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March 2018

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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Romanin wins Maryborough Gift; Russo blitzes rivals in women's feature

Romanin wins Maryborough Gift; Russo blitzes rivals in women's feature

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Romanin wins Maryborough Gift; Russo blitzes rivals in women's feature

Bendigo Advertiser
1 January 2018

MELBOURNE sprinter Michael Romanin is hopeful his win in Monday’s Max Martin Maryborough Gift can be the launching pad to Commonwealth Games selection next year.

The 21-year-old outsprinted a class field to claim the $8000 first prize in the feature event at the 157th Highland Gathering at Princes Park.

Romanin, who was fifth in last year’s Stawell Gift behind Matthew Rizzo, set himself up for an excellent tilt at the final by winning both his heat and semi-final.

“It was a tough field to beat. I knew coming out running against these guys I was going to have to work pretty hard especially at the start so they didn’t get away from me on the downhill slope,” he said.

“But it was good to hold them off.

“My form (leading into the race) had been good, I’ve been pretty consistent in state competitions.”

Racing off three metres, Romanin held off fast-finishing Tim Eschebach, from Brisbane, to win a time of 12.362 seconds, with William Little, from Glenhuntly, close by in third.

It was the Preston-based athlete’s second major Gift win in central Victoria.

He last year won the Bendigo Gift, run in conjunction with the Bendigo International Madison event.

Romanin said a shot at Commonwealth Games selection and this year’s Stawell Gift would be high on his agenda during the early months of the new year.

Meanwhile, Olivia Russo blitzed her rivals to win the women’s 120m sprint feature in 14.15 seconds.

The 21-year-old from Brighton was competing for the first time at Maryborough and immediately vowed to be back next year following her stunning win.

“My coach (Justin Lewis) used to run here and he told all of us runners we have to come here because this was in his top three favourite race days,” she said.

“So we are all here today and him pumping (the event) up did not fail to live up to expectations.

“It’s been amazing – it’s such a great atmosphere.”

Russo did not hesitate to nominate the win as the biggest of her career.

“I’ve never really had a consistent season, whether I have been injured, or been away,” she said.

“This season has been the most consistent, getting through winter and now I’m here for  summer.

“It’s looking promising, so touch wood from here I don’t get injured.”

Pamela Austin (Wandana Heights) was the runner-up ahead of Jody Richards (Maidstone).

Russo earlier showed signs of better things to come by winning her heat in 14.90 seconds.

A trip to Castlemaine for next Saturday’s Gift meeting is next on the cards for Russo followed by a crack at the 120m handicap at Rye on January 13.



Romanin, Russo make a perfect start to the year with Maryborough Gift success

By Daniel Short
Ballarat Courier
2 January 2018

Michael Romanin is the 2018 Maryborough Gift winner.

Romanin entered the race as one of the favourites and in great form after becoming a state champion with a gold medal winning performance in the Victorian 100 yards at December’s Zatopek10.

He delivered on the hype, executing a well-run final to take out the crown.

Running off the backmarker of 3m he flew home on the wide lane.

Romanin only turned 21 two weeks ago, but he raced a mature 120m and looked very good through his heats.

The boy from Preston was rapt to come through against such a competitive field with the likes of Tim Escheback and Jojo Kwenin staking strong claims.

Romanin delivered a time of 12.362 seconds on his way to victory and said he would love to come back and defend his title, saying it was great to run in such an atmosphere in front of a packed grandstand at Princes Park.

“A lot of hard work over the last few months (has gone into this),” Romanin said.

“It was a tough field, so coming out and running against these guys, I had to work pretty hard.

“It’s really good, nice to have on my running resume.

“I’d like to come back, it’s pretty cool.”

It was the perfect start to a year that has been the focus for a long time for Romanin.

The Commonwealth Games is the priority for the promising runner with the hard work sure to continue if he is to make that dream a reality.

Romanin said he would be looking to fine-tune all aspects of his running in the lead-up to the National Championships and what he hopes will be a Commonwealth Games campaign in April.

“(I’ll be working on) everything – blocks, driving out real hard, just keep building and building and the rest will come.

“I think any athlete would love to represent their country in any national competition.”

If he does not manage to qualify, the Stawell Gift will become the focus.

Romanin finished fifth at Stawell last year and if he falls short of the Commonwealth Games, the much-coveted Stawell Gift will be the next best thing.

Ballarat hope Mason Keast ran well in his heat, but did not manage to qualify for the final.

Meanwhile, Olivia Russo claimed the women’s Maryborough Gift with an impressive run in a strong field on Monday.

The 21-year-old from Brighton said it was without a doubt her biggest win and said she would definitely be back to a meet that had exceeded all expectations.

After tasting success in the 100m at Northcote three weeks ago, she continued the good form with victory over the 120m.

Russo said the focus for her and her coach had been on running relaxed during the pro races and it seems to be bringing out her best form.

“I just need to focus on my lane when I start to feel others around me,” Russo said.

“Ideally I’ll be doing as much as I can of these pro races.

“I’ve never really had a consistent season...this year’s been my first where I’ve been here throughout winter and then here for summer, so it’s looking promising, so hopefully I don’t get injured and can stay in form.

Russo will now turn her attention to Castlemaine and Rye.

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