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Two World Titles For Kiwis In Vancouver

7th June 2008

Two World Titles For Kiwis In Vancouver

New Zealand picked up two World Championship titles at the Sprint Distance age group Triathlon World Championship in Vancouver today.

Capping a fine day in which all New Zealand competitors finished their events in tough conditions, there were a further three podium finishes and seven top ten, with all Kiwis inside the top 25 in their age group races.

New Zealand team manager Claire Attwood was bursting with pride when describing the efforts of the entire team.

“Everyone deserves a medal here today; conditions were so tough with temperatures not really getting above single figures and the water temperature even colder. Despite that we had a 100% finish record and everyone gave it their absolute all, representing themselves and their country with real class.”

Sarah Jack capped her incredible comeback to the sport with victory in the women’s 20 to 24 age group while veteran Anthony Sepie took out the men’s 75 to 79 age group.

Jack’s story is a remarkable one given the young Aucklander underwent major surgery in 2004 to correct adolescent idiopathic scoliosis – lateral curvature of the spine. During the surgery Jack had two titanium rods inserted either side and fused to her spine.

The third year med student is coached by George Hilgenhoult in Auckland, he is immensely proud of his charge but not surprised at her success.

“Five years ago Sarah was training as a junior with some national and elite squads but frankly I thought she was out of her league. But Sarah is so tenacious; she kept plugging on and moved on to the U16 junior squad and attended several New Zealand camps.

“Despite her setbacks or maybe because of them, Sarah’s mental attitude is incredible; I’ve not seen anyone like her. She is unassuming, committed and enthusiastic about the sport and continues to improve.”

Christchurch’s Anthony Sepie is legendary around Triathlon and Multisport circles, constantly overcoming personal setbacks and health issues that would ‘retire’ most normal people. But the popular Sepie keeps bouncing back more determined than ever and has a World Championship to his name. Sepie simply doesn’t know when to quit. A familiar sight at triathlon and multisport events around the country and in last year’s Contact My Sport Series races, Sepie’s victory comes despite battling to overcome both leukemia and prostate cancer. The story of his triumph against adversity doesn’t end there though, Sepie can only swim in the ocean, as his skin is too sensitive to handle the chlorine used in indoor pools, which means he’s even out training in the ocean in the middle of winter.

Add to that the bouts of chemotherapy he has for the leukemia every two to three years and the injections required for his prostate cancer (which impede his performances by about 20%), and you wouldn’t blame Sepie if he had packed the sport in years ago.

The men’s 16 to 19 age category was a fierce battle throughout, with Alexander Smith (Auckland) and Daniel Hine (New Plymouth) finishing second and third while Cameron Todd was close behind in fifth.

Ian Clark (Hawkes Bay) was second in the men’s 20 to 24, picking up New Zealand’s other podium finish in conditions that had spectators grabbing their winter jackets and athletes warding off hypothermia!

Triathlon NZ CEO Dave Beeche is proud of Jack, Sepie and all those who raced this morning wearing the silver fern.

“Our sport is so much more than success at the elite level and on the world stage. All who competed this morning in Vancouver have done themselves, their families and their sport of Triathlon proud. The stories of Sarah Jack and Anthony Sepie should serve as inspiration to all New Zealanders to overcome any hurdles and set their goals high in life. Tri NZ is extremely proud of Sarah, Anthony and all who raced this morning, we look forward to further success in the standard distance events and of course in the elite races on Monday morning our time.”

2008 World Sprint Distance Age Group Championships
NZ Results

16 to 19 women
9 Hayleigh NITERL New Zealand 1:30:21.33 +7:15.69
10 Jessica ROETS New Zealand 1:31:56.88 +8:51.24
16 to19 men
2 Alexander SMITH New Zealand 1:10:09.46 +20.69
3 Daniel HINE New Zealand 1:10:50.33 +1:01.56
5 Cameron TODD New Zealand 1:12:16.45 +2:27.68
20 to 24 women
1 Sarah JACK New Zealand 1:24:28.87 0.00
20 to 24 men
2 Ian CLARK New Zealand 1:11:28.06 +1:26.35
4 Clay GULLIVER New Zealand 1:13:52.39 +3:50.68
25 to 29 Men
6 Te Kawa ROBB New Zealand 1:15:18.03 +5:29.10
30 to 34 Women
4 Mel CUTLER New Zealand 1:29:40.40 +2:37.92
30 to 34 Men
12 Benjamin EITELBERG New Zealand 1:19:30.90 +9:03.53
35 to 39 Men
11 Warren SUTHERLAND New Zealand 1:18:43.40 +5:43.43
40 to 44 Men
13 David BROWN New Zealand 1:22:07.88 +7:56.56
24 Darin ROBINSON New Zealand 1:25:51.90 +11:40.58
50 to 54 Women
5 Glynn PRITCHETT New Zealand 1:37:53.78 +3:50.10
11 Sue COOMBES New Zealand 1:45:13.32 +11:09.64
65 to 69 Men
5 John GORDON New Zealand 1:56:12.29 +13:33.82
75 to 79 Men
1 Anthony SEPIE New Zealand 2:19:07.28 0.00

ends

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