Australia’s elite head to South Australia this weekend for the start of the 2009 SILVA National Orienteering League. SILVA will again sponsor the 2009 League and have kicked in a huge sponsorship with $20,000 worth of cash and prizes over the season.
The women’s elite field will be strengthened by the return of 2006 World Champion Hanny Allston. Allston spent most of 2008 in New Zealand, only returning for the national championships in September, where she won the middle and long distance titles. Also a strong contender is Victoria’s Kathryn Ewels. Ewels had a breakthrough year, with Australian 3-days, and national sprint distance titles to complement her 14th at the world championships. Fast improving youngsters Vanessa Round and Jasmine Neve will add great depth to the 2009 women’s competition.
The 2009 men’s field will see South Australia’s Simon Uppill, 2008 Australian champion in all three disciplines, racing NSW Stinger Julian Dent for the title. Dent recently returned from a stint in Sweden competing for Malungs Club. Uppill holds most of the silverware from the Australian and Oceania Championships, but Dent still holds the #1 Australian ranking. ACT’s David Shepherd is slowly overcoming a serious ankle injury but likely to miss much of the 2009 season. Matt Parton (NSW) and Ryan Smyth (TAS) will also be looking to improve on some great results in 2008, and perhaps recluse Victorian Troy De Haas will come out of hiding and spice things up a little.
This years’s SILVA NOL competition will include 17 races conducted over four states. To see where the races are held check out the Google maps link below. And stay tuned to the Orienteering Australia website http://www.orienteering.asn.au for all SILVA National Orienteering League updates.