A gift carnival that really had it all

November 30, 2022 BY

A photo finish needed to decide the women’s Mount Gambier Gift

The weekend’s Mount Gambier Gift Carnival ended up being the gift that kept on giving. There was a marriage proposal, an Olympian, strong performances from locals and four seasons in one day. Vansittart Park definitely put on a show.

In the women’s blue riband event – the 120m Gift – Mount Gambier’s Leila Croker came within .009 of a second of taking out her hometown race. It went to a photo to split Leila from eventual winner Tayla Phillis, who did the spriont double, taking out the 70m women’s event as well, and the decision was a few minutes in the making. Now in Adelaide at Westminster School, Leila was again the star local attraction, as she has been in the past couple of years and as her star rises, the handicapper is harder on her but she still ended up on the podium, not just in the Gift, but the Under 18 Girls 120m, in a race where former Keith local Isabel Ross, who has also been a mainstay of the resurrected Mount Gambier Gift Carnival, took the honours.

Other notable local performances were Les Jagger finishing third in the 1600m Open and sister Jena Jagger finishing third in 400m Women.

Other highlights included the appearance of Olympian Izzy Batt-Doyle, who ran in the 1600m and 3200m events before backing up with a win in the inaugural Blue Lake Fun Run female half marathon on Sunday, finishing third overall, and Riley Cocks, another top national athlete, who ran the 3200m on Saturday and easily won the half marathon on Sunday in an impressive time on the hilly course.

The 3200m was in fact the most newsworthy race of the day behind the Women’s Gift – with confusion reigning over the amount of laps completed by the competing athletes, a winner from Scotland, John Thomson, and a proposal from the podium presentation from Terence Carter, who thankfully got a ‘yes’ from now fiancé Paige. The Men’s 120m was won by Max Underwood.

SO CLOSE EYT SO FAR: (Above from left) Former Mount Gambier athlete Leila Croker receives a pre-race congratulations at hre finalists parade from Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM; the tight finish of the 120m women’s final (winner Tayla Phillis in blue)and the anxious wait for the photo finish to be examined.















1. The finish of the men’s 120m Gift with Max Underwood (white) taking the honours.
2. Mount Gambier’s Les Jagger made it to the podium, finishing third, in the 1600m Open, with
sponsor representative Matt Kain (left), from Complete Real Estate & Herbert Commercial.
3. The 400m Women’s podium with Mount Gambier’s Jena Jagger finishing third.
4. The Under 18 Girls podium with winner Isabel Ross (Keith), who also finished third in the 70m
Women’s & second placed Leila Croker (Mount Gambier).
5. Riley Cocks in action in the 3200m Open – he backed it up by easily winning the inaugural
Blue Lake Fun Run half marathon on Sunday.
6. Olympian Izzi Batt-Doyle in action in the 1600m at the Mount Gambier Gidft Carnival,
backing up to win the women’s half marathon at Sunday’s Blue Lake Fun Run.
7. Mount Gambier’s Hayden Crowe in the 400m Men’s event.
8. The newly engaged couple – Terence Carter & Paige.