Powell to start from scratch at Stawell
15:57 AEST Tue Mar 19 2013

Former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell will start from scratch in the 132nd running of the Stawell Gift.

The Jamaican, with a personal best of 9.72 seconds, will become the fastest runner ever to race at Stawell and is searching to become the third runner in history to win the event from the scratch mark.

While Powell's handicap was expected, there was some surprise in the handicap handed to two-time winner Joshua Ross.

Ross, who won from 7m in 2003 and scratch in 2005, will give Powell just a 1m start in 2013.

The 32-year-old has suffered from his impressive form this season having already claimed two Gift wins from scratch, including the prestigious Bay Sheffield in Adelaide.

Ross' 1m lift from previous Victorian Athletic League events this year is well below average, with athletes generally receiving a 2m lift due to Powell's presence.

Defending champion Matthew Wiltshire (5.5m) will find the going tough, back from the 8m mark that gave him victory in 2012, despite the overall field lift this year.

Mitchell Williams-Swain (4.5m), who won in 2011, will join other former champions including 2008 winner Sam Jamieson (6.5m), 2009 winner Aaron Stubbs (5.25m) and 1999 winner Rodney Mathews (12m), who is one of the oldest runners in the field at 44 years of age.

Early Gift favourite Khan Marr will start from 5.25m.

The Stawell Gift carnival will be held from Friday, 29 March and will conclude on Monday, April 1.

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