Prizemoney trebled for fastest Ballarat Gift heat runners
By David Brehaut
18 December 2019
Ballarat Athletic Club has trebled the financial incentive for being the fastest in its men's and women's gift heats next year.
The club is putting $3000 on the table for the quickest in the 120m marquee events at the Ballarat Gift Carnival at the City Oval on Saturday, February 8, and Sunday, February 9.
The bonus was introduced this year when $500 was shared by the fastest three - based on metres per second - in each of the men's and women's categories.
Where athletes finish in their heat has no bearing on the outcome.
The rankings are based on raw speed in the handicap events.
With the increase to $1500 for each of the gifts, the cash reward will be spread across at least the five quickest runners.
BAC treasurer and professional athletics doyen Peter O'Dwyer said the ultimate aim was have the same prizemoney for gift finals and the fastest category.
He said while there was still some way to go to achieve this, the increase for next year was a move in the right direction.
O'Dwyer said there was no question that parity for the winners and the quickest was essential if professional athletics was to thrive long-term.
He said professional athletics needed to attract the best.
He has no doubt lucrative financial incentives which remove the impact of handicaps can achieve this.
O'Dwyer said rewards for the fastest meant all competitors had greater incentive to compete, especially when winning finals might look out of reach at any particular meet.
Ballarat was the first to introduce prizemoney for the fastest heat runners last season.
O'Dwyer said he was encouraged to see that a few other clubs were doing the same this season.
Ballarat Athletic Club's men's and women's gifts will each offer $7000 in prizemoney outside the $1500 speed incentives.
The masters 300m carried the next highest prizemoney of $2000 followed by $1500 for the women's 400m and backmarkers' 400m.