The fastest run split of the day helped Emma Jackson top an all Australian podium at the 2012 Devonport OTU Triathlon Oceania Championships on Saturday.
Coming into the 10km run in Tasmania, New Zealand’s Nicky Samuels had a 40 second lead on the field but Jackson quickly reeled her in and finished with a run of 35 minutes and 52 seconds to claim her first Oceania title. Last year’s Oceania champion Ashleigh Gentle claimed silver, after running her way back from the chase pack, with Beijing Olympian Erin Densham claiming bronze.
Jackson said afterwards she played the race to her strengths.
“I gave it absolutely everything I had – my swim was good, I tried to relax on the bike and work with the girls and I knew it would come down to run which is always my strong point,” she said. “But running into the wind wasn’t easy and I was glad to see the finish line.”
Jackson was near the lead from the start, and she was first out of the water alongside Densham and New Zealander’s Samuels and Teresa Adam. The quartet then shared the workload in the lead pack on the bike with Gentle, Natalie van Coevorden (AUS) and four other New Zealanders forming a well-organised chase pack.
Samuels, who claimed the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup win last year, managed to break from Jackson, Densham and Adam on the final lap of the 40km bike course to open up a 40 second lead going into the 10km run. But it wasn’t long before the determined Jackson swallowed her up on the picturesque Devonport foreshores course and as hard as the other Australian girls tried they could not peg Jackson back.
The win means Australia hold onto their Oceania spot, and are currently sitting second out of a total of eight in the list of National Olympic Committees to qualify three women’s spots. While points are still available until May 31st, the result puts Australia in a strong position to field three women on the London start line. 20-year-old Jackson, who finished fourth overall in the ITU World Triathlon Series last year, is hoping her performance today will see her join Australia’s pre-nominated selection – Beijing bronze medallist Emma Moffatt on the team.
“I was determined to come to Devonport and put together my best race possible and to try and seal that place for Australia and I knew that if I did that then I would certainly do my own selection chances no harm either – that was the plan,” Jackson said.
Debbie Tanner ran herself into fourth courtesy of a 36 minute 36 second 10km run split, and therefore took the 2012 New Zealand national championship as the highest placed Kiwi in the field.
With files from Triathlon Australia