Norfolk Island "Gift" 2013

Perfect weather conditions and another great afternoon’s competition were the order of the day at the Malcolm Champion Oval for the annual running of the Norfolk Island Gift last Saturday afternoon. Parents, athletes, friends and interested onlookers filled the banks of the oval to witness this year’s event. Although entry numbers were down a little on last year the competition was as fierce as ever with everyone vying to be the “Gift” winner for 2013. With over $2000 value in prizes on offer for the 3 events the Norfolk Island Gift continues to be a favourite event for many of our younger and not so young athletes.

The “Gift” has been conducted for more than 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 2013 again repeated the success of last year with the staging of the “Middlegate” Mile, the “Athletics Norfolk Island” 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.

The afternoon’s activities began with the running of the heats of the “Norfolk Island Gas Centre” 100 metres with last year’s winner and early favourite Mark Kalsrap saving his best for the last of 4 heats. His heat time placed him only just ahead of ‘whiz kid” Ella Rogers  and newcomer to this event,  Chayla Williams so ther was still a chance for a new champion to emerge but that show down would have to wait.

The 400 metres is a gut wrenching event at the best of times but with athletes placed on handicap marks around the first bend of the track it is the back markers that have the hardest task of all - to run down all those in front and still have enough left in the home straight to try to catch the young quicks. With fifteen entrants the firing of the gun began the mad dash to the finish line. Chayla Williams and the two Ella’s entered the home straight in strong positions accompanied by Courtney Grube and the always threatening Aaron Graham chasing hard though the pack. However, Chayla took ownership of this year’s race, to become champion over the 400 metres in her first appearance in this event, with Ella Rogers a close 2nd and Ella Borg finishing quickly to take out 3rd ahead of Courtney and Aaron.

With time given for athletes to recover from the exertion of the 400 metres, 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. Defending mile champion, Jedd Gardner, looked every bit the athlete with a carefully paced start and quickly began to reel in the markers in front of him and head for the front of the pack. Peter Haymes, second in this event in 2011and 2012, was maybe a little too eager to take the title this year and started very fast in his attempt to match it with Jedd.

 Jedd Gardner ran a great race and entering the home stretch after 4 long laps of the track he continued to extend his lead on the field. The only one who looked likely to upset Jedd’s march to glory was Richard Cribb but he admitted after the race that his younger competitor just seemed to keep running away from him over the last 100 metres. Mason Wilkinson ran strongly to take out 3rd place with Aaron Graham and Peter Haymes filling out the top 5 places.

Another break allowing a little more recovery time for athletes in the 400metres and mile, and then it was back to the 100 metre start for the running of the “Norfolk Island Gas Centre”100 metres final. With some new faces appearing in this year’s final and some smart times run in the heats of this event earlier in the day it seemed as though it could be anyone’s race – but maybe Mark Kalsraps absence from the 400metres and mile was a smart move, saving all his energy for this one great race. It was to be Mark’s day, but he was pushed hard by Ella Rogers and Chayla Williams taking the title by less than a metre from Ella and a strong finishing Chayla in 3rd spot. Commentators suggest that the girls will reign supreme in 2014! Jonny Sheridan, having tasted a podium finish with his team in the Around the Island Relay in November, picked up 4th place just ahead of Zanda Robinson with Ella Borg, the youngest competitor to make the final, finishing in 6th place which was an improvement on her 7th place in 2012. Cam Rogers gave his best on the day to run into 7th with Mason Wilkinson filling out the top 8.

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. Full results and prize list follows this report.

Athletics Norfolk Island is grateful for the attendance of parents and friends to support the athletes at these annual events and thanks to those who assisted with timing and preparation of the track for the afternoon particularly Peter Arthur, Paula O’Hara and Rose Stephens.

Special mention was made during presentations of Alice, Cameron and Ella Rogers who are moving to Airlie Beach to be closer to Tim. They have been great participants in athletics events on Norfolk. Also , mention of Monique and Jedd Gardner who are heading off to New Zealand for a couple of years – seems Jedd is keen to continue his athletics and reports suggest he is already joined up to an athletics club ! Both families received acclamation from the spectators who joined in wishing them well on their next adventures.

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 following results. Athletics Norfolk Island and all entrants are always extremely grateful for this ongoing support. Particular thanks to our very long time sponsors of the “Gift”, Chris and Karen Gatehouse from the Norfolk Island Gas Centre after whom the “blue ribbon” event of the “Gift “ is named .

 

Norfolk Island “Gift” 2013 - Results

“Norfolk Island Gas Centre” 100 metres:

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

  • 2nd Ella Rogers - $150  - Athletics Norfolk Island

  • 3rd Chayla Williams - Dinner voucher – South Pacific Resort, $50 voucher -Foodland’s

  • 4th Jonny Sheridan - Dinner voucher – South Pacific resort, $50 voucher -Foodland’s

  • 5th Zanda Robinson - $50 voucher – Norfolk Island Building Supplies

  • 6th Ella Borg - $50 voucher – Paradise Hotel

  • 7th Cameron Rogers - $30 voucher – Governors Lodge

  • 8th Mason Wilkinson - $30 voucher – Governors Lodge

“Athletics Norfolk Island” 400 metres:

  • 1st Chayla Williams - $200 - Athletics Norfolk Island

  • 2nd Ella Rogers - $100 - Athletics Norfolk Island

  • 3rd Ella Borg - $50 voucher - Pete’s Place

  • 4th Courtney Grube - $50 voucher - Max’s Department Store

  • 5th Aaron Graham - $50 voucher - Foodland’s

“Middlegate” Mile:

  • 1st Jedd Gardner - $200 - Athletics Norfolk Island

  • 2nd Richard Cribb - $100 voucher - Travel World

  • 3rd Mason Wilkinson - $50 voucher - Norfolk Island Building Supplies

  • 4th Aaron Graham - $50 voucher - Max’s Department Store

  • 5th Peter Haymes - $50 voucher - Foodland’s