HIGH profile backmarkers Joshua Ross and Joel Bee are safely through to Sunday's semi finals despite not winning their respective heats during day one of the Ballarat Gift carnival at Eureka Stadium.
Ross, starting off an unprecedented mark of -1.5m finished second in heat 10 behind Simon Jackson (Bentleigh), to earn his place in the semi finals. Earlier Ballarat sprinter Bee was pipped in heat three by a fraction of a second by Ben Weaver from Frankston. The first two runners in each of the 11 heats progress to the semi finals, along with the next 14 runners.
The 120m Ballarat Gift semi finals are on Sunday from 12.15pm, with the final at 3.30pm.All runners had to contend with a stiff headwind that made life tougher for the frontmarkers.
Nevertheless Matthew Harvey of Keysborough set the quickest time when he won heat one in 12.49 seconds of a mark of 10.75m. Jackson won his heat with a time of 12.52 seconds, the second fastest heat of the day.
The news was better for Ballarat in the Women's Gift heats with Ballarat based runners winning three of the four heats contested.Nadia Domaschenz of Mt Clear won the first heat with a time of 14.61 seconds, while Holly Dobbyn of Ballarat North won heat three (14.58 sec) and Kate Jones of Durham Lead the fifth (14.51 sec). The other victors were Lara Gambino (Parkdale, 14.56 sec) and Katie Moore of Kilsyth (14.83 sec).
Barbados sprinter Jade Bailey could not overcome a -3.5m mark, finishing fourth in her heat.
Tara Domaschenz also found the going tough in her 120m Women's Gift but qualified for the 70m dash by winning the third heat with a 7.75 second run. Aaron Stubbs won the first 70m heat in 7.50 seconds and Craig Mair the second in 7.62 seconds.
Racing starts Sunday at 9.30am.