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Halligan struggles in Aussie ironwoman debut

Last updated 18:48 23/12/2012

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New Zealand surf lifesaving world champion Devon Halligan endured a tough initiation in her Australian ironwoman series debut in Perth today before finishing the opening round of the six-stop schedule at the tail of the field.

Halligan, 19, appeared exhausted after the ski race segment at Scarborough Beach and struggled through the round-closing combined race.

The Sydney-born teenager, who was a key member of the Black Fins world championship team title-winning squad in Adelaide last month, was 17th after collecting just 12 points from the four-race format.

Halligan, the reigning New Zealand ironwoman champion, was seventh in the round-opening board race but battled in the swim and ski events before another lowly placing when the field took on all three events at once.

A former Australian age group representative before committing to New Zealand in April, Halligan is the first New Zealand woman to qualify for the series since Lucy Pengelly in 2007 although Aimee Berridge was drafted in to contest the final two rounds of last season.

Current world ironwoman and Coolangatta Gold champion Brodie Moir won the round (100 points) from Naomi Flood (84) and Courtney Hancock (72).

In the men's event another Kiwi debutant Chris Moors was 15th in the 16-strong field on 16 points.

Legendary Australian ironman Shannon Eckstein - a three-time world champion and reigning Kellogg's Nutri-Grain champion - won the round thanks to a solid all-round performance capped by a victory in the combined race.

Alastair Day was second overall and Matt Poole third.

The next round is at Newcastle in New South Wales on January 12.

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