Bee back to defend Gift title

DEFENDING Albury-Wodonga Gift champion Joel Bee believes he can overcome injury and take down Olympian Josh Ross on Sunday. 

Bee, 20, saw a specialist on Wednesday about several “niggling” injuries that had been hampering him.

Not only did he discover he had a “floating piece of bone” in his foot, the specialist found Bee’s hips were “out of whack” and he had a pinched nerve in his back.

But Bee, a self-declared local despite moving to Ballarat in primary school, isn’t making any excuses.

“I’ve got a few niggles but I’m still going to run,” he said.

“I won’t be thinking about running against Ross. I just think about what I need to do; it’d be the same if Usain Bolt was running.

“I do feel confident. 

“I never go into a race not feeling like I can win. If I don’t, I won’t race.”

After a relatively quiet 2012, an eight-kilogram-bigger and stronger Bee is primed for a good performance after taking out the Maryborough Gift 120-metre sprint classic on New Year’s Day.

The win came after Bee ran second to Ross over 100 metres in Melbourne last month. 

“I was off 2.27 metres but I probably could have won it off scratch because I won by about two metres,” Bee said of his Maryborough win.

“I’ve started to relax over the 100 metres while still running fast and getting my knees up a bit more.

“I’m more experienced than last year.”

Bee will use ice baths today and tomorrow to recover as much as possible before Sunday evening’s Gift.

“I’m doing all the recovery I can at the moment to be right for the race,” he said.

While he sees Ross as the enemy now, Bee said it was great for the Border to have him running in its premier sprint carnival.

“It’ll be good for people to watch him run off scratch ... He’s won the three big gifts off scratch and no one has ever done that.”

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