The Australian Cross Country Skiing Championships and FIS Australia – New Zealand Cup (ANC) moved to Perisher Valley last weekend for races on August 15-16. While Australian Ben Sim put up a tough fight in Saturday’s race Thomas Diezig from Switzerland was the dominant male athlete, winning both the 10km Freestyle and 15km Classic events. In the women’s events Katherine Calder from New Zealand cleaned up in the 5km Freestyle and 10km Classic and has now joined Diezig in the lead in the overall ANC cup standings.
Racing conditions were remarkably good for the freestyle events on Saturday, however strong winds and rain on Sunday were challenge for officials and competitors.
Starting in interval start format Sim and Diezig were very close throughout the 10km race, with the lead changing at different parts of the course. Sim was one second up in time splits up the last hill but couldn’t hang on to the finish and Diezig won by under three seconds. Third place went to Tomio Kanamaru from Japan. Second Australian and first junior was Sim’s NSW Institute of Sport team-mate Alex Almoukov in 6th place overall.
On Sunday Diezig was in a class of his own, winning by one minute forty-seven seconds ahead of Kanamaru. Third place went to Paul Murray, Australia’s best sprinter, who recorded his best distance race for some years. Unfortunately for Sim he finished back in 7th place, making it a tough challenge from here to overtake Diezig in the overall standings.
It was a New Zealand double in the 5km Freestyle with Calder winning ahead of current team-mate Andrea Fancy, with former team-mate Esther Bottomley from Australia taking third place. Now based in Switzerland for much of the year, Calder switched nation from Australia to New Zealand in 2008. Calder backed up to win the 10km Classic the next day, this time ahead of Australia’s highest ranked distance skier Aimee Watson and 2006 Winter Olympian Clare-Louise Brumley. Bottomley skipped the race after waking up with a sore throat, leaving Calder now 120 points clear on the ANC leaderboard.
Next weekend cross country ski racing action continues with the New Zealand Winter Games, which features competition in eight different Winter Olympic sports. The Australia – New Zealand Cup series concludes on August 29 with the Kangaroo Hoppet, Australia’s international ski marathon at Falls Creek.
Men ANC Standings after 5 Competitions:
Place FIS Code Name Nation Points
1 1327251 Thomas Diezig SUI 440
2 3040011 Ben Sim AUS 321
3 3510067 Valerio Leccardi SUI 245
4 3040028 Mark Van Der Ploeg AUS 216
5 1276520 Tomio Kanamaru JPN 208
Women ANC Standings after 5 Competitions:
Place FIS Code Name Nation Points
1 3415003 Katherine Calder NZE 460
2 1365178 Esther Bottomley AUS 340
3 3045009 Aimee Watson AUS 285
4 3045056 Lucy Glanville AUS 202
5 3045041 d’Arcy Baxter AUS 200
Australian 5/10km Freestyle Championship, Saturday August 15
Open Women 5km Freestyle
1 14:50.9 Katherine Calder NEW ZEALAND
2 15:41.3 Andrea Fancy NEW ZEALAND
3 15:55.3 Esther Bottomley AUSTRALIA
4 16:14.5 Clare-Louise Brumley AUSTRALIA
5 16:24.9 Aimee Watson AUSTRALIA
Open Men 10km Freestyle
1 26:57.6 Thomas Diezig SWITZERLAND
2 27:00.1 Ben Sim AUSTRALIA
3 28:13.8 Tomio Kanamaru JAPAN
4 28:45.2 Wataru Omori JAPAN
5 28:40.4 Valerio Leccardi SWITZERLAND
Australian 10/15km Classic Championship, Sunday August 16
Open Women 10km Classic
1 36:47.6 Katherine Calder NEW ZEALAND
2 38:23.6 Aimee Watson AUSTRALIA
3 39:32.1 Clare-Louise Brumley AUSTRALIA
4 39:46.4 Andrea Fancy NEW ZEALAND
5 42:16.3 Belinda Phillips AUSTRALIA
Open Men 15km Classic
1 47:11.2 Thomas Diezig SWITZERLAND
2 48:58.5 Tomio Kanamaru JAPAN
3 49:19.4 Paul Murray AUSTRALIA
4 49:31.1 Wataru Omori JAPAN
5 49:50.9 Chris Darlington AUSTRALIA
Full results and report will be available at www.hoppet.com.au/xc in the next few days.