Kiwi motocross rider and three-time defending women's world champion Courtney Duncan has revealed a Covid-19 Omicron case at her managed isolation facility in Wellington has extended her stay from seven to 10 days – meaning she'll miss Christmas with family.
Duncan arrived in New Zealand on December 16th and was due to travel home to Dunedin in time for Christmas Day.
Tuesday's border changes, which sees MIQ stays increased to 10 days instead of seven in MIQ and three self-isolating at home, do not kick in until 11.59pm on Thursday, meaning Duncan would have been home for Christmas if not for the Omicron case at her facility.
"A wee bit gutted, but at the same time you kind of knew the possibilities of that happening," Duncan told Newstalk ZB.
"[It's] just the world at the moment, things are changing left right and centre, you just got to be optimistic and hope for the best. I'm going to be back home with my family at some point, just a few days later than expected.
"It's been six months, door to door, so the excitement levels are pretty high to be heading home.
"It's been so long since I've seen them, it's been the longest time I've been away from home. I don't think I've been so excited to be returning - I can't wait."
Duncan was able to return to New Zealand earlier this month, filling one of 20 spots allocated by Sport NZ to athletes who meet the criteria and have been unable to secure a managed isolation and quarantine voucher.
It brought an end to six weeks in limbo, with Duncan stuck outside of New Zealand following her third straight women's motocross world championship in Italy in October. Like many Kiwis hoping to return home at the end of the year, Duncan's four-month quest to secure an MIQ voucher ended in failure.
In Italy, a pair of podium finishes were enough to clinch Duncan another world title, ending the season with a 31-point buffer atop the leaderboard. Duncan also led Kawasaki to top the manufacturer standings.
Next year shapes up as another big season for Duncan, who returned to New Zealand as a free agent. The 25-year-old finished her contract with British-based Dixon Racing Team at the end of the 2021 campaign and is yet to re-sign for next season.
Duncan will no doubt have plenty of suitors in free agency. However, she indicated she was keen to negotiate an improved deal with DRT.
"We've had a lot of success in the past few years, and you would like that to continue, but there are things that need to be worked out; so hopefully I will have something to announce sooner than later," Duncan said.
"In an ideal world you'd like to build long-term relationships - that's what we're all about."