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Erin steps up at Oceania championships

Marlborough speed skater Erin Green showed she is well up with the pace internationally, bringing two medals back from last week’s Oceania champs in Brisbane.

The 13-year-old, who raced in the cadet class, picked up a bronze medal in a closely-contested individual 200m time trial, ending up just 0.37sec off the pace, and a silver medal alongside two Nelson skaters in the 3000m relay.

She also competed in the 1000m event, winding up fourth and narrowly missing another podium finish, the 5000m elimination race, which was termed “a learning curve”, and the 5000m points race in which she was well-placed and had picked up points before losing a frame on her skate, which put her out of contention.

Her mother and coach, Roxanne Green, said Erin had performed better than she had anticipated and had learned plenty from the experience, especially being part of the 31-strong Kiwi team.

“It was a great experience,” said Roxanne, who was one of the NZ team managers, “all the coaches, and the other athletes were so helpful and forthcoming with information.

“She made some good friends and learned heaps.

“It has given her the incentive to carry on and do better,” with help from her new coach Jazmyn McAuley, who has moved to Blenheim from Timaru. “Jazmyn is a very good teacher with a lot of experience, having skated nationally and internationally,” said Roxanne. “She has also skated under the guidance of Cheryl and Nicole Begg, both world champions.

“Bill Begg, a former international and NZ coach, has also been a big part of Jazmyn’s learning, so we are very lucky to have her here in Blenheim.”

Further ahead for Erin, who has another year in the cadet section, is the national champs and another shot at the Oceanias, plus a possible trip to Jakarta late in the year to train and race against international-quality skaters.

On the more immediate agenda for Erin, and her fellow skaters in the Blenheim club, is the Top of the South Queen’s Birthday Weekend Tour, which will be staged at three Marlborough venues over June 1-3.

“It is a really fun event for kids and adults, wanting to have a go at racing” said Roxanne, “and everyone comes away with something.”

The national marathon champs will also be run in conjunction with the Tour, staged at the kart track on Monday, June 3.

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