Gritty effort from orienteering team
A five-strong orienteering team from Diocesan School for Girls can now put their feet up after conquering some of the sport’s European powerhouse nations to finish fourth in the World Schools Orienteering Championships.
The students tackled two punishing courses in Portugal on April 17 and 19, running across sand dunes and steep terrain with loose rock and thick gorse.
They finished with an overall fourth place based on the combined times of the best three runners in each race.
The five orienteers featured in the Central Leader on April 10 after winning the right to represent New Zealand following their success at the national competition last year.
Team manager Jenny Cade says the Portugal course demanded mental toughness to complete.
‘‘The coaches and organisers had never seen people with their legs so badly cut up. Those who just ran in socks and shoes with no gaiters came back with red, stinging welts all over their legs.’’
Six athletes from other teams gave up part way through the race because of the conditions, she says.
Sweden was first overall, France second and Latvia third.
Leading orienteers: Diocesan students, from left, Gemma Scown, Lauren Holmes, Hayley Ewen, Hannah Pitman-Bell and Catherine Andrew came fourth in the World Schools Orienteering Championships in Portugal on April 20.