DANE Bird-Smith and Kelly Ruddick continued the precedent from Saturday's Australia Cross Country Championships in winning their first national open titles on the V8 Supercar race track at Symmons Plains yesterday.
Australian Flame walker Bird-Smith was barely over his jet lag from his recent trip to Russia, where he placed 11th at the IAAF World Championships last month in the 20-kilometre walk event, when he backed up in Northern Tasmania.
``Moscow was an amazing experience for me and so I was keen to back up today in the national titles,'' Bird-Smith said.
``It wasn't the ideal race for me, but I got the job done and was pleased to win a national championship.''
The Queenslander's winning time was one hour, 25 minutes and 43 seconds.
He took victory ahead of Canberra's Brendan Reading and fellow Flame athlete Rhydian Cowley, who was also backing up from the world championships.
After being kept company by Rachel Tallent for the first four laps of the 10-lap race, Ruddick scooted clear in the back end of the race to record a comfortable victory by almost five minutes, from Tallent and Lauren Bourke, of New South Wales.
Ruddick clocked a winning time of 1:33:15, which put her at the top of the national rankings for 2013.
Hobart's Stephanie Stigwood was once again in fine form, taking out the Race Walking Australia invitational 10km event.
Stigwood _ who also had a recent racing trip to Russia where she represented Australian in the World University Games _ clocked 48:36 to edge out Australian representative Cheryl Webb, who took second, and Simone McInnes, who placed third.
Over 600 junior athletes also returned to competition, backing up from Saturday's cross country races to compete in state team relays and time trials.
The pit straight lanes at Symmons Plains were transformed into a lines of screaming junior athletes and spectators, as state pride and team cheering took hold.
The School Sport Australia-conducted events were held for athletes from 10 to 19 years of age, with the competition fierce.
Tasmania's top performance came from Emma Jago.
The vision-impaired North-West youngster backed up from her silver medal in the cross country race, to win the time trial for AWD athletes and take home the gold medal.