Bul­gar­ian hol­i­day quest

Central Leader - - NEWS - By BEN ROGERS

ALICE Til­ley and Kayla Fair­bairn are spend­ing their school hol­i­days on the world stage.

The pair have been selected to rep­re­sent New Zealand in Bul­garia at the Ju­nior World Ori­en­teer­ing Cham­pi­onships.

Til­ley is from Dioce­san School and Fair­bairn from St Cuth­berts.

They will both don the sil­ver fern af­ter a sea­son of com­pet­ing against each other at sec­ondary school level.

The duo have shared the spoils this year with both girls on the podium at Auck­land Sec­ondary School events, earn­ing gold and sil­ver medals.

‘‘It’s awe­some hav­ing Kayla in Auck­land,’’ Til­ley says. ‘‘ We can train to­gether but when we com­pete we push each other.’’

The friendly ri­valry has played a part in the girls reach­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive level.

‘‘I can’t ever slack off be­cause I know Alice will be chas­ing me down,’’ Fair­bairn says.

Ori­en­teer­ing in­volves a set of con­trols po­si­tioned around a large course, usu­ally on rugged ter­rain.

Racers are chal­lenged to find the con­trols in a spe­cific or­der us­ing a map as a guide. The fastest per­son to get all the con­trols in the right or­der wins.

‘‘It com­bines the men­tal, phys­i­cal and tech­ni­cal side of sport al­to­gether,’’ Til­ley says. ‘‘Ev­ery­one is al­ways search­ing for that per­fect race where you feel phys­i­cally good, get your map skills right and ev­ery- thing plan.’’

Ob­tain­ing per­fec­tion is why the girls love the sport and have stuck with it af­ter tak­ing it up four years ago.

‘‘You can never be the very best, there is al­ways room for im­prove­ment. Ev­ery time you go out on a course you



to know you are go­ing to make mis­takes.

‘‘You are al­ways aim­ing for per­fec­tion,’’ Fair­bairn says.

The per­fect run is what the two will be gun­ning for when they com­pete in Bul­garia. The cham­pi­onships be­gin on July 21 and pit the New Zealand team against the best in the world.

Swe­den and Nor­way are tra­di­tion­ally the dom­i­nant teams but the Ki­wis will be push­ing for a medal.

Kiwi Matt Og­den won the Ju­nior World Ori­en­teer­ing Mid­dle Dis­tance Champs in 2012 which was the first time some­one out­side of Europe had won the event.

His per­for­mance is one the girls will be draw­ing on for in­spi­ra­tion as they tackle the Bul­gar­ian land­scape.

Ac­cord­ing to the girls, ori­en­teer­ing is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity in New Zealand.

‘‘When you’re out there you get to see such cool places,’’ Fair­bairn says.

‘‘You don’t know what to ex­pect be­cause ev­ery time is dif­fer­ent.

‘‘It’s like an ad­ven­ture.’’


Best mates: Ep­som’s Kayla Fair­bairn and Stone­fields’ Alice Til­ley are ri­vals when in school uni­form but will be on the same team at the World Ju­nior Ori­en­teer­ing Cham­pi­onships.

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