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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Middle-distance feel to carnivals as SCAT entices Kenyans to visit

Middle-distance feel to carnivals as SCAT entices Kenyans to visit

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http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/1925152/middle-distance-feel-to-carnivals-as-scat-entices-kenyans-to-visit/?cs=88

Middle-distance feel to carnivals as SCAT entices Kenyans to visit

By JORDAN ABELL
The Advocate
Nov. 21, 2013



It's been a while since athletic royalty - such as Josh Ross
- has graced the Christmas Carnival Series, but this year the Sports
Carnivals Association of Tasmania has enticed four Kenyan middle-distance
runners to the series. Picture: Stuart Wilson.


MIKE Gunson, president of Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania, is anticipating crowds will flock to this year's Christmas Carnival Series considering the world-class runners that will be on show.

Gunson, who has been involved with the carnivals for more than 20 years, is hopeful the turn-out to events will be like the years when Australian athletic royalty Cathy Freeman, Josh Ross and Jana Pittman graced our shores.

Gunson said he could not recall a classier group of middle-distance runners, especially the four Kenyans, who will be among 40 interstate and overseas athletes specifically recruited for the carnivals.

``We are poised to witness some amazing running at these carnivals,'' Gunson said.

``We've had some fantastic sprinters here over the years, and Collis Birmingham and Craig Mottram, but they were one-offs.

``This year we've got four outstanding, world-class runners taking on one another.

``These guys are as good as, if not better than, than Mottram.

``We're hopeful that North-West Coasters and Tasmanians welcome the Africans here and make the effort to get down to the events, just like people did when we had Freeman, Ross and Pittman.''

But despite the talents of the Kenyans, Gunson said the four Africans wouldn't have it all their own way.

Gunson said the men will not be used to running on grass and in handicap races.

``We expect they'll adapt very quickly to the unfamiliar conditions, but we also have some outstanding athletes here in the state,'' he said.

``Tasmanians James Hanson, Jacob Birtwhistle, Patrick Smith and Doug Hamerlok will make it very tough for them.

``I anticipate (the Kenyans) will be starting off scratch in every race too.

``One of the highlights will be the 800m at Devonport, where the Kenyans will clash with Alex Rowe, who is the reigning Australian 800m champion.''

A special invitation-only race at the Launceston carnival on December 28 will see the four Africans go head-to-head against Tasmania's best athletes over a mile.

http://protrack.easyforumlive.com

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