Aaron Stubbs, in red, narrowly wins the Queanbeyan Gift from Stuart Rooke. Photo: Melissa Adams
Gold Coast sprinter Aaron Stubbs has set his sights on the Rio Olympic Games after taking him a $12,000 cheque for his narrow win in the Queanbeyan Gift on Sunday.
Stubbs had to wait for officials to review a photo finish before he could celebrate his triumph and took another step towards his Olympic goal.
Despite slipping twice and starting from a handicap of three metres in the 120m race, Stubbs recovered just in time to beat Victoria’s Stuart Rooke by 0.04 seconds.
The former beach sprinter is making his mark again after admitting he became too arrogant following his $40,000 Stawell Gift triumph as an 18-year-old in 2009.
“I’m ecstatic, I haven’t won a big Gift in seven years and it’s good to be back,” Stubbs said.
“At the moment I feel really good. If I can stay in one piece and keep working hard then Rio is definitely on the cards.
“I thought I’d missed it, I stumbled about 20 metres out but I managed to hold on.”
Just 0.2 seconds separated the top four finishes, with Canberra’s Nathan McNab narrowly missing out on a top three spot.
Victoria’s Luke Stevens rounded out the top three with Stubbs and Rooke in one of the tightest finishes in the race’s history.
Stubbs, 25, will now turn his attention to the track, where he is aiming to improve his personal best of 10.56 seconds to secure a spot on the athletics team for Rio.
When he won the Stawell Gift six years ago, he was wearing shoes sent to him by former Australian champion Matt Shirvington. Now he wants to follow in his footsteps.
“When I was 17 or 18 I started to pick up and go well. Winning Stawell was a huge confidence boost but I struggled since. To be honest I got a bit arrogant and didn’t work hard enough,” Stubbs said.
“But now I’m putting in all the effort and it’s paying off. The way I’m running I definitely think Rio is definitely a possibility, but I’ve got to step up my game. I think I can.”