Tarrant and Pasquali crowned Stawell Gift Champions

Bella Pasquali (L) and Ryan Tarrant (R), celebrate after winning their respective Stawell Gifts.

By Gracie Geddis


Ryan Tarrant and Bella Pasquali have taken out Australia’s oldest and most prestigious athletics carnival, The Stawell Gift, over the Easter long weekend.

16-year-old Pasquali took out the Women’s Gift in 13.55sec off a mark of 7.25m, followed by 2015 winner Chloe O’Dwyer finishing in second. 

Pasquali’s run followed in the footsteps of her parents, with father Wally finishing fifth in the 1990 Men’s Stawell Gift and mother, Anna, placing second to O’Dwyer only eight years ago.  

After winning the Rye gift in January, Pasquali, “saw my time and my mark and (I) was like, ‘I actually might have a chance at this’.” 

Pasquali changed from “400m to sprint training to focus on it and it all came together.” 

“I can’t believe it. I’ve seen my mum come second a fair few times, especially to Grace. It’s just so exciting. I’m just shocked.”. 

“I literally said to her a few days ago, ‘Mum, I’d probably be very upset, but I’d have to laugh if I did come second to Grace. It would be very upsetting, but it would be funny’,”.  

Claudia Hollingsworth triumphed in the Invitational Women’s 1000m Handicap race off a 10m mark, while running against Catriona Bisset, the 800m Australian record holder, and Olympic 1500m runner Jessica Hull and Linden Hall, with all three competing at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

Meanwhile 18-year-old Melbourne University Science student Tarrant won the 141st edition of the Men’s Stawell Gift in a nail-biting photo finish.  

After winning the 2021 Burnie Gift, Victorian teen Tarrant made his second appearance as a professional runner on Monday, clocking a 12.23sec sprint off the 3.75m mark.  

Nicholas Antonino (12.24sec) created suspense, finishing second by throwing himself across the finishing line, followed by 2016 Stawell Gift winner Isaac Dumnall and 2017 champion Matt Rizzo fourth. 

Lost for words, Tarrant, “didn’t expect it. So, to come out and win that is, well, out of this world a bit.” 

“Once I got to about 60 (metres) I was feeling pretty confident because I got into my stride and it was like, ‘I’m there, just take it home’,” explains Tarrant.  

“The 120 metres is the happy medium … that just works out perfectly for me.” 

The track runner also placed second in the U20 National titles 200m final last weekend in Brisbane. 

The 2023 Stawell Gift saw Pasquali and Tarrant take home equal cash prizes for their respective races, with the women’s sprint now titled after the Change Our Game Gift. 



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