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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Luke Versace patron of Stawell Gift

Luke Versace patron of Stawell Gift

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1 Luke Versace patron of Stawell Gift on Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:24 pm


The Stawell Times - News

The Stawell Athletic Club have named Luke Versace has their next club patron, just the third in the clubs long history.

“I was blown away to be asked to be the patron of the club, understanding the history of the gift of what it means to Stawell, Victoria and other parts of Australia.

“My family and I see it as an honour for all us of and it was quite unexpected.  When I found out the people who were patron before me, I felt quite embarrassed,” Versace said.

In 2001 William Earle who was a student at Stawell High School was elected patron.

Earle was an outstanding sprinter and represented Australia in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as a member of the four by 100 metres relay team.

He remains the only Olympian to have hailed from Stawell.

Club President Neil Blizzard thanked the former patron William Earle for his service and dedication over the last 15 years.

Earle indicated that he felt that it was time that he passed on the honour and the club felt that Luke Versace was the ideal replacement.

Versace shows enthusiasm and dedication to the club.

Versace is a colorful character who was lucky to run at all.

He ran third in the 2005 Stawell Gift final behind Joshua Ross who famously won from the scratch mark.

The 2013 season saw him under performing and overweight, but determination to give it one last shot saw him shed 12 kilograms in readiness for his tilt at the 2014 Stawell Gift.

“To win the gift was something I always dreamed about and cherished but to be given this honour is something that in many ways is greater than winning gift,” Versace said.

Running in the black, the then 31 year old held on to win one of the closest finishes in the events 135 year history.

Immediately after the race he retired, stating “I will never ever sprint again.  I am more than happy to live off this for a lifetime.”

Three years on and Versace is now the Stawell Athletic Clubs third Patron.

“When they told me who I was taking over the gravity of the appointment really hit me.  Hopefully I can represent the Stawell Gift with distinction and continue to help keep it a major Australian sporting event for generations to come,” he said.

The 2017 Stawell Easter Gift runs from Saturday April 15 to Monday April 17.

Tickets are now available  on the website.

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