Thursday 18 April 2013
Hansard of the
SPECIAL INTEREST MATTERS
ANDREW ROBINSON - WINNER OF STAWELL GIFT
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam President, today I
want to talk about the oldest and richest short-distance running race in
Australia. On Easter Monday it was won by one of my constituents. The Stawell
Gift was won by Andrew Robinson, who will be 21 in December, and whom I have
known almost since he was a toddler, rather than a lightning-fast sprinter.
Andrew started at the age of five with the Launceston Little Athletics Club, an
organisation close to my heart and the family's for many years. As an under-13
athlete he was awarded the Kerry Finch encouragement award, and he also won the
Little Athletics male sportsperson award. Subsequently, Andrew was runner-up in
the state male sportsperson of the year award.
Mr Wilkinson - He has done remarkably well with
that legacy of yours, then.
Mr FINCH - Thank you very much. It was obvious
by then that Andrew had extraordinary talent, as his parents, Cindy and Steve
Robinson, certainly recognised. As an under-15 athlete Andrew was Tasmanian
Little Athletics 100 metre and 200 metre champion. At year 12 at Launceston
Scotch Oakburn College Andrew was captain of the school athletics team, and
then went on to become the state independent schools 100 metre and 200 metre
champion, which is a very impressive feat at that age. He impressed college
teachers with his communications and leadership skills, and also his
encouragement of other school athletes, and that was regardless of where they
finished in their events or their own capabilities. For the past three seasons,
he has been the Tasmanian athletic league male sprinter of the season, and last
year he was named Australian Athletics Confederation Male Sprinter of the Year.
Apart from last month's Stawell Gift, recent victories have
included the Latrobe, Keilor and the Devonport gifts, but of course the Stawell
Gift is his greatest achievement. He dedicated that victory to his coach, Ray
Quarrel, who lost his home in the January southern Tasmanian bushfires.
Everybody's heart, particularly in the athletics world, went out to Ray and his
family because he lost all his memorabilia and his trophies. It was a shocking
thing to occur, but what a great moment this has been for Ray to have coached
this young man to this victory.
Mr Valentine - I went to school with him.
Mr Finch - Is that right?
Until Andrew Robinson, the last Tasmanian to win the Stawell
Gift was Ken Hutton in 1941, and he was also from my electorate of Rosevears,
from Beaconsfield. A tragedy befell Ken Hutton; he was 20 years old, the same
age as Andrew when he won, but he later died in a bomber over Europe.
The Stawell Gift began in 1878 as a foot race between miners
in the Victorian gold mining town. The race was initially over 131 yards, which
became 120 metres with decimalisation. It is 120 metres up a slight gradient,
so it is hard to compare times with the 120 metre sprints elsewhere. But being
a handicap race, tactics beforehand are very important. Contestants want to go
fast enough in the heats to qualify, but try to hold back a little to get that
good handicap and of course a good prize too. At one stage, I believe that
Andrew was 80:1 to win the event. He picked up a good prize and the first prize
is $40 000.
It is obvious that from an early age Andrew developed an
ambition to be a top sprinter. I hope that winning the Kerry Finch
encouragement award when he was 12 had plenty to do with his ambition, but his
success can be particularly attributed to the competition framework that we
have in Tasmania that has been available to him, especially the Launceston
Little Athletics. I am sure that this win will be a tremendous fillip to
Tasmanian athletics. At the age of 20 he has, hopefully, a long and fast career
ahead of him. I wish him well.
Members - Hear, hear.