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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Matt Beckenham dubs teenager Andrea Thompson favourite for Queanbeyan Gift

Matt Beckenham dubs teenager Andrea Thompson favourite for Queanbeyan Gift

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Matt Beckenham dubs teenager Andrea Thompson favourite for Queanbeyan Gift

By Caden Helmers
Canberra Times
November 25 2016

Andrea Thompson is the 18-year-old sensation that Olympic coach Matt Beckenham touted the favourite for the Queanbeyan Gift, but the thought of winning has never even crossed her mind.

Thompson turned 18 in October and only graduated from Karabar High School on Tuesday – a win in one of Australia's most highly regarded races would cap off a big couple of months.

Andrea Thompson, 18, will line up against Olympian Lauren Wells on Saturday. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Thompson will line up against Olympian Lauren Wells in her third open Gift run at the newly renamed Brad Haddin Oval [formerly Town Park] on Saturday.

"I haven't really thought about winning," Thompson said.

"Obviously it'd be awesome but I'm not expecting anything too dramatic but it'd be really exciting. Even making the final would be really cool.

"I think I've got a pretty good mark this year. From what I've seen, the people I know that are running it's all pretty even. It should be interesting."

While Thompson hasn't given much thought to winning the event, former Olympian and prominent track and field coach Matt Beckenham says she is "probably the favourite".

"She's a former winner of the junior Gift and she's looking to make the step up into the seniors and win women's Gift this year," Beckenham said.

"I think she's got a pretty healthy mark to do it.

"Lauren Wells is the backmarker. She doesn't mind running the 120 metres so she'll be giving it a crack."

The end of her schooling life has come at the perfect time for Thompson with the Commonwealth Games coming up in 2018.

Making a big stage like that means Thompson will relish every chance she gets against high-quality opponents, exactly what she faces in Wells.

Thompson has faced 2008 winner Wells before and the format of the race further eases the nerves.

"I guess it's not too bad because they're behind you and you can't see them, so it's not as intimidating," she said.

"It's always hard in races like that when people are behind you and you can't see how fast they're coming or where they are. It's a little bit intimidating but it's pretty cool.

"It's not normal. It takes a bit of getting used to but you just go out and do the job and hope for the best really."

While reducing the event from two days to one takes some of the gloss off the carnival, Queanbeyan local Thompson says the race is there for the taking in an open field.

"Unfortunately this year they've split up the day at the park and the street party and stuff which has taken a fair bit away from the event," Thompson said.

"With a bit of changing with the professional track league I think they've lost quite a few competitors which is a bit sad, but it's always a good event and it's always exciting to see that many people in your home town."

Saturday: Races begin at 9:30am. Women's 120m final at 4.30pm, Men's 120m final at 4.45pm. All races at Brad Haddin Oval (Queanbeyan Town Park).

"Let's Go While We're Young"


Lauren Wells has looked on the fat side in her ACT inter-club runs so far. Times have been decent though. Everyone should add .2 to any times to that Belconnen track though.

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