Sunday, March 9, 2008

Moffatt Gets Her Olympic Spot At Oceania

Blustery but warm conditions greeted triathletes in the OCA Triathlon Oceania Championships in Wellington, New Zealand today where Australia’s Emma Moffatt and Shane Reed of New Zealand won the elite women’s and men’s races respectively. Their wins give Australia and New Zealand a coveted spot on the start line of this summer’s Olympic Triathlon in Beijing.

Moffat was hugely impressive and looked like she could run another ten kilometres when she crossed the line almost two minutes clear of her countrywoman and silver medalist Annabel Luxford. A further two minutes back was New Zealand’s Nicky Samuels in third.

The two Aussie’s dominated the majority of the race exiting the water in the lead and pulling away on the bike with Kiwi Andrea Hewitt before Moffatt took command early on the run. Hewitt was unable to hang on to the pace, however, and was eventually passed by Samuels.

Moffat though was delighted with her days work in the trying conditions.

“That was bloody windy and tough the whole race but it was a good race, I felt great the whole day. My transition out of the bike and on to the run was great and from then I just ran solid and established what proved to be a winning lead. I have not tapered for this, I raced last week as well but the real aim is Mooloolaba in three weeks.”

In contrast Luxford crossed the line suffering from a shin injury and immediately sought ice to soothe the pain and inflammation.

“The wind made that so tough today. I swam well and led into transition but lost some time as a shoe had fallen off my bike. I had to work hard early on to get back on the lead bunch. From there we worked well together but from the moment I hit the run I was feeling the shin and struggled for the most part. The injury has flared up in the last week or so, I’m just glad to have this race out of the way and I will look to sort it out when I get home.”

The victory gives at least one Olympic spot to Australia but it does not guarantee that spot will go to Moffatt. Selection to Australia's Olympic team is discretionary. Moffatt’s win coupled with the high rankings of Luxford, Emma Snowsill and Felicity Abram means Australia is likely to field a full women’s team of three in Beijing.

2008 Wellington OCA Triathlon Oceania Championships, New Zealand
Elite Women - Final Results
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Oceania Champion - Emma Moffat (AUS) 2:06:36
Silver - Annabel Luxford (AUS) 2:08:11
Bronze - Nicky Samuels (NZL) 2:10:30
4 - Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:10:47
5 - Samantha Warriner (NZL) 2:11:22

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