National marks fall as locals hold own

By Jared Smith

Wanganui held their own while a young man from the lower North Island tore it up over the first two days of the New Zealand Speed Skating Track Championships.

Jubilee Stadium saw a number of national records fall the most impressive being tearaway Ollie Jones of the Valley Inline club.

In the Men's 3000m final, the 16-year-old Jones smashed the old record by 10 seconds his 5m 1.54s time eclipsing the 2007 mark set by senior professional and current world record holder Scott Arlidge.

Between 90-100 competitors raced in a multitude of different distances, both single and relay, over the two days.

South Canterbury had a massive contingent, although Wanganui skaters still found their way to the podium.

Competition got heavy on the hard wood, said Ken Smith of Wanganui Speed Skating Club.

"We've had a lot of crashes we've got two in hospital."

The most serious injury was Wanganui's Georgia Reynolds, who left with a suspected broken arm.

Former Wanganui junior Judah Kelly again won the 800m title, while the juvenile division of the same distance saw a massive crash in the heats between Reynolds and clubmate Eugenia Lee.

Fellow Wanganui skater Renee Teers survived the carnage and finished second in the final.

Lee, 11, in juvenile for just this season after starting the sport a year ago, still had a fantastic few days starting with four gold medals and a silver at the road championships last week in Palmerston North.

"She's a surprise package, but she's been consistently winning," said Smith.

Lee, said her mother wanted her to try skating at age 5, as other than a little netball "I normally just read".

"It's easier on roads, on wood it's slippery, hard to go around the corners.

"It's kind of like flying, it's just exhilarating. "It's fun I can't find a better word for it."

In another road result, Wanganui veteran Krystine Davies teamed with Jessica van Bentum and Rebecca Smith to win the 5000km women's relay, beating South Taranaki in the final.

Wanganui's junior girls also won their relay in record time.

On Saturday, Davies took out the 30-lap, 3000m Combined Master's final after Manawatu's Andy McDonell was relegated for barging into her on the last corner.

Davies explained the rules state you cannot change your line as racers gauge if they go out early or wait for an opening.

"You can play the tactical game and see how it unfolds as you skate.

'You can kind of work out if they're a sprinter or long distance where their weak points are.

"They can work out where yours are too.

"It's luck, once you've done your training and hard work."

Having spent her teenage years as an artistic skater, she came into the sport in her 40s and has been at it for 10 years.

"It lacks females [at Masters level]. In some aspects it's good because there's a turnover because there's always Masters coming through."

Davies said she would have to go to the United States to get regular all-female Masters competition, although she has not ruled out the World Championships in 2014.

In other results, Wanganui's Caitlin Ferguson won the primary girls' 800m final, while Chase Morpeth took out the primary boys' section, although against only one opponent.

A big field for the Ladies' 5000m final saw van Bentum finish second.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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