JANUARY 1 2019 - THE ADVOCATE
Big win for Ash Moloney in the Burnie Gift
Brisbane’s Ash Moloney has added a Burnie Gift to a trophy room that also features a gold medal in the decathlon at the 2018 World Junior Championships following his win at West Park on Tuesday.
Running into a strong wind, Moloney (2.5m) completed his 120m journey in 13.23, to finish ahead of Cameron Cranfield and Harrison Hunt to cap off a strong debut racing on grass.
Stawell Gift winner Jacob Despard, Robert Spencer and Will Johns were the others that contested the final.
Post-race, 18-year-old Moloney said “it is absolutely amazing” to be be part of Burnie Ten history, and came in with the simple expectations to “run as fast as I can”.
This is despite admitting to feeling sick in the lead-up, such were his nerves.
He won his heat in 13.88 and his semi-final in 13.29.
”I am definitely in personal best shape,’’ he said.
”(But) I had to adapt as I have never had to run in a wind like this, as it was absolutely insane as I felt like I was getting blown back.”
While admitting that his experience as a decathlete did come in handy on the day, beating such a quality field for the title made it all the more special.
“The quality of the field was tremendous,’’ he said.
“Those guys are just super fast, so to beat those guys was just amazing.”
Jack Hale and Aaron Bresland were knocked out at the semi-final stage, while Jara Konteh was a scratching.
Moloney, who also made the finals of the Latrobe and Devonport gifts, collected $9000 for his win.
• Ash Moloney (blue) first through the famous Burnie Gift finishing frame in the 2019 Gift Final.
Burnie Gift win a day that Bec Kovacic will never forget
Bec Kovacic says she will remember New Year’s Day 2019 for the rest of her life after her win in the Burnie Gift on Monday.
Having to cope with the strong wind that West Park delivered to start the year, the 18-year-old from Hobart, who had a handicap of 9m, won the footrace in 14.33.
She finished in front of Latrobe Gift champ Brooke Jones and three-time Burnie Gift winner Morgan Gaffney.
Laura Downie, Devonport Gift winner Abby Chapman and Edwina Kidd completed the field for the final.
Kovacic followed in the footsteps of her good friend Kiani Allen, who won the race in 2018, something which made Tuesday that little bit more sweeter for her.
An emotional Kovacic believed her strong start was the reason she was able to taste victory.
“It was very tough (with the wind), especially in the heats and the semis,’’ she said.
“But luckily it calmed down a little bit for the final, but I wasn’t focusing on the weather, just to get to that line.
“I got out of the blocks that quickly, which was one of the best starts of my life, and when I got past Laura (Downie) I was like ‘just keep going’ and it worked out.
“It is starting to sink in now, but I am still just so shocked right now.
“This one of my big goals after Kiani won it last year, as she is one of my closest friends.
“Just following in her footsteps, as she is such a great athlete, is more than I could ask for.”
Kovacic, who is coached by Wayne Mason, won her heat in 15.36 and her semi-final in 14.84.
• Bec Kovacic is overcome with emotion with her win!