Natasha Key 19th in World Championships sprint

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Natasha Key, making her comeback to the Australian team at the age of 44 after more than a decade away from international elite competition, was Australia’s lead performer in the sprint at the World Orienteering Championships today, placing 19th in an impressive result. Maja Alm of Denmark successfully defended her title, 26 seconds ahead of Judith Wyder of Switzerland, with a surprise bronze medal for Anastasia Denisova of Belarus.

Australia also had one men’s finalist, with Leon Keely placing 39th in the final in a race where the entire field was covered by just over two minutes. Jerker Lysell gave the home fans something to cheer about as he took out the men’s event by three seconds, ahead of the Swiss duo of Matthias Kyburz and Daniel Hubmann. New Zealander Tim Robertson was 13th.

Krystal Neumann and Aislinn Prendergast were both unlucky to miss out on the final, missing the cut by one place, and four and seven seconds respectively. Henry McNulty (22nd) missed out by 23 seconds on his World Championships debut in a brutally tough heat where the cut was only 34 seconds behind the winner, while Simon Uppill (21st) was 20 seconds away from qualifying.

Competition continues today with the sprint relay, which starts at 4.50pm local time (12.50am Monday AEST).

Full results are available at the IOF website.