East Devonport teenager Brooke Jones will return to St Leonards for a shot at her third Launceston Gift title in four years this weekend.
Having taken out the Launceston Athletics Carnival sprint double as a 16-year-old in 2015, Jones made it two out of three last year by pipping Kysha Hill on the line in the 120m.
But new challenges will be thrown her way come 5.40pm Saturday, with Burnie Gift winners Kiani Allen and Morgan Gaffney – whose 11.72 is the second-fastest 100m time for a Tasmanian woman – set to line up as backmarkers.
The 5.50pm men’s gift will again be competed over 120m and will feature the likes of 2013 Stawell Gift winner Andrew Robinson, 2015-16 Tasmanian Athletics League sprinter of the year Ross Lovell and 2016 Burnie Gift winner John Howe.
North-West teenager Jack Colgrave will also be worth keeping an eye on having collected two silver medals at last year’s Oceania Athletics Championships before leading the state at Adelaide’s national all-schools championships.
Other highlights of the program, which will again begin at 3pm, include the masters’ 3000m and the open 70m, 400m and 1000m.
Mark Nichols, Alex Riddell and Brendan Smart are all confirmed starters in the 70m having shared the podium last year, while 1000m reigning champion Ben McShane will return to defend his title.
Organising committee chairman Craig Boon encouraged athletics fans to come and cheer on some of the state’s top-level runners.
“It is really encouraging to see the number of athletes who have competed previously entering again this year as it gives us confidence that we are putting on an event the athletes enjoy,” Boon said.
“We appreciate their support and also the support of our sponsors that allows us to hold this event.
“We would love to see a good crowd in attendance as they will definitely see some of Tasmania's top athletes in action.”
Admission is by gold coin donation, with some proceeds going to New Horizons Club.
The 6.40pm open 400m final will be the last race of the day and will be followed by presentations.