Ballarat's Sam Baird in Devonport professional athletics showdown tonight

AUSTRALIAN under-18 400-metre title-holder Sam Baird will be in action in Devonport tonight.

Baird will line up among seven of the nation's top rising stars in the Australian 400-metre professional title.

The race is the highlight event on the second night of the Devonport carnival.

Baird will be joined by reigning Australian 800m champion Alex Rowe, this year's Stawell Gift winner Andrew Robinson, 2009 World University Summer Games gold medallist Clay Watkins, along with Max Waldron, Simon Fitzpatrick and Matthew Hargreaves.

Devonport Athletic Club vice-president and co-ordinator Rod Walker said the event was a welcome addition after last being run on the North-West in 1985.

``It's just fantastic that we've secured this race for the Coast,'' Walker said.

``I really hope we can actually make this an annual race...

``We've tended to shy away from these types of events but I think this should be a big part of our new era as a series and we should push for more of them.

``In years to come I hope each carnival has a different national title they can hold.

``If we do that we'll encourage more top-class runners to come and compete against our local talent.''

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