Payne wins necklace in experienced field

MELBOURNE’S Jessica Payne caused shockwaves in yesterday’s Maryborough Gift Women’s Necklace, streeting a far more experienced field in an explosive final.

The 15-year-old claimed the 120-metre race in an adjusted time of 14.360 seconds off an 11-metre handicap.

Karlee Bailey of Pakenham finished second with a time of 14.471, while Seabrook’s Tierra Exum finished third on 14.519.

“I just wanted to come out here and put on a good race.

“I didn’t feel too good in the heats because my legs were heavy early on, but my coach just told me to go out there and to just try and put in one last strong performance,” Payne said.

“Sometimes racing against the more mature girls can get intimidating, but this result will make me want to drive harder and compete more and more often from now on.”

The Wonga Park resident became the youngest ever finalist at last year’s Stawell Gift, running 14.185 en-route to a seventh placing in the Women’s Gift event.

She has since carried on with her form, winning a host of races over the past 12 months on the way to her first appearance at the Maryborough Gift.

Payne’s family was present to watch her conquest, just as they have seen her rise up through the ranks since she took up athletics at seven years of age.

Her father David was “overwhelmed” by the result that yielded her $700 and a necklace as the main


“She’s very dedicated to her running. She trains six days per week and works very hard to improve herself.”

Payne also raced in the women’s 200 and 400-metre events.

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