THE WARRNAMBOOL Gift will kick off the Victorian Athletic League's season for the first time in its history this summer.
Gift president Richard Wearmouth said it was exciting to start the VAL season at Friendly Societies' Park on January 2.
"We have no doubt all the runners, footballers, netballers and cricketers are chewing at the bit to get back into their chosen sport so we are anticipating, with things hopefully going our way, a good turn out," he said.
"We understand 80 per cent of our competitors come from Melbourne so we need to be component there to hold the meeting."
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The Terang Gift won't run this year after the Terang Athletic Club cancelled the event in September due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Warrnambool Gift is usually run at the end of November and has historically been in the first five events of the season.
Wearmouth said there was a number of unknowns ahead but the committee was optimistic the summer holiday date would ensure it broke another record.
"It's still a bit early to know what runners we will get and a number of those come from interstate so if the borders are open they will come," he said.
"There's still a number of unknowns but we're working towards that date and if for some reasons it is not on then then it will be pushed into February or March.
"Last year we had an increase of 169 entries, which was enormous, and I wouldn't be surprised if we top that.
"In normal circumstances the holiday period could work better for us as there is normally so many people in Warrnambool. We hope that helps us gather some numbers.
"Not sure how it will be this holiday season and don't know how many people will be allowed to go. There is a lot of considerations."
Wearmouth said the biggest worry for the committee was getting sponsors on board again after a year of impacted business due to the coronavirus pandemic but he confirmed a number of them were back for the 2021 edition.
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