Jody Richards fulfilled a long held ambition when she saluted in the Ballarat Women’s Gift at the City Oval on Sunday.
Richards, who lives in the new western suburb of Aintree near Rockbank, said it had always been a desire to win the Ballarat event.
“It’s been at the top of my list.”
The 19-year-old has been involved in athletics 11 years and this is her fourth season on the professional circuit.
Richards won the Warrnambool Gift early in the season and has won a couple of other longer races since, but this is by far her biggest success.
She said not had not done anything special to target Ballarat.
It just all came together at the right time.
The final always looked like belonging to the outmarkers after they had dominated the semi-finals – with only three finalists starting behind 10m.
Richards (12.25m) had plenty of work to do though, being required to run down four of the field of eight.
She did it easily, just as she had won her heat on Saturday and semi-final earlier on Sunday.
Richard said 400m was actually her favourite distance and the strength gained from that training had been important in her frorm over the two days in Ballarat – winning her heat and semi-final.
Ballarat youngster Tiani Shillito ran a big race to finish second, with Stephanie Jinks third.
Shillito ran the fastest heat time and then progressed to the final as one of the fastest losers in the semi-finals.
Last year’s Gift winner Kate Jones from Ballarat won her heat, but was run out in the semi-finals.
Gioft backmarker Kiara Reddingius won the new cash prize as the fastest heat runner (metres per second) ahead of Grace O’Dwyer and Jessica Payne.