First titles claimed at inaugural Gift weekend

The first of the big events at the inaugural WesTrac Bunbury Geographe Gift have been decided with Ryan Camille and Sophie Watts claiming the women’s and men’s 70m titles respectively.

Perth-based Watt’s defeated Katherine Sparrow and Joanne Stannard to claim the sprint and a $1000 cheque.

Watts and Sparrow started from 3.75m and held off a strong chase form Stannard who started from 2.5m.

Camille, who races in the Victorian Athletics League, had a great start from his 5.25m mark and managed to hold off William Bailey (5m) and race favourite Bryce Teo (2.5m).

He attributed his surprise win to a new training focus on longer distances.

“I’m a good starter but have been working on my 120s and 400s this season,” he said after the race.

“It’s a bit of a shock to win, but fantastic.

“I’ve come over from Melbourne for this event and it is great, how could anyone not enjoy running here right next to the ocean here in Bunbury?”

Having won the 70m, Camille will be a favourite going into tomorrow’s 120m, but he has a tough field to face, arguably stronger than the famous Stawell Gift which ran a few weeks ago.

Paralympian and race commentator Brad Scott has been watching the form and rates 70m runner up Bailey (9m) as a chance alongside WA sprint star Aaron Bresland (1.5m)  and local boy Dylan Panizza (7.25m)

But all eyes will be on Stawell winner Jacob Despard starting from 2.25m and Commonwealth Games sprint stars Jack Hale (0.75m) and Trae “quadzilla” Williams who will start from scratch.

“The real battle will be Trae and Jack, Trae’s fast turnover will help for the first 20m but Jack has more purchase when he runs and is my pick over Trae,” Scott said.