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Temora (NSWAL) RESULTS & Report - 12/02/2011

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120m Temora Gift
1 Tom Paavola (10.00)
2 Lee Clark (11.00)
3 Stephen Sheppard (8.00)
4 Bangalie Keita (4.00)
5 John Jakeman (5.50
6 Dan Sammut (10.50)
7 Rob Hanna 13.50
8 Jaryd Cowley (9.25)
Time: 12.53
First received $7,000; 2nd $2,200;& 3rd $1,100.

Tom Paavola is about 19 and trained by former middle distance champ, Glen Ritchie. He ran 12.3 in the semi. Track was soft following an inch of rain the night before.

70m OPEN
1 Glen Stephens (9.50)
2 Kevin Matthews (13.75)
3 Dan Sammut (6.50)
4 Damien McTernan (9.50)
5 Suz Sinclair (16.50)
6 Tom Paavola (6.50)
7 Jacqui Watt (15.25)
8 Max Freeman (4.75)
Time: 7.64
Total prizemoney: $1,500

120m WOMEN
1 Suz Sinclair (17.00)
2 Samantha Sammut (15.75)
3 Kylie Newton (15.00)
4 Samantha Burston (12.50)
5 Jacinta Doyle (5.25)
6 Christine Wearne (6.50)
7 Jacqui Watt (12.25)
8 Heidi McTernan (15.75)
Time: 13.77
Fist received $3,500; 2nd $1,100 & 3rd $600.

300m OPEN
1 Kara Bull (55)
2 Greg O'Keefe (39)
3 Rachel Carnegie (52)
4 Damien McTernan (33)
5 Leo Press (27)
6 John Gannon (45)
7 Tom Sharkey (18)
8 Adrian Fury (44)
Time: 34.15
Total prizemoney: $1,500

100m Invitation Backmarkers
1 John Jakeman (1.50)
2 Bangalie Keita (0.00)
3 Jacinta Doyle (11.00)
Time: ???
Total prizemoney: $1,500

Last edited by Admin on Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:51 am; edited 1 time in total



When Josh Ross retired from athletics a couple of years ago, it seemed that the last competing memory of a legend trainer Gerry Thomas was gone.

It is great to see Glenn Ritchie a former runner under Gerry, now coaching athletes and continuing this in the pro's.

Gerry put everything into athletics, his development of junior athletes on the Central Coast has been missed since passing away in 2001.

Gerry always drove down to Stawell, he operated on a very tight budget. In the Easter of 2001, only a couple of months before passing away he walked into Town Hall on Friday night and through to the bookies. As he scanned the odds his glasses fogged over with excitement. He walked out with a smile on his face after placing $50 on Pym at 20/1.

The below has been taken from the NSWAL website, Mingara Gift in 2003:


Gerry Thomas passed away on Friday 10 August 2001 after suffering a heart attack at his home at Point Clare near Gosford on the Central Coast. He was 64 years old.

In his younger days in the Bankstown district Gerry was a very keen soccer player. His younger brother Peter grew into a very fine sprinter, so Gerry decided to also have a go at sprinting and joined Peter's training group which was trained by Husky Moore, a legendary pro athletic trainer and masseur. In fact, Husky Moore was often masseur to Australian Rugby League teams and travelled to Europe with the touring Kangaroos.

Apart from Peter who became a prominent backmarker and NSW Professional Sprint Champion, Gerry's training group comprised a host of excellent athletes including Neil Blinman, Gary Scott, Frank Bullus and Wally Stafford. The great Ken Irvine also commenced his sprint training with this group prior to switching to a North Sydney stable.

Although Gerry did not have the sheer talent of some of these athletes he was a tremendous trainer which eventually resulted in him winning several gifts such as Liverpool, Dorrigo and Quirindi where he finally ran 'even time'. He had been striving to achieve this level for a long time and he and his friends celebrated long and hard that night.

Later Gerry turned his efforts into coaching which he continued throughout the remainder of his life. One of the best sprinters coached by him in his early coaching days was a 17-year old Bill Mullins, father of Brett, who went on to become a famous winger for Eastern Suburbs Rugby League team in Sydney. Under Gerry's coaching Bill improved his speed enormously, winning the Tasmanian Thousand at Devonport. Winner of Yass and Macksville Gifts Dean Pitman was another outstanding athlete trained by Gerry.

Gerry continued to bring new runners into the sport of pro athletics each year through his coaching activities in the Gosford-Wyong districts and his recent stable included Nathan Ward, Jonathon Glasson, Leigh Miller, Brendan Moss, Scott McKeon and Joshua Ross plus many other promising young athletes.

Gerry was also a very accomplished administrator and provided excellent administrative service to the NSWAL over a long period. At various times he was President, Secretary (for two periods), Handicapper, Committee Member and Runner and Trainers Representative.

He was a very deserving Life Member of the League.

Gerry also enjoyed school and amateur athletics and could always be seen at Homebush attending schools and national championship events in which he usually had athletes competing. Athletics NSW is also greatly indebted to Gerry for the regular voluntary office-work he performed for this organisation over the past few years.

Gerry Thomas is irreplaceable. He was passionate, often volatile, in his love for his sport. He was a tremendous worker for athletics and will be enormously missed by all who benefitted from his loyalty and generosity.



Temora (NSWAL) RESULTS & Report - 12/02/2011 1112117
FAST FINISH: Central Coast dynamo Tom Paavola
(yellow) storms home to take Saturday’s Temora
Golden Gift ahead of Lee Clarke (pink).

Tom Paavola wins Temora Golden Gift
The Daily Advertiser (Wagga)
14 Feb, 2011

CENTRAL Coast speedster Tom Paavola was over the moon on Saturday, surprising himself with a remarkable last-minute surge to the finish line to claim the coveted Temora Golden Gift.

A final boost of energy put the 20-year-old ahead of the pack in the final metres of the 120m race to claim a massive $7000 in prize money.

Paavola produced a spectacular performance midfield to edge out the fast finishing Lee Clarke from Cardiff and Canberra’s Stephen Sheppard with a steady time of 12.53 seconds.

The young dynamo was overcome with joy as his parents Peter and Catherine rushed to the track to celebrate his triumph.

Speaking after the race, Paavola was beside himself with excitement, barely able to comprehend his victory.

“I didn’t expect to win at all, I’ve just been training real hard and it’s only the start of the season so I’m only just getting into it,” he said.

“It’s pretty awesome, I’m stoked.”

A highly-successful squad member of the Central Coast Academy of Sport, Paavola said that his track perfomances have significantly improved in recent months, a result of dedicated training.

“I’ve just been concentrating on one race at a time and just taking it all as it comes, and I thought I might as well give this another crack,” he said.

“I’m normally a 400m runner so I’ve just been trying to build my speed up, and this was a chance for me to do that.

“Eventually I’d like to have a crack at the Stawell Gift one day, but I don’t know how far in the future that is for me yet.”

The towering trackman insisted his only disappointment was that he could not race during last years Golden Gift washout.

“I was running last year but it got washed out so that was a bit disappointing,” he said.

Although the massive paycheck was barely in Paavola’s pocket, he was already dreaming of ways to spend his hard-earned cash.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the money, a holiday would be nice though,” he laughed.

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