Josh Ross

Olympian wins Stawell Gift
March 28, 2005 - 5:30PM

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Joshua Ross celebrates his Stawell Gift victory in 2003. Today he became only the second man to win the race off scratch.
Photo: Getty Images
Olympian Joshua Ross etched his name in the history books with a classic win from scratch in the Australia Post Stawell Gift today.

Ross, 24, clocked 12.36s to defeat fellow New South Welshman Mark Hignett (8m) by nine one-hundredths of a second with Victorian Luke Versace (9.75m) third in 12.45s.

Ross, who started the final as an even money favourite, achieved much with today’s victory.

He is the first Australian to win the coveted Gift off scratch and only the second man in the 128-year-old event to achieve this.

Madagascan Jean Louis Ravelomanantsoa clocked 12s to win off scratch in 1975.

Ross, the 2003 winner, also became only the third man to win the classic twice along with Victorians Bill Howard (1966, 1967) and the late Barry Foley (1970, 1972).

“This history thing is surreal,” said Ross.

His coach Tony Fairweather agreed and said: “Josh asked me today if he won would he be one of the best ever and I told him yes.”

The head wind in today’s race proved to be an important factor in Ross’s historic victory.

“When I arrived today and felt the head wind I said to myself ‘great, the harder it blows the better for Ross,’” said Fairweather.

Indeed, the wind was the strongest of the carnival at 2.8m per second, resulting in the slowest Gift time for 69 years since Rick McCann clocked 12.75 to triumph in 1936.

Amazingly, Ross is in dire need of the $32,000 purse.

“I’m glad he won as he really needs the money as we still haven’t been able to arrange him a sponsor,” Fairweather said.

Ross, the dual national 100m champion and Athens Olympic 100m quarter-finalist, believes he can still achieve much in athletics.

“I haven’t really scratched the surface the world’s at my feet and I can do anything I want,” he said.

Ross believes he can break the 10-second barrier in the 100m and move into world class soon.

His personal best of 10.12s was set in Perth last January.

Ross, after a week’s break, will resume training for the world athletic titles at Helsinki Finland next August.

  • AAP

The greatest performance in the history of handicap sprinting.

Does anybody know what his training program looks like?

I do not have it at this stage but will make an inquiry to get it. If I get it I will post it here.

12.36sec in 120m [slightly uphill at one stage, with 2.6m/s head wind and on the grass [and sand], from the scratch…awesome!

Excellent start, but 80-120m was the best part of the race.

Could someone describe this race, I don’t what you are talking about? Sorry, I have never heard of this race, is it a 120m race on a hill?

Ross given Daley praise
By Jim Wilson
March 30, 2005

THE high praise for Australian track and field’s new pin-up boy has gone to the next level.

High praise … Thompson and Ross after the Stawell victory.

After becoming only the second sprinter to win the Stawell Gift off scratch, Josh Ross has been paid the ultimate compliment by one of the sport’s all-time greats.

Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson was walking past Ross’s media conference yesterday at Olympic Park when he jumped the fence and headed straight to the Aussie sprint king.

“There is no doubt you have a huge future and you not only have the ability to be a finalist at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, but you could be the best,” Thompson declared.

It was a huge rap from the Englishman and further underlines Ross’s potential as he embarks on a three-year campaign culminating with Beijing.

“It was mind-blowing to hear those words come out of Daley’s mouth,” Ross said.

But Ross isn’t getting ahead of himself after taking up the sport only four years ago.

He will leave for Europe in July before setting his sights on a spot in the world championships final in Helsinki in August and then repeating the dose at next year’s Commonwealth Games in front of a home crowd at the MCG.

“Making the final is my first priority, but come Melbourne next March a medal of some colour would be out of this world,” Ross said.

The 24-year-old is primed to take on the best at a world championships or Olympic Games.

“I don’t care who I race, even if it’s Maurice Greene. I won’t crack and never will,” Ross said.

His stunning win at Stawell on Monday prompted commentator Bruce McAvaney to describe Ross as the best Australian male sprinter he had seen.

In another boost to the star sprinter, a cry for help for sponsors was answered late last night.

After struggling to gain sponsorship deals in the past year, Australia Post has agreed to provide financial assistance in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games.

It is expected other sponsors will follow suit, with sportswear giant adidas also showing strong interest in Ross.

I’ve been to every Stawell Gift since 1981 (bar one thanks to a certain handicapper) and wthout a doubt Josh Ross’s performance this year was the best run I’ve seen at Stawell.

He won off scratch in 12.36 electric, on a grass track that stll needs time to settle & slightly uphill.

