Stawell Gift 2018: Olympian and Stawell Gift winner Josh Ross to return to Stawell this year

COMEBACK: Two-time Olympian Josh Ross poses for a photo with young fans at last month's Hunter Track Classic. Picture: Josh Callinan.
COMEBACK: Two-time Olympian Josh Ross poses for a photo with young fans at last month's Hunter Track Classic. Picture: Josh Callinan.

Two-time Stawell Gift winner Josh Ross cannot wait until 2019 to return to Central Park with the legendary athlete set to make a return a year earlier than planned at the 2018 event.

In recognition of his extraordinary achievements at the iconic event Ross will also be inducted into the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame as a Legend on Friday March 30.

The fastest Australian over 100m on home soil, Ross is part of a group of just three athletes to win the Stawell Gift twice – in 2003 and 2005. 

Ross will be chasing history when he sets out from the blocks in a bid to win his third Stawell Gift, something nobody has been able to achieve in 137 years of racing.

The 37-year-old said he is not coming to Stawell just to make up the numbers.

“I always turn up to a race looking to win,” said Ross. 

“I am there to win.”

Ross is training under the watchful eye of Gerrard Keating, someone also who knows what it takes to win the historic race having coached Nathan Allan to victory in 2007.

Ross originally set out with a plan of returning next year but believes he will be ready to conquer Stawell in just over a month.

“I fully endorse what Josh believes, he’s training well and is in great shape,” said Keating.

“He’s not short of confidence, but you never doubt a champion. 

“When he’s got his mojo on he can do anything, he really can and If it doesn’t happen this year then definitely next.”

Ross said his age does not phase him and said he returns to Central park with a lot of motivation to succeed.

“I feel I have unfinished business in the sport so to win the Stawell Gift three times and make history would be something very special and put me at the top,” said Ross.

“I have won every major Gift in Australia off scratch so to get anything else would be a surprise to me.

“I'm more well known for my success at Stawell than my seven national titles and two Olympic finals, that’s how special the Stawell Gift is within the Australian community.”

This is not the first time Ross has returned to athletics after a break away from the sport.  After deciding to retire from athletics in 2009, Ross proved he still had  speed when he won his sixth national 100m title in 2012 then competing in the London Olympics. The Stawell Gift final will be ran on April 2.