Sunday, July 19, 2009

Australia 4th in World Games Mixed Relay

Australia equaled its best international result in a relay, with a 4th position in the mixed relay at the World Games in Kaohsiung today.Simon Uppill showed his calm and confidence on the world stage with a great opening leg providing a great start to the relay, coming in 7th position 1.21 min down. Kathryn Ewels had a storming run, and her best of the weekend to bring the team into 4th position, only a few seconds behind 3rd. I (Julian Dent) went out just behind World Games champion Daniel Hubman, and had a good first half, but tired baldy in the last part of the race to handover to Hanny in 5th position, 2min 18 sec behind 1st position. Hanny had a good run to pick the team up into 4th position, after battling for the bronze medal with Norway.

The team is stoked with the result, and happy to show the Europeans that we can match it with them!

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Simon finishing strongly on first leg.

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Simon had a great run to put the team in a good position!

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Kathryn finishing after a great run on 2nd leg.

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The team discussing the course!

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Me handing over to Hanny. I was stuffed!

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Hanny waiting to head out with World Champ Minna Kauppi.

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Hanny heading off on the last leg.

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Hanny finishing in 4th position

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hanny Wins Gold

A golden day for Hanny Allston and Australia in Kaohsiung today.A dominating performance by Hanny, gave Australia its second ever gold medal at the World Games orienteering event after Grant Bluett's gold in 2001.
It was a much cooler day which greeted us today, with a nice breeze making conditions much nicer than Friday.

Hanny had a smooth run and stuck to her race plan, which involved taking safe routes, staying out of the forested green areas and sticking to the tracks as much as possible. It payed off with a dominating run, 1.16 min clear of second placed Minna Kauppi of Finland.

Interview with Hanny

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Hanny on the Podium

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The Aussie flag rising high!

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Hanny with her Gold medal!

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Hanny stoked with her efforts!

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Aussie supporters on the big screen.

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Simon finishing on the big screen. Simon ended up in 23rd position, with a solid performance, showing over the two individual competitions that he can mix it with the best in the world.

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Kathryn resting up after her solid 19th position. She had a solid run, but never felt like she had her rhythm in the terrain, but her consistency over the two competitions shows she is amongst the best in the world.

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I (Julian Dent) finished up 13th, after a good start, but a small mistake late in the course cost a few places,I definitely have room to improve for the relay tomorrow.

What a great day for Australia today!

We'll be hoping to continue the success with the mixed relay tomorrow starting at 14.00 local time. (16.00 AEST)

Team Australia
1. Simon Uppill
2. Kathryn Ewels
3. Julian Dent
4. Hanny Allston

Silver Medal for Hanny in the Sprint

Wow what a day! Hanny showed she is well and truly back to her best with a 2nd place in the Sprint Distance at the 2009 Kaohsiung World Games. There was nothing to unexpected about the day- it was hot, and humid, as we have come to expect. It clouded over not long after the women's start which cooled things done a little, and some ominous storm clouds threatened but never delivered. On the other hand, the Aussies DID deliver!

Hanny had a pretty early start, and held her lead for most of the time until current Middle Distance and Relay World Champ Minna Kauppi posted a time of 14.17- 22.3 secs faster than Hanny.

Kathryn finished 15th- 1.34mins behind Hanny and not far of a top 10 results. This was equal to her best WOC result- in last years Long distance race. She missed time on a few controls but was reasonably happy with her result

Simon put together a great race and was really happy with his 17th place. He was only 10secs away from kiwi Ross Morrison in 10th place which shows how close he is to cracking it big time.

Julian was 22nd and a bit disappointed. He missed a few best route choices and tired a bit towards the end. But he has had a great preparation and hopefully he'll be rewarded with better results in the middle and relay.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Model Event & Opening Ceremony

Yesterday the Aussies got their first taste of orienteering in Taiwain, with a look at the model terrain in Central Park, Kaohsiung. It was good to get out for a run here in Kaohsiung, and get into the local climate.
The whole city has really had a makeover in preparation for these Games, with new development along the "Love River", providing a nice green esplanade in the city center, as well as the complete redevelopment of Central Park, not only providing a suitable location for our model event but a great place for the locals to practice their Tai Chi in the morning!

The whole city and its people have been very receptive of the athletes with volunteers assigned to each sport, as well as each team, to provide assistance throughout the day.

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The model event was only a short jog from our hotel, which was great to get the legs moving!

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Kathryn taking in the model area.

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Simon making sure he stays hydrated!

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Hot and steamy after the model event!

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Central Park - model map

In the afternoon the team rested and got some sleep in preparation for a late night at the opening ceremony, with some tropical downpours throughout the day, it made for a steamy night at the opening ceremony!

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Excited before the march into the Stadium.

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Getting to know the other Aussie athletes before the athlete parade. The other sports represented from Australia included, Ultimate Frisbee, Sumo, Parachuting, and Wakeboarding.

Entering the stadium in the athlete parade.

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Hanny inside the stadium, with a packed house of 40,000 on a steamy night.

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All team lining up after the athlete parade.

