FIFTEEN year old Ballarat runner, Talia Martin, has become the youngest winner of the Stawell Women’s Gift and third consecutive winner trained by Ballarat coach Peter O’Dwyer. Martin’s win was tainted by controversy after she was fined $2,000 for breaching the rule known as inconsistent racing.
Victorian athletics officials are now considering rule changes to crack down on ‘inconsistent running’. Martin was fined over a dramatic improvement in form after she ran 7m quicker than in Ararat but her coach blames the Ararat result on a death in the family, which Martin confirmed after her win. Second place went to Tierra Exum and Canberra based Ararat runner Sarah Blizzard was a close third, Kate Jones of Buninyong, finished fifth.