Terang Gift organisers proceed amid communications blackout 

SUNDAY’S Terang Gift will venture into the unknown, with organisers uncertain exactly who is going to show up or how many people have entered. 

The Warrnambool Telstra exchange fire has meant communicating with the Melbourne-based office of the Victorian Athletics League (VAL), which is handling the entries, has been impossible. 

Terang Athletics Club spokesman Richard Wearmouth said entries had  been processed.

“Obviously the Melbourne office was unaffected by the Telstra blackout,” he said. 

“But it meant they couldn’t be in contact with us to let us know how things were going  and provide us with updated lists. 

“Things are getting back to normal now and we have had a little bit of info come through, but we should have the full entry list tomorrow morning,” he said. 

Sunday’s program includes open-age group 120-metre, 400-metre, 800-metre and 1600-metre events, a frontmarkers and backmarkers 70 metres, as well as 120-metre and 200-metre for women and veterans. 

Wearmouth said from limited conversations with the VAL office, he had established the feature race, the 120-metre Terang Gift, had attracted a quality field. 

“Peter O’Dwyer, who won the 2011 Ballarat Gift, will be one to watch,” he said. 

“Craig Robertson, Mathew Eddy, Gus Carty-Cowling and Cam Dunbar will also be in contention, and backmarker Kevin Brittain is a quality athlete who, if fit, will also come into calculations.”

One athlete who won’t be in contention is last year’s winner Lauchlan Dalgleish, who was picked up by Essendon in last year’s AFL rookie draft. 

Wearmouth said the 70-metre backmarkers and frontmarkers field included Mark Highnett and 2011 70-metre winner Liam Shepherd,  who were both quick, experienced athletes expected to be in the placings. 

“The open 800-metre and 1600-metre handicaps will have a local flavour, with Warrnambool athlete Dennis King and Terang athlete Anthony O’Connor competing.

“One of Australia’s greatest-ever runners Ricky Dunbar will contest the veterans 120-metre and 300-metre, along with Evan King, who has a second place at Stawell to his credit.” 

The gift program begins at 12.30pm at Terang Recreation Reserve, on Sunday. 

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