Top sprinter to enter Gift

MACKSVILLE Gift organisers have struck gold with one of Australia’s leading female sprinters set to contest the event on Saturday.

Laura Whaler is ranked No. 3 in Australia in the 100m, with a personal best of 11.46 seconds, while her time in the 200m event has her second on the national standings.

The Maitland-based runner has clocked a personal best of 23.45s for the 200m, a time bettered only by Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Sally Pearson.

Whaler, a member of the Fairweather Track Squad and the current national under-23 sprint champion, is arguably the best-credentialed female sprinter to enter the Macksville Gift in the event’s long history.

On track to compete at next year’s World Championships and the 2012 Olympics in London, Whaler will be running from the 11.50m mark on Saturday.

The 57th staging of the iconic foot race will be held at Allen Gillett Oval (Macksville Park) with 56 New South Wales Athletic League marks handed out, including 12.25m for local entrant, Lenny Duroux.

However, it’s unknown if defending champion Liam Gander will return to attempt an unprecedented third straight title.

Saturday’s first event receives the starter’s gun about 12.30pm with racing continuing under lights until around 9pm.

The main sprint is over 120m.

Support races are at 70m, women’s and vets 120m, novice 120m and 300m men’s and women’s skins racing.



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