Australia dominated the 2014 Oceania Championships in Devonport on Saturday, sweeping the medals in both the men’s and women’s races.
Gillian Backhouse scored both her first elite and Under 23 continental championship when she blasted through the bike course to make up a small deficit out of the swim. Backhouse steamrolled her momentum onto the run, where she split a time of 37:42 to clench the title 40 seconds ahead of compatriot Natalie Van Coevorden.
Van Coevorden, a pre-race favourite, positioned herself as a threat straight from the start. She exited the water with frontrunners Maddison Allen (AUS) and Rebecca Clarke (NZL). She and Clarke rode together through the multi-lap course, but Backhouse’s leg power was too much for Van Coevorden to overcome, leaving her in second in 2:08:37.
Melinda Vernon (AUS), a runner trying her hand in triathlon, proved successful with her first ever ITU podium finish. After a solid swim and bike, the Aussie kicked into overdrive, bringing home the standard distance race in 36:44 to run herself into bronze medal position for an overall time of 2:09:20. Fiona Crombie clocked in as the first Kiwi in fourth place with a time of 2:09:54.
Although Peter Kerr (AUS) took the lead out of the swim, a slow bike split allowed Royle and Fisher to overtake the 2013 champion. Wilson, who suffered a 14-second deficit out of the water, was forced to hammer hard to catch up to the pair. While the cycling effort paid off for a bronze medal, Wilson’s beat legs couldn’t stay with the eventual top two.
Running shoulder to shoulder, Royle just edged out Fisher by two seconds for the win in 1:53:01, making Fisher the runner up. Wilson crossed over next in 1:54:41.
|Results: Elite Men|