Norfolk Island "Gift" 2012

Cool, overcast weather greeted a full field of athletes and family supporters to the annual Norfolk Island “Gift” which was held at the Malcolm Champion Oval on Saturday the 8th of December.

The “Gift” has been conducted for well over 20 years and has in the past involved a number of different athletics events including a selection of sprints, middle distance, jumps and throws. In more recent years the focus has been on running events and 2012 repeated the success of last year with the staging of the “Middlegate” Mile, the “World Traders” 400 metres and the blue ribbon event, the “Norfolk Island Gas Centre” 100 metres. All “Gift” events use the World Masters age graded tables to calculate the handicaps either based on distance as in the 100metres and 400 metres or on time as in the mile, to be applied to all entrants from 8 years old through to 100 years old, inclusive of gender, and designed to ensure that everyone has an equal chance to win an event.

As in previous editions of the “Gift”, a range of very generous sponsors has assisted Athletics Norfolk Island in providing great support for the prizes on offer for these events. These supporters are acknowledged in the results and Athletics Norfolk Island and all entrants are always extremely grateful for this ongoing support.

The afternoon’s activities began with the running of the heats of the “Norfolk Island Gas Centre” 100 metres. Early favourites included past “Gift” winners, Mark Kalsrap and Taylah Menzies but solid heat wins from Ronan Davies, Ella Borg and Britney Quintal – Christian meant that it was still anyone’s race come the final.

The heats were followed by the running of the “World Traders” 400 metres and it was great to see sponsor Ian Anderson present for the running of this year’s event. Seventeen entrants were placed on their handicap distance marks, with Mark Kalsrap and Ronan Davies off a 19 metre handicap right through the field to Ella Borg’s start at the 131 metre mark. With the firing of the gun the mad dash to the finish line had begun. Defending 400metre champion, Taylah Menzies, started confidently and reeled in the markers in front of her and it looked like she would be a certainty to take the title again. Other likely contenders emerged with Jedd Gardner, Casey Snell and Richard Cribb entering the home straight in strong positions. However, the back markers, Mark and Ronan paced themselves to carve through the entire field of runners and, with a desperate lunge for the line took out 1st and 2nd places respectively, just pipping Taylah into 3rd place. Ella Borg’s run was inspiring for the youngest athlete in the field and she came in a well deserved 4th place. Filling out the top 8 was then Casey Snell 5th, Britney Quintal – Christian 6th, Jedd Gardner 7th and seasoned campaigner, Richard Cribb in 8th place.

With a 20 minute break in proceedings and a chance for all athletes to rehydrate, it was then onto the “Middlegate” Mile (1609 metres). Each athlete in this event is given a time handicap from when the race starts. When their time is called they then begin the race and chase the field over the 4 laps of the race – first home across the line is then the winner. Handicaps saw the youngest athletes( all 8 years old) Jedd Gardner and the O’Hare  trio of Hugh, James and Patrick head out first and try to get a solid lead on the rest of the field. Peter Haymes, second in this event in 2011, started only 15 seconds behind and was keen to go one better this year. With a number of tactical withdrawals from the race (athletes saving themselves for the 100metre final) the field still comprised 14 athletes with the back markers, Alan McNeill and Richard Cribb, finally away after just over 1 minute.

Performances by the young athletes in this event were nothing short of courageous with the O’Hare’s leaving everything on the track – James and Hugh finishing strongly to take out 6th  and 7th places – but the buzz around the track was the effort of Jedd Gardner who never faltered in his pace through the whole race and, entering the home stretch, with  a fast finishing group of Peter Haymes, Richard Cribb and Alan McNeill bearing down on him, he saw off the challenge with a determined sprint finish that secured him the 2012 title and which would have made any Mile champion proud. Peter took out 2nd again this year, beating Richard into 3rd spot and Alan McNeill 4th. Special mention of Candice Snell who battled valiantly through the race to catch 7 athletes starting in front of her and to eventually take out 5th place.

