New Zealand’s cyclists have produced a brilliant week of results at the Oceania Track Championships in Invercargill.
Highlights included the stunning elite women’s keirin victory by rising star Ellesse Andrews and a best-ever ride by the men’s team sprint combination of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins.
“To start the final run into the Olympics in the position we are in at the moment is a good omen,” said Cycling New Zealand High Performance Director Martin Barras.
The men’s team sprint trio of Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins set an Oceania and New Zealand record time of 42.508s in their final to take the gold.
Making a rare appearance on his home track, Southlander Dawkins was elated with the result.
“To ride the fastest time we’ve ever done, it’s pretty unreal. Everything clicked, and clicked twice. We rode really close to our PB in the first round and to be able to back it up bodes well for the future,” he said.
“It’s super surreal, I’ve got no idea how it happened, but it’s so great - especially for me, for it to happen here. We’ve had a big shift in coaching staff, we’ve got a new coach in Rene Wolff and it’s pushed our team in a new direction, focusing on the strength element has just made our starts so much stronger as a unit.”
Meanwhile Ellesse Andrews provided a glimpse into the future for women’s sprinting with victory in the keirin.
Andrews kicked like a mule on the final lap to gap a field which included top Australians Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch and New Zealand’s sprint flagbearer Natasha Hansen.
It was a Kiwi clean sweep, with Olivia Podmore taking the silver medal and Hansen claiming bronze.
“It feels a bit surreal - there were some amazing girls and my great teammates in that race and I’m so happy to come out on top. I just go out there, enjoy the race and do what I can and today I came out with a good result,” said Andrews.
Kiwi golfer Danny Lee has produced a second-place finish on the PGA Tour.
Lee secured outright second place at the CJ Cup event in Jeju Island, Korea after heading into the final round tied for the lead.
Lee began the fourth round equal in first with playing partner Justin Thomas who shot a five-under 67 to claim his 11th career title at 20-under.
The Kiwi finished at 18-under after a final round 69, shooting all four rounds of the tournament at Nine Bridges in the 60s.
The Men’s Black Sticks have finished off their preparation for the Olympic Qualification series with a gutsy 2-0 win over Japan.
Black Sticks coach Darren Smith Commented “It was good to finish the four-game series on a high note. 2-0 was a good result against a strong Japanese side. We will head home and have some downtime for a few days before the whole group will assemble in Auckland we will then turn our attention to Korea and the important Olympic Qualification series”.
The New Zealand side came into the fourth and final match of the TSB Community Trust series with a 2-1 series lead, outplaying the opposition for their third win of the series.
The New Zealand Men will return to the turf on the 2nd of November when they take on Korea in the important 2 match series which will see the winners punch their ticket to Tokyo.
Canoe Slalom athlete Luuka Jones has placed 6th in the C1 at the Tokyo World Cup.
Jones also competed in the K1 but didn’t make it past the semi-finals.
New Zealand’s kitefoilers narrowly missed out on making the finals at the world Beach Games in Doha.
Justina Kitchen finished in fourth place out of six in her semi-final, while Sam Bullockjust missed out on progressing to the men’s final after a protest saw him disqualified from his final race.
Meanwhile in the karate Andrea Anacan managed the best showing of the New Zealand athletes.
Anacan progressed through the first round but narrowly missed out on making it to the ranking round.
Her karate teammates Isaac Hoshi and Holly Wigg were knocked out in the first round but enjoyed the Games.
“The beach games was a fantastic event overall. I really loved the concept of competing on top of sand rather than mats. Also, the hospitality and support provided was phenomenal,” said Hoshi.
The inaugural Beach Games saw more than 1000 athletes contest 14 sports.