Teens to carry Ballarat banner at Maryborough Gift

TWO teenagers will carry the banner for Ballarat in the open women’s 120m event, the $700 Women’s Necklace, at today’s Maryborough Gift meeting at Princes Park, Maryborough. 

16-year-old Holly Dobbyn from Ballarat North and 18-year-old Kate Jones of Durham Lead are the only two women from the region entered in the feature women’s race.

Dobbyn’s coach Peter O’Dwyer says the former state under-15 400m champion is fairly handicapped for today’s race at 8.0 metres but said her preparation had been interrupted.

“She had a bit of an illness during the week so we see how she goes. I think she’s an outside chance to make the final,” O’Dwyer says.

“Holly is a state junior champion at 400m, so the gift distance is not her ideal distance. The mark is fair, but she needs to improve her speed off that mark.”

Dobbyn will wear the blue vest in heat one, with Hampton runner Melanie Purkiss the backmarker in that heat off 2.5m. 

Jones, off 8.25m, will wear the yellow vest in heat four. 

There are four West Australians entered: Sohpie Watts off 7m in heat one, Samanta Plato and Gemma Grigg off 8m and 9m respectively in heat two and Erin Jameson, who will start off 12m in heat three.

Tiffany Boatman of Crowlands, near Ararat, is off a mark of 10.75m in the fourth and final heat of the Women’s Necklace. 

The four heat winners plus the next four fastest runners will progress to the final.