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Rob and Kathryn enjoying the Opening Ceremony

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All the Aussie Team at the Opening Ceremony of the World Games 2009

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The massive fireworks display kicks into action!!

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They certainly put on a great show for the 40,000 spectators and the athletes!

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Simon showing his delight with the express trip back to the hotel after the opening ceremony. With the competition beginning soon, to be able to get back fast to rest up was important, and thanks to our gun Taxi driver, who wouldn't even let police stop him, we got back to the hotel in record time!!

Watch the Sprint action live this afternoon from 16.00 AEST.

Aussie starters:

Hanny - 14.07
Kathryn - 14.14

Simon - 15.11
Julian - 15.24

Watch live here

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Team Arrives into buzzing Kaohsiung

The team has arrived into Kaohsiung, a city buzzing with excitement with the arrival of the World Games to Taiwain. With a deafening welcome from the local children at the airport to the massive nightly firework display over the Love River, Kaohsiung is certainly putting on a show. Tonight the World Games opens with the opening ceremony in the 40,000 solar powered stadium. Tomorrow the first orienteering competition begins with the Sprint around Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum. Expect some heated racing with an expected top of 33 degrees, and plenty of humidity to match, the Aussies should be well prepared to handle the conditions.

Above Photo: Team arrives fit and ready to race at Kaohsiung airport, to a warm welcome from the local school children.

Above Photo: The hundreds of school children welcoming teams at the airport, they provided a deafening and warm welcome!!

Above Photo: The team waiting in the accreditation center for the World Games, City Hall, Kaohsiung.

Above Photo: Accredited and ready to race! The team outside the accreditation center.

Above Photo: The team soaking up the great city atmosphere along the Love river, after checking out the firework display!

Follow the action live from 16.00 AEST, here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Aussie team complete training in Hong Kong

Overnight all members of the Australian Team came together in Hong Kong for their last full days training before jetting off to Kaohsiung tomorrow morning.
With the arrival of Simon Uppill, as well as Kathryn Ewels and coach Rob Preston over the weekend, the Aussie team is fit, healthy and ready to fire in Kaohsiung.

The team has acclimatised to the humidity and heat by training at some of the many park maps in Hong KongSome of the open parks in the dense city!

Julian getting ready to train with the Hong Kong Squad

Training at North Park, New Territories

Training at Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon,provided some tricky intense legs and open parkland running similar to Taiwain.

Simon, Kathryn and Rob headed out to Tin Shui Wai to round off their training today.

Coach Rob Preston, having a run himself at training.

Simon finishing up his session today.

Training in Hong Kong

Hanny Allston and myself Julian Dent were the first team members to arrive in Hong Kong to start acclimatising the the 30+ heat along with the 70% humidity.

We had some great assistance from the local Hong Kong orienteering association to organize some quality sprint training.
First though it was off up the "Peak", sitting 552m, above the city of Hong Kong (and our accommodation).
Rumour on the run that Hanny 'broke' Julian on the way up, was purely speculation, with no hard evidence to back it up. But the run certainly got the body into gear in the dripping conditions, and we certainly got some funny looks from the tourists up the top!

Hanny recovering from her first run up the Peak.

It was then off too training with the Hong Kong senior and junior squad. With a world Champion in their midst, they were all excited to get some tips.

Hanny in Action at Yuen Long Park

Julian in action at Yuen Long Park

After training Hanny and Julian then did a short presentation for the Hong Kong orienteers, on Sprint orienteering techniques and training for orienteering. They seemed to enjoy the insights into training from an Australian perspective and were keen to get some tips!

What is the World Games?

Some of you may be wondering what actually is the World Games.....

The World Games itself were first held in 1981, they are an international multi-sport event, designed for sports which are recognized by the International Olympic Committe (IOC), but are not in the Olympics. It is run by the International World Games Association (IWGA), under the patronage of the IOC.

So essentially it is the breading ground for Olympic sports, or second rate sports, depending which way you look at it.

However in the past, sports in the World Games have been elevated to the Olympics, such as Triathlon, while other have been disappointed, with sports such as Tug of War and more recently Softball being demoted to the World Games.

Being held every four years, the World Games has grown since its inception to now include 26 sports in Kaohsiung, with nearly 5000 participants and includes an opening and closing ceremonies.

Orienteering was first introduced in 2001 in Japan, with Australia's own Grant Bluett, taking the the Mens title. Since then the orienteering program as been expanded. This year in Kaohsiung, Taiwan the following events will be included:

Friday 17th July - Sprint
Saturday 18th July - Middle
Sunday 19th July - Mixed Relay (2x Women, 2x Men)

Stay tuned for more news from the team's training camp in Hong Kong......

Welcome to the Blog

The Australian team for the World Games is currently in Hong Kong, to complete their preparations for the World Games to be held in Kaohsiung, Taiwain from the 17 - 20th July.
Over the next week, you'll be able to follow the teams preparation, competitions and weird and wonderful stories of competing and training in Hong Kong & Kaohsiung right here on our blog.
Coming up......

What is the World Games?
The Aussie Team
Training Camp in Hong Kong!
Team Profiles
Competition Preview

So stay tuned for more in the coming days!