The 2016 Australian foot orienteering season comes to its climax this weekend with the Australian Long and Middle Distance Championships near Stanthorpe.
The Australian Sprint and Relay Championships have already been run. On one of the most technical sprint courses seen in Australia, Simon Uppill’s skills came to the fore as he edged out Ian Lawford, while Natasha Key continued her great year with a convincing win. A classic sprint finish in the men’s relay saw Lawford just edge out NSW’s Robert Bennett to give the Cockatoos the points, whilst their women had an easier time as Jo Allison and Belinda Lawford joined up with recently-arrived Briton Charlotte Watson to run to a comfortable win over the Victorian Nuggets.
The Nuggets’ second place was enough to give them an unbeatable lead in the senior women’s National League, whilst the Cockatoos’ men overtook the Nuggets to go to a three-point lead with two races to go, and with a strong team at this weekend’s events are the clear favourites. Key has wrapped up the individual title, whilst Uppill has one hand on it; Matt Crane would need to win both weekend races and hope the South Australian fails to improve his score. In the junior division, the Nuggets’ men and Tassie Foresters’ women both secured their titles on the weekend, whilst Patrick Jaffe’s second place on Saturday ended his hopes of catching Matt Doyle, but Lanita Steer and Tara Melhuish are still keenly fighting out the individual title with Anna Dowling also an outside chance.