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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Robinson wins in Tassie twist - The Stawell Times

Robinson wins in Tassie twist - The Stawell Times

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http://www.stawelltimes.com.au/story/1402961/robinson-wins-in-tassie-twist/?cs=1284

Robinson wins in Tassie twist

By MICHELLE DE'LISLE
The Stawell Times
April 2, 2013


STAWELL - Tasmanian sprinter Andrew Robinson has created history, winning the 132nd Australia Post Stawell Gift in a thrilling finish at Central Park yesterday.

Robinson is the first athlete from the Apple Isle to win the event since 1941 and first to reach the final since 1995.

It was somewhat of a shock victory for the 20 year old from Launceston who, running off 7.25 metres, had to compete against 2011 Gift winner and hot favourite, Mitchell Williams-Swain in the final.

Williams-Swain went into the Gift final a short priced favourite at $1.30 with bookmakers, after clocking the fastest semi final time of 11.95 seconds.

However in a dramatic twist, Williams-Swain had a false start and was sent back a metre in the final.

This ultimately cost him his second Gift, with Robinson going to the line a winner in a photo finish to claim the $40,000 prize in a time of 12.01 seconds.

It was an emotional victory for Robinson and his coach from Hobart Athletics Club, Trevor Quarrell.

Quarrell lost everything he owned in the Dunalley bushfires in January and Robinson paid tribute to his coach.

"My coach, after the horrible bushfires can celebrate now," Robinson said.

"After Christmas we set ourselves to do the best we can and after everything that happened I used that as personal motivation to do it for someone who I love like a second dad.

"I just really wanted to go out there this weekend and make him proud and put all that bad stuff we had happen to us this year behind us.

"I have done that in the best possible way."

Robinson said that the fires did interrupt one week when Quarrell 'wasn't in the mood' to train his charges, but the Hobart Athletic Club and athletic community banded together and got behind them.

"We had a couple of carnivals and we wanted to fulfil goals in running them," he said.

This is Robinson's fifth year running and he has been with Quarrell and his stable of runners for two years after meeting him at a carnival.

After having no luck in competition last year, Robinson put his head down and focused on training.

The 20 year old was confident heading into the race, although described the psyche as 'excruciating.'

"I was quietly happy with myself and thought I could execute it (the win). I had to concentrate on my own race run as hard as I could.

Despite the close finish, Robinson knew instantly that he had won Australia's most prestigious footrace.

"I knew I got there on the line because of the reaction of my training partners.

"We're one big family and to get the win - it wasn't just for me but for the athletics community in Tasmania."

There was plenty of fanfare surrounding the inclusion of one of the world's fastest men in the Australia Post Stawell Gift carnival in 2013, Asafa Powell.

When asked about the prospect of running against Powell, who made it to the semi finals but did not compete due to a hamstring injury, Robinson was positive in his response.

"Running against him (Powell) would have been extra motivation. It would have been a great thrill.

"But I'm quietly happy that he didn't run because he might have beaten me."

Coach Ray Quarrell was pleased with Robinson's win but did admit to being glad the athletics season was over after losing his house and all his training equipment in the bushfires.

"It's a great way to finish," he said.

Quarrell said he had rested Andrew from the Tasmanian state titles in preparation for Stawell and was positive about his chances in the lead up to the big race.

"We knew Andrew had a real good show and would be thereabouts with 10 metres to go.

"He ran a big 400 metre race recently and last Sunday he ran 12.01 (seconds) on long grass," Quarrell said.

"Andrew has a great temperament. You tell him what to do and he does it."

The pair meet up once a fortnight when Andrew travels to Hobart and they talk each Monday and Wednesday night after training.

Quarrell described the process that was set up in preparation for Stawell.

"The boys ran around and got everything together and all up, they wanted to do something for me and they bonded together and have done it.

"There was something up there smiling down on us."

Robinson was extremely grateful when accepting the $40,000 cheque.

"This is going to change my life," he said.

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