Busy Allflex New Zealand Shearing and Woolhandling Team member Pagan Karauria had to take it right on the chin as she was beaten in the French All-Nations Women's Shearing Championship final in France yesterday (early today New Zealand time).
Karauria was first to finish the six-shearer final of 10 sheep each on the opening day of the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Le Dorat.
Although she appeared comfortably-placed to win with a good buffer on time and board judging points, she was heavily penalised by the pen judges, and had to settle for fourth place overall.
Karauria thought she had done much better, but appeared relaxed about the outcome as she came away from the roasting-hot day with top place in the All Nations open woolhandling heats, the prelude to her world title bid at the weekend.
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Teammate Sheree Alabaster failed to make the top eight, but is likewise most focused on the world title.
Geraldine blade shearer Alan Oldfield qualified in sixth place for the All Nations blade shearing championship semi-finals, headed by reigning world champion Mayenzeki Schweni.
But top New Zealand blade shearing hope Tony Dobbs just failed to qualify for the semi-final, and is also left to focus solely on world titles hopes.
The women's shearing final was won by Eleonore Resneau, one of three Frenchwoman in the final.
Uniquely, she has won in New Zealand, claiming a senior title at the Kaikohe Agricultural, Pastoral and Horticultural Show in January 2018.
The final was held just before the opening formalities, where representatives from the 34 countries paraded around the venue. This was followed by an hour of speeches in front of a rapturous crowd of more than 2000, in the huge steel-framed marquee stadium.
More than 150 competitors on stage fanned themselves with national flags on an afternoon in which the temperature passed 32degC.
Women's final (10 sheep): Eleonore Resneau (France) 14min 49sec, 57.25pts, 1; Aubane Nardetto (France) 12min 39sec, 60.85pts, 2; Anne-Lise Haugdahl Hunstad (Norway) 14min 31sec, 61.85pts, 3; Pagan Karauria (New Zealand) 12min 28sec, 64.2pts, 4; Pauline Bolay (Canada) 14min 23sec, 65.85pts, 5; Jalle Resneau (France) 13min 41sec, 69.45pts, 6.