Begg, Michael claim honours
Timaru's Nicole Begg and Manawatu's Peter Michael crushed their opposition to win the men's and ladies' categories of speed skating's Tour of Timaru.
The multiple time world champions each won all 14 races during the four-day tour.
It was the efforts of six younger South Canterbury skaters which impressed as they were forced to step up to the open ladies grade.
Tyla Smith (fifth), Leah McDonald (seventh), Jazmyn McAuley (ninth) and Sophie Lowen (12th) really made use of the opportunity, but the performance of Smith put the older skaters on warning, that she is fast approaching the top echelon.
The natural speed of Leah McDonald was obvious. Dahna Penty managed three thirds in sprint events and the New Zealand selectors will be viewing her for possibly the Junior World Championships.
Analiese Le Roy saved her best effort for the last event with second behind Begg in the 15,000m elimination.
Guy McDonald may be a late nomination for the Junior World Championships as he tried hard but had to race five world team members from earlier this year and quality German skater, Alex Emele, but he could be the No 3 junior man available.
The Whanganui pair of Jessica van Bentum and Rebecca Smith finished second and third respectively overall to Begg. Antony Nalder and Josh Whyte filled the minor placings behind Michael.
The B grade was dominated by the young Chinese speedster Qi Maio, but Keaton Swindells got his act together and won two of the last four races.
The primary and novice grade saw Tasha McAuley dominate as she had at the New Zealand Championships in Auckland, winning everything. Eden Preston picking up the second placings.
- The Timaru Herald