AFL boundary umpire Coote wins Burnie Gift

VICTORIAN sprinter Adam Coote beat a quality field and the elements to win the prestigious Burnie Gift at in a rain-affected carnival at West Park yesterday.

The 31-year-old AFL boundary umpire ran an impressive race in wet and windy conditions from a mark of 9.5 metres to record a comfortable victory in a time of 12.78 seconds.

Up-and-coming Tasmanian talent Jesse Usoalii was the only local runner in the gift field and the state 100m champion ran well to finish second from the backmark of 4m, with Victorian Carl Morehouse third off 6.5m.

``I'm feeling ecstatic,'' Coote said after pocketing the $9000 prizemoney.

``My coach Mark Hipworth won it in 1986 and it is great to emulate him and win it here for him.

``He hasn't had a male gift winner since he started coaching so I'm just happy to have done it for him.''

Coote made the Burnie Gift final two years ago but to finally win such a prestigious race he said ranked as the pinnacle of his career.

``I've won a big 400 at Bendigo and umpired some AFL grand finals from the boundary, which is also unbelievable but this is as big and as good as those,'' he said.

``It is the pinnacle of my sprinting. I've been trying to win a gift for a while but have been coming up short so I'm just rapt to have finally won a 120m gift.''

Meanwhile, carnival organisers gave the weather as much time as possible to clear up before reluctantly being forced to cancel the cycling program.

``The safety of the cyclists comes first and it was an ice rink on the track with all the rain,''  Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania president Mike Gunson said.

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