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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Josh Ross becomes first man in 126 years to win the Bay from Scratch

Josh Ross becomes first man in 126 years to win the Bay from Scratch

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Joshua Ross makes history with Bay Sheffield dash

By Warren Partland
The Advertiser
December 28, 2012

VICTORIAN speed machine Joshua Ross desperately wanted his name in the history books.

No runner had claimed the Bay Sheffield from the scratch handicap in 125 years. Standing behind the blocks preparing for the 120m test at Colley Reserve yesterday, Ross knew that was about to change.

And his confidence was justified when he charged to glory in the rich gift with a sensational performance, blasting past runner-up John Jakeman and third-placed Mathew Short before raising his arms in triumph.

Now he wants to crack the magical 10 second barrier and claim the Australian 100m record (9.93sec) owned by Patrick Johnson.

"I had the same feeling I had when I won the Stawell Gift off scratch (2005)," Ross said.

"There was some force or feeling I had - it was going to be my day.

"Behind the blocks I thought I could do this - I have got this. The others were a lot closer (in handicaps) than they were in the heat and semi.

"I'm the first one to do it (win the race off scratch). It happened for the first time at Stawell in 1975 and to be the first one here is special.

"I've now won every major (Australian professional sprint) and it is complete. There is one more thing to do and that is to break 10 seconds (for 100m) and break the Australian record - then I will be happy."

With the Bay Sheffield trophy and a slice of history in his keeping, Ross will now focus on his amateur career with the world championships in Russia next year on the agenda.

The Olympian will then aim at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

He is hopeful the national record will be his before the end of the 2013-14 summer season.

"I'll keep going all the way to Brazil (2016)," he said.

The race result was an interstate trifecta with Jakeman from the ACT and Short a Western Australian.

South Australia's finalists Alex Bubner and Tom Sclanders finished fifth and sixth, with Sclanders forced to battle shin soreness in his left leg.

Meanwhile, West Australian Gemma Grigg surprised even herself with victory in the 120m Women's Gift.

The diminutive sprinter caused a huge upset when she beat Victorian Stephanie Mollica and South Australian Natasha Wright.

"I'm shocked, I did not expect too much," said Grigg, who as a surf life saving background.

"It's been a massive year with sport and work and now I have finished on a high.

"It is really hard when you are out there (in front) and waiting for them to swamp you. I waited and waited and they did not come."

The victory followed an impressive effort in the 70m on Thursday when she finished in a dead heat for second.

"That run gave me confidence because I thought I'd go better over the 120m."

"Let's Go While We're Young"

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