1973 50 years historic
Anne Audain 50 years historic
Snell & Marquita 50 years historic
South Auckland van 50 years historic
Team 50 years historic
Forne and Hubbman 50 years historic
Oceania Knock-Out Sprint Champs
By Malcolm Ingham - Tue 30 Jan 2024 8:07pm

The inaugural Oceania Knock Out Sprint took place over the weekend in vert varied weather conditions which changed from warm and sunny to torrential rain during the quarter and semi-finals, before the sun came out again for the finals.

The KO Sprint started at 8am in the morning with Qualification heats in Pukekura Park. Heat winners in the men were Australian’s Patrick Jaffe and Brodie Nankervis, and Felix Hunt, who in Heat 3 shaded Joseph Lynch by 1 second. In the women’s heats Ines Berger (SUI), Emma Bjessmo (SWE) and Lizzie Ingham were all convincing winners by margins of between 30 and 90 seconds. None of the favoured runners fell at this first hurdle.

Qualification Results

The promised rain arrived just as the Quarter-Finals, also in Pukekura Park, started. The men and women had the same course using 3 butterfly loops to split up the runners. The vagaries of how the Quarter-Final draw is compiled from the Qualification results saw 4 of the top New Zealanders in QF4 – Joseph Lynch, Tim Robertson, Zefa Fa’avae and Nathan Borton. With only the top 3 to proceed to the Semi-Finals, it was Nathan who missed out. However, perhaps the biggest surprise in the men was the elimination of Switzerland’s Timo Suter who finished 4th in QF2 in which Jacob Knoef had an excellent 2nd place finish. In the women the biggest loss from a NZL point of view was Zara Stewart going out in QF5, won convincingly by Lizzie. Amelia Horne pushed Australia’s Nea Shingler all the way in QF2 for the women.

Quarter-Final Results

As the rain got heavier and heavier the scene shifted to WITT/NPBHS for the Semi-Finals and Finals, with the former largely, except for a short loop at the end, being on WITT, and the later entirely on NPBHS. NPBHS was the scene of the only potential hiccup, as the planner and National Controller discovered on Friday afternoon a building in the process of being moved! The uncrossable fence that the building ahd been behind, was subsequently reconstituted with traffic cones and tape!

The Semi-finals used athlete map choice as a means of splitting the field, with athletes given 20 seconds to choose their preferred option. With only 2 to proceed to the Final this was where things started getting serious. Urged on by the spectators as they passed through the arena passage 3 controls from the end, there were some very close finishes. In two of the men’s Semis only 2 seconds separated the top 3, while in the third it was 3 seconds. The unlucky NZL athletes being Zefa Fa’avae and Ronan Lee who actually finished joint 3 behind Joseph Lynch and Tim Robertson in SF2. Felix Hunt was the other Kiwi to progress edging out Cooper Horley in SF1. In the women’s Semis Innes, Emma and Lizzie were again convincing winners, but the big surprise was Amelia Horne in SF1 eliminating the favoured Australian Nea Shingler.

Semi-Final Results

Fortunately, the gap between the Semis and the Finals not only gave the rain time to stop, but saw the emergence of the sun. With IOF stipulating that unless there were 6 Oceania athletes in a Final, there needed to be a B Final to give 6 Oceania places, the Finals started with the women’s B Final, again through the vagaries of the rules, with 7 athletes not 6. As with the Quarter’s and Semi’s mena nd women ran the same course, this time with no splitting but plenty of route choice.

In the men’s B Final Ronan Lee was edged out of 6th Oceania place by Australia’s Cooper Horley by 2 seconds, while in the women’s B Nea Shingler took 5th Oceania place and Mikayla Cooper 6th.

Women’s B Final: 1. Nea Shingler (AUS) 6:41, 2. Mikayla Cooper (AUS) 6:44, 3. Zoe Carter (AUS) 6:49, 4. Mikaeyla Gray (AUS) 6:53, 5. Katherine Babington (NZL) 6:56, 6=. Rachel Baker (NZL) 7:15, 6=. Juliet Freeman (NZL) 7:15.

Men’s B Final: 1. Cooper Horley (AUS) 5:39, 2. Ronan Lee (NZL) 5:41, 3. Alastair George (AUS) 5:53, 4. Zefa Fa’avae (NZL) 6:01, 5. Leith Soden (AUS) 6:30, 5. Brodie Nankervis (AUS) 7:13.

So to the A Finals. The women ran first and at the spectator control, 3 from the finish. Lizzie Ingham had a narrow lead over Emma Bjessmo and the rest of the field. Lizzie then slipped leaving the control at the foot of an earthbank and Emma was away, winning by 1 second, Lizzie taking the Oceania title in second holding out Ines Berger in a sprint. Runner-up in Oceania was Tara Melhuish, with Amelai Horne in bronze medal position.

Women’s Final: 1. Emma Bjessmo (SWE) 6:41, 2. Lizzie Ingham (NZL) 6:42, 3. Ines Berger (SUI) 6:43, 4. Tara Melhuish (AUS) 6:44, 5. Amelia Horne (NZL) 6:45, 6. Caitlin Young (AUS) 6:55.

The men’s Final was nowhere near as close as Joseph Lynch ran out winner by a clear 9 seconds from Ewan Shingler and Angus Haines. Tim Robertson, still carrying a knee injury, led early but faded. Felix Hunt took 4th place in Oceania bwhind the sole non-Oceania athlete in the Final, Joel Golsater of Sweden.

Men’s Final: 1. Joseph Lynch (NZL) 5:19, 2. Ewan Shingler (AUS) 5:28, 3. Angus Haines (AUS) 5:30, 4. Joel Golsater (SWE) 5:33, 5. Felix Hunt (NZL) 5:34, 6. Tim Robertson (NZL) 5:57.

As Oceania champions Joseph and Lizzie now have personal places in the WOC2023 Knock-out Sprint in Edinburgh.

Share this on:

ONZ COVID-19 Information