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1 Burnie on Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:11 am


Quality field lined up for main event
Dec. 12, 2012, 10:30 p.m.

ANY questions about the Burnie Carnival's pulling power have been put to bed, according to Bruce Jackson.
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Speaking at the carnival's launch last night, the Burnie Athletic Club president expects one of the most exciting editions in the event's 126-year history.

``We have over 10 Olympians competing in running and cycling races,'' Jackson said.

``We're a few up on entries in the women's gift and we have a few more women's cyclists.

``The club has worked hard on getting the best athletes to Burnie.''

Ironically, one of the carnival's only events down in participation numbers is shaping up as one of the most intriguing.

Only 43 runners have entered for the men's Burnie Gift but the quality of sprinters is arguably the best in the Basslink series.

Former Stawell Gift winner Adrian Mott will line up at Burnie in his only carnival appearance, as will Josh Tiu.

After setting the fastest heat time at Stawell this year, Tiu was favourite to take out Australia's richest running race.

However, a break in his semi-final resulted in a one-metre penalty, just enough to allow former Commonwealth Games champion John Steffensen to pip him on the line.

``From what I have heard he hurt a fair bit from that,'' Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania athlete co-ordinator Rod Walker said.

``We could see a really big run and it will be great for Burnie.''

Not to be outdone, the cycling program will feature 159 cyclists across all age groups.

Cycling co-ordinator Allan Johnson said it was not just the quantity of riders that was impressive.

``It's a class field we've got here,'' Johnson said.

``There are six scratchmen in men's cycling.

``The women's field is probably as strong as we have had in a number of years, with 24 riders and five riders off scratch.''

This year's chopping program will see the return of a number of events to the main arena, along with a more spectator friendly chopping arena at the western end of West Park.

Woodchopping co-ordinator Denzil Munday said the new venue would allow the crowd to appreciate the high calibre of axemen in attendance.
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``This year we are up or on par with what we have been in the past,'' Munday said.

``Currently we have just over 40 entries to take part.

``Entries for that come from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and also New Zealand.''

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