AS HE flew from the blocks, Billy McNally knew he was a strong chance to win Sunday’s running of the Sally Conroy Memorial 200m at the Bendigo International Madison athletics-cycling carnival.
Fastest in Saturday’s heats, McNally followed up with an even quicker time of 22.3 seconds to win the Hilson Builders-backed classic.
The South Bendigo Athletics Club member started off the eight-metre mark and beat Paralympic gold medallist Tim Sullivan, 19m, and Andrew Bruce, 3m, at the Tom Flood Sports Centre.
McNally said a key to victory was the start in which he quickly caught Anthony Dempster, 10m, and then had clear track to pursue Eaglehawk’s Sullivan and Niah Langtree, 35m.
“Starts are something I have worked on a lot,” McNally said.
“In a 200m it’s always important.”
McNally’s opponents on Sunday included last year’s Sally Conroy champion Brett Gilligan from Bendigo Harriers off seven metres.
“Brett always run a great tactical race. He has a lot of experience, so I had to make the most of a one-metre break on him.
“Winning this race means a lot. I had been a finalist a couple of times before, but never ran as well as I did this time.”
He is the fourth South Bendigo athlete to win the Sally Conroy final in the past six years.
McNally said coach Matt Patterson and plenty of tips and support from clubmate Nigel Self played a big part in his victory.
After showing a lot of promise at school athletics carnivals, McNally decided to take up track racing four years ago.
A stress fracture in his back meant he missed one summer of racing, but he has put two seasons in a row together.
The keen sportsman has also tackled Aussie Rules and Futsal. Sights are now on an athletics training program throughout winter for the first time.
A goal is to work toward competing at state and possibly national titles next track season.