TWO-TIME Olympian and seven-time national sprint champion Josh Ross has returned to the Hunter region and athletics in a bid to win an unprecedented third Stawell Gift next year.
Ross, who turns 37 next week, recently linked up with coach Gerrard Keating at Glendale and resumed training with an eye towards making history in 2019.
“He said he was just hanging in there by a thread motivation wise,” Keating said.
“I said we’ll give you a goal because you’re one who needs a goal. And I know you can achieve that goal, which is to win Stawell next year.”
No one has won a hat-trick of titles at Stawell and Keating said this would make Ross an “immortal”.
Ross (2003, 2005) remains one of three athletes to claim the prestigious prize twice and was second to triumph at the annual 120 metre handicap race off scratch.
Keating reckons Ross has the “best CV out of any modern day modern sprinter [in Australia]” pointing to other scratch wins at the Bay Sheffield and Burnie gifts as well as the national 200m gong in 2007. “It’s astounding.”
Ross also has the third fastest time by an Australian over 100m, and the quickest on home soil, with a personal best of 10.08 seconds in Brisbane in 2007.
Keating said he felt “excited” about Ross’ prospects despite his age, which wasn’t an issue because of a “later start” to the sport.
“He just has that zing back again and that look in his eye,” Keating said.
Ross, who went to Games in Athens (2004) and London (2012), was living in Melbourne and last year trained in the US for three months.
Born in Sydney and raised on the Central Coast, Ross spent the prime of his career between Newcastle and Maitland under coach Tony Fairweather which included both Stawell crowns and his maiden Olympics.
The Hunter’s other successful Stawell campaigns include self-coached Belmont miner Steve Proudlock in 1978 and Maitland women’s duo Alison Fairweather (2005) and Trisha Greaves (2009).