MORE a miler by trade, Celia Cosgriff can hardly wait to stretch her legs out a bit – but she is thrilled to be known as the sprint queen in Ballarat.
Cosgriff started sprint training only on January 9, exactly one month before capturing the $5000 Mars Ballarat Women’s Gift sash.
The Richmond athlete has made a lengthy recovery from a thyroid operation and did a bit of sprinting to work her way back on the track.
She never imagined she would win a Gift.
“It’s pretty amazing – this time last year I wasn’t running at all,” Cosgriff said.
“The fact I am running now makes me so happy.”
Cosgriff, a physiotherapist who has moved into project works at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, paid tribute to her doctor Cath Seymour in Melbourne, for accepting the challenge to help her run again.
The familiarity of Eastern Oval helped too, with her parents, who have moved to Mount Clear, cheering her on from the stands.
“I like coming to Ballarat and I particularly like the atmosphere of this oval,” Cosgriff said.
“I won when the Ballarat Gift was last here in 2009, I won an 800m – so that’s two times I’ve done well here.”
Cosgriff becomes the third Nick Fiedler-trained athlete to win the Ballarat Women’s Gift, following stablemates Katie Moore (2002) and Alice Platten (2008). Ballarat sprinter Kate Jones (8.75m) carried hometown hopes into the final, which Cosgriff won off 14m in a time of 14.27 seconds.
Cosgriff’s partner Daniel Veith also tasted success at Eastern Oval this weekend.
Veith stopped a Ballarat fairytale finale from playing out under lights on Saturday night.
It was the SportzBiz 400-metre novice final and the stage was set to polish off a successful day one of the Ballarat Gift carnival and lead in to its marquee events yesterday.
POD Squad teenager Grace O’Dwyer powered off the 68m mark and came tantalisingly close to victory.
Veith (60m) surged ahead in the home straight and pipped her at the line by half a second, winning in 46.39 seconds.
The Rod Mathews-trained Alec Wiltshire worked hard off the 49m mark to claim third.