Are you ready for Ipswich’s winter carnival?

Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors Tara Chaplin, Nicholas Grant and Liz Melrose are preparing for the annual winter carnival.


SENIOR Ipswich and District Athletics Club runner Elizabeth Melrose has two main goals at next weekend’s annual winter carnival.

She wants to reach the final of the $3000 Ipswich Ladies Gift and start building for a new 400m season after recovering from a knee injury.

“A final would be good,” Melrose, 22, said, having contested the handicap event twice.

“I’m just coming back from injury so I’ve like done a month’s training.”

Moores Pocket-based Melrose also wants to run the 400m event on the Mulgowie Gift program following the Ipswich Winter Carnival.

“It’s just getting me back into the season,” she said of the opportunity to do some early handicap racing.

The Ladies Gift heats are scheduled to start at 1.30pm at next Sunday’s 35th Ipswich Winter Carnival at Bill Paterson Oval.

The major races are the $3000 Ipswich Lightning Gift ― open to male and female runners ― and the $3000 Ipswich Ladies Gift.

Both races are being run over 120m this year, similar to the nationally recognised Stawell Gift, under the handicap format.

It will be the 27th running of the Gift races down the main straight at Bill Paterson Oval.

Other Ipswich club athletes preparing to compete include Tara Chaplin and Nicholas Grant.

Tara, 15, has been excelling in school competition, including being age champion at Toogoolawah State School, where she’s in year 10, and at a recent Rosewood State School carnival.

She won all her events from 100m to 3000m at Toogoolawah, breaking the record in triple jump, discus, javelin and shotput.

Living at Mt Hallen between Gatton and Esk, the family is clocking up plenty of kilometres encouraging Tara.

However, mum Stacey said it was worth the effort with multi-talented Tara doing so well in athletics.

“They are in full swing for their school season at the moment,” Stacey said.

“For us, there is a lot of travelling involved but as long as she is dedicated, then we are prepared to support her.”

Tara represented Queensland in the 200m and relay at the Australian Junior championships earlier this year.

Next Sunday, she is contesting the Ladies Gift for the first time, as well as the under-18 70m dash.

Redbank Plains-based Nicholas is also a promising sprinter who has competed in long jump at national level.

The 16-year-old is planning to run the 120m Lightning Gift and under-18 70m dash.

The club has decided to retain the twilight format introduced last year.

“Everybody seemed to be happy with it because a lot of the meets in Brisbane are twilight now,” club president Vic Pascoe said.

“The only thing was they wanted it to start an hour earlier so they could get back to their homes early.”

The major finals are set down for 6.15pm and 6.30pm on August 28.

Competition starts at 1pm with events all afternoon.


Key event

The annual Ipswich Winter Carnival is at Bill Paterson on August 28.

Athletes aged 10 or over (as at December 31), including masters competitors, can nominate for track and field events on the day.

Athletes hoping to contest the prestigious Gift races have until tomorrow to nominate.