Self-coached Bikra Singh has a whole new understanding of the significance of the Ballarat Gift after running away with the rich sprint at the City Oval on Sunday.
The Coburg athlete made full use of his 11m outmark to keep everyone at bay in the final.
Daniel Sonsini (6.5m) finished second and Ballarat teenager Mason Keast (8.25m) third, but there was no catching Singh.
Singh said although he had run at the Ballarat Gift Carnival on one previous occasion, it was until this visit that he had heard about the event’s long history and realised the prestige of the meet on the Victorian Athletic League calendar.
He said it made him all the prouder to win.
Singh has been running competitively for seven years and this was his first Gift victory.
“Not bad for a 34-year-old,” he said.
Singh said he was aware that Sonsini was closing on him in the final metres and it had been just a matter of putting his head down and throwing himself at the line.
Singh caught the eye with an impressive heat win on Saturday and carried that through with another all-the-way win in the first of four semi-finals on Sunday.
Sonsini and Keast were also heat and semi-final winners, with Keast producing one of the fastest heat times.
Backmarker Matt Carter picked up the new cash prize offered to the quickest runner in the heats – based on metres per second rather than finishing position. Sonsini was runner-up with Isaac Dunmall third.