Belinda Lawford and Leon Keely took the honours over the latest National Orienteering League last weekend in the Flinders Ranges. Both started the weekend by taking out the middle distance on Saturday, then backed it up with victories in the Wildfire Sports Ultra-Long on Sunday (which featured possibly the longest course ever run at an Australian orienteering event, 28.1km). For both, it marked their best results at this level, and will be a major step forward in their hopes of gaining World Championships selection.
Matt Doyle also did the double on the weekend in the junior men’s, and took out the $500 prize for the best relative kilometre rate after a convincing ultra-long effort, against strong opposition from Henry McNulty, who was coming off an excellent Easter at senior level. The junior women mixed it up a bit more; Winnie Oakhill edged out Zoe Dowling by seven seconds on Saturday, but in the ultra-long it was Lanita Steer who triumphed, with Tara Melhuish next in line.
With the Canberra Cockatoos having a minimal presence, the Victorian Nuggets returned to the senior men’s lead, and kept an unchanged margin in the senior women’s. The junior divisions remain a Victoria-Tasmania contest; the Foresters drew level in the junior women’s but remain 12 points behind in the junior men’s.
Simon Uppill’s two second places were enough for him to hold on to the individual lead for now over the closing Keely, while Natasha Key’s second on Sunday saw her overtake Rachel Effeney at the front of the women’s event. Doyle established a commanding junior lead with his closest rival, Patrick Jaffe, absent, while Steer and Melhuish are separated by two points in the junior women’s.