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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Wiltshire wins the Bill Howard despite start 'trip'

Wiltshire wins the Bill Howard despite start 'trip'

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Stawell Gift: Wiltshire overcomes near-disaster
Ballarat Courier
26 Apr, 2011

NOT even a blip at the start could derail Matthew Wiltshire's Stawell Gift Carnival dream.

The 19-year-old broke through for his maiden success on the Victorian Athletic League circuit with a barnstorming win in the Bill Howard 100-metre Handicap.

The Alfredton sprinter told The Courier an early blunder threatened his chances in yesterday's final, before recovering to storm to victory in 10.64 seconds.

"I had a trip at the start so I was worried then," Wiltshire, who ran off 6.5m, said,

"I got out of the blocks nicely, but just as I started to come up one of my spikes hit the ground and I nearly ate the dirt so I was just happy to finish off the race.

"I had to put in the hard ones in the middle of the race to get back up there, and then just finish it off."

Wiltshire, who was eighth in the same event last year, was the fastest of the heat winners on Sunday, and qualified for the final with a semi-final victory on Monday.

He was run out in the Stawell Gift semi-finals by Queenslander Andrew McCabe earlier yesterday, but bounced back to achieve his main goal this Easter.

Wiltshire said it was a "great feeling" to break his duck at the VAL's marquee carnival.

"It's fantastic," Wiltshire said.

"A Stawell Gift (carnival) sash is what every runner wants, so it's good to get one."

Wiltshire, a former Lake Wendouree footballer, paid tribute to his trainer, veteran Ballarat runner Peter O'Dwyer.

"Peter has got me in tip-top shape.

"He pushes me hard - I have thrown-up most sessions... he pushes me to the limit," he said.

Wiltshire now has his sights set on this weekend's Ballarat Gift meeting, which is on Saturday and Sunday.

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