LAUNCESTON sprinter Andrew Robinson made it back-to-back Devonport men's 400 metre gift titles last night with an impressive and gutsy run from the back mark to beat a quality field and confirm his status as one of the rising stars of national athletics.
The 21-year-old Ray Quarrell-trained runner won the prestigious Stalwell Gift last Easter and despite being pulled back 10 metres from his last year's winning mark of 25m, managed to pull off successive Devonport gifts from the back mark of 15m in a time of 47.37 seconds.
Robinson ran a superb tactical race catching the front runners in the home straight and kicking strongly to the line to beat home Hobart's Max Waldron (17m) and Launceston's Brodie Robinson who finished third (23m).
He was mobbed by his father, trainer and stable mates after the win which was his 17th Tasmanian Athletic League victory.
Robinson was hurting after his historic win but rapt with the reward for his hard work.
``I feel awesome _ when you win a 400 it masks the pain so much,'' he said.
``It's still hurting a lot but you dig deep, put in the big effort and I have worked so hard for this since winning Stalwell at Easter.
``I've put in so much effort during winter and I'm just thrilled to bits and can' t describe it really.''
Robinson said his coach made him run the 400m rather than the shorter sprint distance and he knew it would make him a better runner.
Despite being penalised by handicappers he said he felt really good in pre-season form and believed he could go back-to-back.
``I had faith in my coach and he got Bresa (Simon Bresnahan) up for two gifts and I had faith all the way I could do it.''
``It's a lot more satisfying that was so much hard work and I'm feeling it now but winning this is just awesome and I'm thrilled.''
He pocketed $3000 for his win.