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Rising Aussie stars Emma Jackson and Brendan Sexton scored impressive victories in Tasmania to be crowned the 2012 Oceania Champions. The pair not only secured Australia a guaranteed spot in the men’s and women’s triathlon in London 2012, they also boosted their own chances for Olympic selection.
The day’s fastest run split helped Jackson lead an Australian podium sweep 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.
“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 while Gentle, Natalie van Coevorden (AUS) and four other New Zealanders forming a well-organized chase pack. Facing a 40-second deficit going into the 10km run, it wasn’t long before Jackson blazed to a commanding lead, cruising to victory.
Australia’s Brendan Sexton turned an unexpected opportunity into the best possible result in Australia on Saturday, when he claimed his first Oceania Championship. Sexton put in a stellar run leg to beat New Zealand’s Kris Gemmell, the defending Oceania Champion, and Australia’s Aaron Royle, in a race that was never part of his original plan this year.
The 26-year-old had to withdraw from the Australian sprint championships in Geelong a fortnight ago, and added Devonport to his 2012 plan to get in one final race before the ITU World Triathlon Series opener in Sydney. The late schedule addition worked perfectly, as Sexton posted the fastest run split of the day, a time of 30 minutes 57 seconds, to take the win.
“I needed to go into the ITU World Cup and the ITU World Championship round in Sydney with a full race under my belt and after what happened in Geelong I added Devonport to my schedule and now I’m glad I did,” said Sexton.
“But there is no doubt my win today was a team effort. The Australians worked well together to ensure that it came down to the run and I was just lucky enough to get across the line ahead of the Kiwis. We knew we had to work to our strengths and that was the last 10km.”
Australia’s James Seear led the men out of the water, with Courtney Atkinson, Mitchell Kealeyand Tony Dodds just behind. A pack of 15 formed on the bike, including Atkinson, Dodds, Gemmell, Royle, Bevan Docherty, Ryan Bailie and Ryan Fisher, and they hit T2 with about a minute on the next chase pack. While Gemmell and Atkinson led out early, it didn’t take long for Sexton to hit the front and stay there.
Gemmell’s second place also secured him the 2012 New Zealand National Championship, while Tony Dodds came in fourth and Atkinson fifth. Chris McCormack finished 14th, while Docherty failed to finish.
Devonport OTU Triathlon Oceania Championships, Australia
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Official results – Elite Women
1. Emma Jackson AUS AU 02:02:46
2. Ashleigh Gentle AUS AU 02:03:36
3. Erin Densham AUS AU 02:03:53
4. Debbie Tanner NZL NZ 02:04:06
5. Nicky Samuels NZL NZ 02:04:32
6. Natalie Van Coevorden AUS AU 02:04:55
7. Charlotte McShane AUS AU 02:08:53
8. Ashlee Bailie AUS AU 02:12:21
9. Matilda Raynolds AUS AU 02:15:07
Official results – Elite Men
1. Brendan Sexton AUS AU 01:48:50
2. Kris Gemmell NZL NZ 01:49:31
3. Aaron Royle AUS AU 01:50:06
4. Tony Dodds NZL NZ 01:50:36
5. Courtney Atkinson AUS AU 01:50:38
6. Martin Van Barneveld NZL NZ 01:50:54
7. Ryan Bailie AUS AU 01:51:17
8. Drew Box AUS AU 01:51:58
9. Ryan Fisher AUS AU 01:52:02
10. Mitchell Kealey AUS AU 01:52:15