It was unbelievable and if you ever get a chance to see it on video - have a look. Josh was conceding starts of 6m or more to some very handy sprinters and picked them as if they were kids at a little athletics meet.

Several class athletes such as Jon Drummond, Linford Christie, Obadele Thompson have all run at Stawell, without success. Ross did something no man has done since 1975 - win from scratch.

Watch him at Helsinki, the “Boss” is bloody quick.

His Semi final was amazing. Eased up with 15 to go.

He beat some decent runners in the heats and semi. In the final have gave pretty much 7 metres start.

Without knowing the guy, he appears to be very confident of his abilities but understates it. He doesn’t appear concerned about other athletes, he just gets out there and does his job.

It was damn good to see Australia’s best sprinter when the richest pro race in Australia. Nothing worse for a lesser quality of an athlete winning than being proclaimed the best.

MELBOURNE, March 29 - Josh Ross’s coach thinks the history-making Stawell Gift winner can challenge for a gold medal on the MCG track this time next year.

Ross will have a 10-day break after yesterday’s success before he starts his buildup to the August World Athletics Championships in Helsinki.

Then the 24-year-old will focus on the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and Fairweather thinks Ross can be a legitimate contender for the 100m if he maintains his development.

``All the experience he’s going to gain over there (Europe), I really feel he’s going to come back here a bigger and stronger runner,’’ Fairweather said.

``He’s a possible gold medal chance in his home country, that’s what people want.’’

Ross said he had visited the MCG a few weeks ago to soak up the atmosphere and was determined to compete at the Games.

``That will be awesome, I went out there a month ago and just had a look around the place, got the blood pumping,’’ he said, with the MCG only a few hundred metres behind him at a post-Gift media call.

``It’s got a great feeling about it and it’s going to be a great atmosphere - just to be in front of your home crowd is going to be unbelievable.’’

Ross yesterday became only the second runner to win the Gift off scratch and the third two-time champion in the event’s 124-year history.
He described his place in history today as ``phenomenal’’.

``I’m proud just to be a part of it and the second man ever to win off scratch and the first Australian, I might add, it’s very special to me,’’ he said.

Even before I won yesterday, my confidence was just sky-high, it's growing all the time. The next 12 months are going to be very big for me.

``I’m getting stronger and faster every time I step on the track and now the world is at my feet, I think anything is possible.’’
The ultimate goal for Ross will be the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

``I will be flying come then, that’s the exciting part, I don’t know what I’m capable of,’’ he said.

Ross’ 100m personal best is 10.12 seconds and Fairweather wants him to reduce that to under 10.1 at the worlds.

Fairweather said they factored in Stawell as part of the preparation for Helsinki.

‘’(It) was pretty-much a bit of a training session in a way, but the three hard runs have done him good, made him stronger because he’s running (more than) his 100m distance,’’ he said.

Other leading contenders for the Commonwealth 100m title should include defending champion Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis, Jamaican Asafa Powell and English duo Mark Lewis-Francis and Jason Gardener.

If he keeps his current form I think he could run 10-flat. Considering that he ran with 2.6m/s wind, on the grass & sand and slightly uphill, from 0m mark - 12.36 in 120m - that has to be bloody close to 10 sec. on a fast track with good conditions.

Talk about a fantastic performance by Ross,have a look at a tape of the start to the final. I dont think that I have ever seen a better start at Stawell in 47 years.Ross was halfway thru his first stride b4 two or three of the other finalists hands had even cleared the ground. His accelleration from there was seamless and it was “all over red rover”.

win from scratch, 120m uphill, i don’t get this, can someone elaborate what this race is about. Is it hard to finish?

The Stawell Gift is a pro runners foot race in OZ over 120 m.

It is a handicap event ie all athletes are allocated a “MARK” which is expressed in .25m increments to a max of 10m.

Pro runners place their foot on the start line, whereas amateurs place their hands on the start line.

In Rosses case he ran the full 120m ie from "The scratch mark " and all the other runners ran from their marks IE 6.75 ,6.75,8.00,8.50,and 9.75.In other words 113.25m etc to the finish line.

The track has a rise to finish which i think is a
bout about 2 feet [61cm]

Hopes this helps.

Not the best way but at this moment I can not offer better. At least you will be able to see parts of the race and the difference Ross made disappear

I think he’s been real impressive this past Australian domestic season, but whether he can get gold at the Commonwealth Games or not will depend on how well he does in Helsinki and whether or not Asafa Powell and Kim Collins and others will be in good form. Also if the British sprinters can pull their fingers out and run.