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First national title for Emma

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier

Emma PetersenTe Awamutu College fifth former Emma Petersen continued her meteoric sporting rise on Saturday by winning her first National title, taking out the Intermediate (U16) Girls Duathlon title at the NZ Secondary Schools Championships in Christchurch.

Petersen absolutely blitzed the field once on the bike after entering transition after the first run in fourth equal place.

A phone call to coach Errol Newlands from rival spectator and director of sport at Rangitoto College, Peter Harwood, suggested that the race was over by the end of the first of the six laps of the cycle leg, such was Petersen’s superior speed on the bike.

Trailing the leader by 40 seconds after the first 3.5km run leg, Petersen lit the afterburners on the 14.8km bike leg to leave her rivals stunned with a blistering 23 min, 58 sec ride that was 3 min, 19 sec faster than eventual silver medallist Johanna van Doorn from Christchurch to give Petersen a 2.41 lead at the finish of the bike leg.

With a 2.5km run to the finish line, Petersen had only her shadow for company as she cantered in for a victory that had stunned other competitors and spectators alike, including mother Sandra who was an emotional spectator.

Finishing with a 2 min, 26 sec margin back to second place, Petersen sent a stern message to her competitors who may well be thinking about challenging for her title at next year’s National Champs in Napier.

With Petersen again competing in this age group in 2006 there will no doubt be a race on their hands.
Petersen has had an incredible year. Her victory in Christchurch followed success at the Waikato Secondary Schools Duathlon Championships (see story on local duathletes page 15).

She was second at the Duathlon Nationals last year at Napier, second at NZ Secondary Schools Cycling Champs in two events at Fielding last September, selected for the NZ U17 Cycling Team in 2005 and claimed gold in the U17 Girls North Island Cycling Championship two weekends ago. She’s also a member of the NZ Soccer Academy in her age group.