his first sash with the SAAL taking out the 70m Open.
Veteran athlete Sonya Pollard made her trip from Melbourne worthwhile, winning the Women’s 120m. Running off the front mark of 21 metres the Victorian held on from Seacliff beach sprinter Lily Drummond (12.50) and Flagstaff Athletics’ Mikayla Round (11m) in 14.07secs.
First-year athlete Nicole Austin enjoyed her first trip to the podium, taking out the Women’s 400m. The McKinnon Parade sprinter (38m) was too good for Camden stable mates Natassia Messent (28m) and Rommi Parham (52m).
Team Tempo’s Craig Thorley-Mills (145m) stormed to favouritism for the $3,000 McKinnon mile in a fortnight’s time, easily winning the 1600m beating home Lachlan Hennig (180m) and Leigh Haussen (265m).
Coastal's Connor Verrall (20m) took out the 400m Novice from the fast finishing Ryan Williams (20m) and third Tom O' Malley (50m) in 50.41.
Southerns’ Meg Bentley won her third sash for the season, winning the Girl’s Under 20’s 70m, while Molly Farmer won the Under 14’s 550m.
In the veteran’s events Westerns’ David Miller won the Over 35’s 120m, while World Masters 400m champion Lyn Peake 65, won the Over 45’s 400m.