LARGELY unheralded beach sprinter Emma Rynne upstaged her more fancied rivals to take out this year’s $16,000 Queanbeyan Gift last Saturday.
Running off 13m, Rynne led Australia’s richest women’s footrace out of the blocks before holding on at the death in one of the closest finishes in the event’s history.
Rynne came home just ahead of Albury’s Bridget Oakley and Terrigal’s Tara Angell while reigning Australian 100m champion and London Olympian finished in fifth.
“I could hear Mel coming,” Rynne said following her narrow victory. “She was on the complete other side of the track and I could still hear her so I knew I just to go and lunge for the line and I was just lucky to get it.”
“I just bought a second property on Friday so this money that I’ve won is going to be fabulous as well.”
Rynne has previously taken out the Ipswich Gift but her Queanbeyan Gift win is the biggest of her professional running career to date.
The beach sprinter was left with an anxious wait at the finish line following her blistering run with a photo required to separate her from second place getter Bridget Oakley of Albury. Terrigal’s Tara Angell was third.
“I did the Macksville Gift a couple of weeks ago and made some finals there so I had a really good preparation coming in,” Rynne said.
“Then when I won my semi-final I knew I was in with a chance but with those fabulous backmarkers, you never know what they’re going to do. Because I was a frontmarker I just had to go flat-out from the start to get the win.”
Rynne said she would now turn her attention toward next February’s Lithgow Gift.
In the Airport International Motel Invitation Women’s Handicap meanwhile, Oakley proved too strong for Christine Wearne and Breen in a time of 11.59s.
In other events, Andrea Thompson claimed the Senior Girl’s Handicap (120m) ahead of sisters Emily and Courtney Hopkins. The Junior Girls Handicap (100m) was taken out by Lyza Cross while Samantha Nealon was victorious in the Mini Girls Handicap (70m).