To wind up this year’s “Gift” events, and after allowing a little more recovery time for athletes in the 400metres and mile, was the running of the “Norfolk Island Gas Centre”100 metres final. Brentt Jones had the duty of starter for the day and  settled the final field into their handicap start positions. The group of spectators fell silent and as the gun heralded the start of the final the silence was shattered by the excited yells and screams of family and friends urging the athletes to one of the closest finishes in many years. Again, Mark Kalsrap proved too fast and took out his second title in this event ,only just holding off Ronan Davies for 2nd and Britney Quintal- Christian storming home in 3rd place. Taylah still showed she has plenty of speed to hold out for 4th, with Casey Snell showing the benefit of training to fill 5th.Jonny Sheridan picked up 6th in his first attempt at the “Gift” with Ella Borg, displaying lots of talent throughout the afternoon, 7th and Cameron Rogers, who was the only finalist to have competed in all Gift events, filling 8th spot.

At the conclusion of the Norfolk Island Gas Centre”100 metres final the prize giving was held with prizes awarded by President of Athletics Norfolk Island, Brentt Jones, and Mr Ian Anderson who presented the prizes for the “World Traders” 400 metres. Full results and prize list follows this report.

The afternoon concluded with 2 Championship events, the Shot Put and the Long Jump , which this year included a number of parents and “older” athletes who gave the events a go. With the Men’s National record holder in the Shot Put, Brentt Jones unable to defend his numerous national titles through injury (or age?) the field was open and looking for a new Champion. Cara Buffett, after a few years absence from the competitive scene returned to give the Shot Put a heave (she is the current Women’s record holder) and was up against a hungry Britney Quintal – Christian. With a few laughs along the way the new National title holders in the Shot Put are, Men’s - Suni Ratu Levu 10.59 metres and Women’s – Britney Quintal – Christian 10.35 metres. Of special note in this event was the tussle between Rose Stephens and daughter Brianna for family bragging rights – which fell to Mum by just over 10 cms. Well done Rose! Tosca and Myka Quintal had a similar challenge but this time Myka prevailed to even the score for the daughters.

The Long Jump saw Mark Kalsrap emerge as the title holder with a jump of 5.45 metres in the Men’s competition and the Women’s title taken out by Britney Quintal- Christian with a leap of 4.25 metres.

Athletics Norfolk Island is grateful for the attendance of parents and friends to support the athletes at these annual events and special thanks to Brianna Stephens and Myka Quintal for their assistance as officials during the afternoon. Thanks to all athletes for your participation and to all of our wonderful sponsors for their continuing and very generous support.

Norfolk Island “Gift” Results

“Norfolk Island Gas Centre” 100 metres:

  • 1st Mark Kalsrap - $400 plus shield  - Norfolk Island Gas Centre

  • 2nd Ronan Davies - $200  - Travel World

  • 3rd Britney Quintal – Christian - $100 vouchers – Foodland, $50 voucher NI Building Supplies.

  • 4th Taylah Menzies - $75 – Athletics Norfolk Island (ANI), $30 voucher – Governors Lodge

  • 5th Casey Snell - $50 voucher – Max’s, Bag – ANI

  • 6th Jonny Sheridan - $50 voucher – Max’s, Bag – Westpac Banking Corporation

  • 7th Ella Borg  - $50 voucher – Cascade Motors, Sun cap – ANI

  • 8th Cameron Rogers - $30 voucher – Governors Lodge, bag – ANI

“World Traders” 400 metres:

  • 1st Mark Kalsrap - $250 voucher – World Traders

  • 2nd Ronan Davies - $100 voucher – World Traders

  • 3rd Taylah Menzies - $50 voucher – World Traders

  • 4th Ella Borg - Bag  and radio pedometer – Westpac Banking Corporation

“Middlegate” Mile:

  • 1st Jedd Gardner - $250 – Athletics Norfolk Island(ANI)

  • 2nd Peter Haymes - $100 voucher- Pete’s Place, Umbrella – Westpac banking Corporation

  • 3rd Richard Cribb - $50 voucher – Foodland,  Bag – ANI

  • 4th Alan McNeill - $50 voucher – NI Building Supplies , Bag - ANI