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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Queanbeyan Gift overcomes small field and lower prizes, produces exciting final

Queanbeyan Gift overcomes small field and lower prizes, produces exciting final

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Winners of the 2017 Queanbeyan Gift Andrea Thompson and Michael Hanna. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Queanbeyan Gift overcomes small field and lower prizes, produces exciting final

 Elliot Williams
Canberra Times
December 9 2017

Despite a waning field and a substantial drop in prize money the Queanbeyan Gift produced two exciting finals on Saturday afternoon.

Queanbeyan local Andrea Thompson, 19, won the women's final in 13.60 seconds running off a 7.25 metre handicap.

Seventeen-year-old Michael Hanna from Sydney, perhaps the form gift runner of the season, won the men's final in 12.11 seconds with a 7.75 metre handicap.

Finalists of the men's and women's Queanbeyan Gift. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong  

"I like the gift more [than regular events] because with the stagger you can watch from the back and see how you're placed and I like to chase down people," Hanna said.

"It's been a really good few months of running for me so just happy to get the result."

Thompson said more than anything it was a feeling of relief for her following the race.

"I noticed my times were looking good through the day so that makes me a little more nervous heading into the final."

Michael Hanna, right, wins the men's 2017 Queanbeyan Gift. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

"It's been a few years that I've done this now so probably about time I won one."

Thompson's victory was all the more impressive since she is normally a heptathlete and long-jumper not a specialist sprinter.

The surprise of the day may have been eight-time Australian 100 metres champion Joshua Ross failing to progress past the heats.

Ross had hoped to use the event as preparation for late-career bid for next year's Commonwealth Games.

The Gold Coast event will be a major focus for the two winners from here on out.

Thompson has a heptathlon event in Canberra in January where she is hoping to secure a Commonwealth Games B qualifier.

Hanna is aiming to secure national qualification but also has his sights set on the national beach sprinting championships in April next year.

Much of the conversation prior to the event focussed on the dwindling field of athletes and the 65 per cent drop in available prize money from previous years.

Thompson, who was one of only 12 women to enter the race, said she was disappointed to find out there would not be equal prize money as there had been in previous years.

Thompson walked away with $3000 while Hanna collected $4500 for his win.

Hanna, who began racing gifts with his father in 2014, said he's noticed the drop in athletes and events and grew up hearing about gifts in his father's era which were more common and had more cash on offer.

However both athletes were very appreciative of the cash prize which would go towards a car for Hanna while Thompson promised to pay her parents back some debts after buying a few rounds for friends and family.

Queanbeyan Gift Final Results
Michael Hanna - 12.11
Angus Proudfoot 12.27
Nathan McNab - 12.28
Leonard Kind - 12.29
Ross Langbein - 12.36
Matthew Murray - 12.58

Andrea Thompson - 13.60
Grace Brennan - 13.86
Davina Strauss - 14.05
Tia Hatchman - 14.41
Laura Warner - 14.46
Eleni Gilden - 14.57

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