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PROTRACK » TAL RESULTS » Hobart Bikes & Splkes

Hobart Bikes & Splkes

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1 Hobart Bikes & Splkes on Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:22 pm


Jesse joins elite company

ADAM SMITH | January 29, 2013 12.00am

TEENAGER Jesse Usoalii ensured fellow rising star and friend Jacob Despard didn't collect all the carnival glory this season by flying home to win the Hobart Gift at New Town yesterday.

Despard, the under-16 record holder for the 100m who stunned the field in the Burnie Gift, came into the southern spectacle as the one to catch and Usoalii obliged with a sizzling dash of 10.86s to claim his breakthrough victory.

The 16-year-old Hutchins student, running off 2m, held off veteran sprinter Luke Whitney (3.25m) and John Howe (3m) to bag the $1700 winner's cheque and stamp himself as another up-and-comer to watch. It was more heartache for Whitney, who desperately wanted to add his hometown Gift to his resume in honour of coach Ray Quarrell but found himself taking second place for the third time.

Usoalii, who had just returned from the Australian Olympic Youth Festival where he claimed silver in the 100m, was determined to make up for a disappointing showing in Burnie on New Year's Day and did so in fine style.

"It feels great and a long time coming so I'm pretty happy," he said.

"I wanted to do well at Burnie but unfortunately that didn't happen so it is good to come down to Hobart and perform well.

"This is my second year [competing at the carnivals] and I didn't go so well in the first year. It is really difficult to come into the carnivals first go and perform well.

"Some people do it but I found it difficult last year."

Usoalii said he was developing a healthy rivalry with Despard, with the two set to push each other on the track during the next decade.

"It is fantastic to have Jacob next to me a lot of the time, we have been running together for four years. We are good friends and while it is very competitive, we enjoy it that way."

Meanwhile, in the women's gift, Ulverstone's Abby Chapman snared her second Hobart title.

The 2009 winner who is also a surf lifesaving star beat home a class field including state 100m and 200m champion Morgan Gaffney, defending champion Michelle Davis and rising star Lily Castle.

Running off 5.5m, Chapman stopped the clock at 12.08s, with Kiera Chambers (4m) and Ashleigh Corbett (5m) separated by just one-thousandth of a second.

"I'm pretty surprised to win but really happy," said the 23-year-old, who won last weekend's St Helens Gift.

"I went in with pretty low expectations.

"I just wanted to run the best I could so I was really surprised with how I went.

"I wasn't expecting to win.

"I just wanted to make the final and once you are in the final, anything can happen."

On the track, Burnie's Matt Nicholson made it back-to-back 2000m Wheel victories.

The 20-year-old came flying home late to overtake Will Holmes just before the line with veteran Roy Martin third.

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