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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Good day for the Aussies

The top Australian elite and junior orienteers defended their honour with plenty of skill and speed at the Australian Middle Distance Champs yesterday, the kiwis were close, but not quite close enough. The winsplits results are here.

There were 50 starters in the elite men's course, and the kiwi's three young gun: Matt Ogden, Tim Robertson and Nick Hann were placed 3,4,5. If only the course had ended at control 14 they would have been 1,2,3, but over the last part of the course it was experienced international competitors Matt Crane (GB) and Simon Upphill (Aus) that held their nerve. The decisive leg appears to have been the long leg 19, up until this point Robertson had dominated the lead but Crane and Uphill moved into first and second here,and once they settled in there, they proved impossible to dislodge. I will make sure to get some analysis of this part of the race when the guys are back in the country


Fantastic though to see these three young kiwis racing so hard and so well. They will be hard to compete with in the Super Series races they can make it to over the next couple of months.

The Maestro in ecstasy
In the women's elite race Lizzie Ingham was out of contention early, you can't give Grace Crane 5 1/2 minutes by control 6 and expect to win. Lizzie was the fastest over the second half of the course and clawed her way back to 3rd helped by a big mistake from the other favourite Hanny Allston. Greta Knarston also lost time early. I am not sure how Lizzie's steak sandwich would have tasted after this performance.

In the junior women's race Kayla Fairbairn was the standout kiwi with 2nd place, with Brianna Massie coming in 5th. Kayla also lost time early, but was consistent in the rest of the course. Looking at these results you see huge time gaps appearing quite quickly, the painful reality of difficult red course orienteering is firstly we don't get too much of it in New Zealand and secondly, sometimes you need to learn to walk before you run even if you have been successful in other terrain and competitions. Kayla's result shows solid technique, good mental application and bodes well for the future.

The Australian Juniors, and in particular Ian Lawford, reasserted their authority in the junior men's race. Lawford dominated from start to finish, winning by 2 1/2 minutes after a mistake free run. First kiwi home was Cameron Tier narrowly ahead of Shamus Morrison and Nick Smith who both blew potential podiums by making early mistakes. For Tier this is a great result, he just has to keep mixing it with these guys as much as he can, they are on the path to something great.

Conor Cleary wins M14A

Further down the grades there was a great performance by the kiwis in M14 (Conor Cleary and Stephen Harding producing a one, two) Katie Cory-Wright produced a 2nd place in W14 while Alice Tilley cemented her growing reputation with a 2nd in W16 (great also to see kiwis outnumbering Aussies in the top ten in this grade).

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