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Australian Climbers Take Male and Female Oceania Titles at Basecamp Wanaka


by Celia Williams

October 07, 2006

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

Australian sportclimbers Thomas Farrell and Sarah Matthews earned the prestigious title of Oceania champions during the tense final at BaseCamp Wanaka tonight.

New Zealand climbers Sefton Priestley and Zachary Orme came close behind Farrell in the men’s finals, while Hawke’s Bay’s Emma Hawke took third place in the women’s event.

Seven of each country’s top male and female climbers, selected to compete by their respective sportclimbing federations, used every ounce of their strength, flexibility, endurance and composure to get to the highest point on the technical climbing wall during the prestigious lead-climbing competition.

About 400 people turned out to watch the final, and the atmosphere was intense as the crowd cheered on competitors gripping every hold.

Farrell (17) climbed a few holds short of the top and displayed impressive form during the 15m-long climb which involved a long traverse through an over-hanging roof. Priestley and Orme finished a few holds behind Farrell but still put on a great show.

Matthews (31) beat the competition favourite and fellow team-mate Samantha Berry (29) in the women’s final. Berry has won the Oceania title for the last two years.

Matthews had a strong climb that finished about five holds before the final quick-draw on the over-hanging ceiling. Berry finished her climb one quick-draw behind Matthews.

The winners of the Oceania titles have gained automatic entry into next year’s world championships, held in Spain.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Emma Hawke won her fourth national sportclimbing title during the New Zealand National Championships today – despite almost being unable to compete after a shoulder injury during qualifying on Friday night.

Hawke (30) said she didn’t climb as well as she could have because of her injury, but she was still happy to keep her title as New Zealand’s highest-ranked female sportclimber.

Berry beat Hawke in the national Open finals, but was not eligible for the title because she is not a New Zealand resident.

Berry, who is ranked 19th in the world, said the climbs have been challenging: “It was quite technical – you had to think a lot. The wall is fantastic; it was really good for spectators because they are so close to the climbers.”

Orme, from Wellington, also became New Zealand’s Open sportclimbing champion today. Orme has been the national champion for his age group for the last four years, and was pleased with his win today. “I didn’t expect to get first, so I’m quite happy.”

Australia’s Thomas Farrell (17) also beat all the Kiwi males competing in today’s open final, but, like Berry, was unable to take the title.

The country to take home the Oceania Cup will be decided tomorrow. The finals for the youth A, B, C, D, juniors and masters categories will also take place, as well as the speed climbing finals.


Oceania finals – male:
1.Thomas Farrell (AUS)
2.Sefton Priestley (NZ)
3.Zachary Orme (NZ)

Oceania finals – female:
1.Sarah Matthews (AUS)
2.Samantha Berry (AUS)
3.Emma Hawke (NZ)

NZ Open finals – male:
1.Zachary Orme
2.Andrew Trotter
3.Ivan Luketina

NZ Open finals – female:
1.Emma Hawke
2.Helen Sinclair
3.Amy Holland

For further press information, please contact:
Celia Williams – the eveNZ consultancy
E: T: 03 443 2700

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