Orienteering champions crowned | midland express

Students from across Australia and beyond showed up to compete in the Australian Sprint, Long and Relay Championships as part of the Australian event. Photo: Max Lesser

Orienteers of all ages from across Australia and New Zealand traveled to Castlemaine, Maldon, Daylesford and Blackwood for the Australian Orienteering Championships from 24 September to 2 October.

The nine-day carnival kicked off in Daylesford with the Victorian Middle Distance Championships and the Orienteering Grand Prix.

On September 25, the action moved to Blackwood for the Australian Middle Distance Championships.

On September 26, attention turned to Kyneton for day one of the Australian Schools Sprint Championships. On September 27, students competed in the Long Distance Championships on a course in Harcourt, and on September 28, Chewton hosted the Australian Schools Relay Championships.

After a rest day on Thursday, the Orienteers hit the track at Sunbury on Friday 30 September for the Australian Sprint Championships.

Beautiful skies greeted the Orienteers in Maldon on Saturday October 1 for the Australian Long Distance Championships, and on Sunday October 2 the event concluded with the Australian Relay Championships at Campbells Creek.

Carnival director Warwick Williams of Orienteering Victoria said they couldn’t have asked for a better event.

“The weather over both weekends was fantastic and during the week we managed to run all of our events despite the rain.

In fact on Tuesday Bendigo and Kyneton saw two inches of rain but on Mt Alexander the weather got around us and we only had a bit of drizzle and the competition went as planned,” did he declare.

“We had around 1000 competitors from Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere and they really enjoyed the courses, the scenery and the goldfield scenery.

“We have opened two new courses in the Nuggety range at Maldon and Blackwood and these have been very well received and will no doubt be a venue for future competitions.”

The final day Australian relays were also blessed with another glorious spring day with Wattle blooming.

The cream has risen to the top with some of Australia’s top orienteers leading their states to relay victories. Greg Barbour, Jock Davis and Steve Craig, all multiple time champions, combined to narrowly win the M45 from Victoria. Jo Allison, Shannon Jones and Cath Chalmers did the same in W45. All elite races have had lead changes.

New Zealand have cleaned all 14 and 16 year old classes. Victoria had some good wins in W35 with Clare Brownridge, Melissa Gangemi and Lillia Gluscenko winning by ten minutes.

Perhaps an even more impressive win came in the highly competitive M65s where Roch Prendergast, Chris Norwood and Ted van Geldermalsen dominated the well-accredited ACT and NSW teams.

For all results visit: aoc.orienteering.asn.au/results

Dino J. Dotson