Crawford returns to take her title

Last updated 05:00 23/01/2012

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Former Christchurch ironman competitor Gina Crawford re-established herself as the undisputed queen of Challenge Wanaka by winning her fourth title at her fourth attempt after missing last year's race to start a family.

With baby son Benji waiting for her on the sideline, Crawford held off the challenge of former professional cyclist Britta Martin, a German now based in Nelson and who is the partner of New Zealand Olympic cyclist Robin Reid, and a fast finish from Wanaka local Simone Maier.

"I've been out for a while and I definitely needed to prove to all my sponsors again that I'm still the athlete that I was," Crawford, who is now based in Whanganui, said.

"This is the first step on the ladder and I can improve from here."

Crawford, who gave birth only six months ago, plans to take a week off before resuming training for the New Zealand Ironman in Taupo on March 3.

Australia's Aaron Farlow won the men's race ahead of Southlander Jamie Whyte and Kieran Doe of Auckland on Saturday.

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- Canterbury

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