SASI's young stars fly flag at Oceanias

SASI's cycling team gained plenty of valuable experience and tough competition at the recent Oceania Track Championships in Invercargill, New Zealand, with Katarina Chung-Orr and Angus Miller winning the team's gold medal

Katarina Chung-Orr

SASI's young cycling team stood tall under intense pressure to perform strongly at the recent Oceania Track Championships in New Zealand.

Competing in junior men and women's categories, in among the elite men and women programs, SASI riders enjoyed some strong results.

Katarina Chung-Orr won a gold medal with a stunning effort in the junior women's points race.

She also produced eye catching results with silver in the women's 2000m Individual Pursuit and silver in the junior Madison. All up she snared three silver medals and a bronze to back up her gold.

Angus Miller won SASI’s other gold medal in a composite Australia Team pursuit team.

Other members on the SASI team including Ella Sibley, Jaden Rollison, Declan Key, Tia Slama and Leigh Hoffman, who did not win a medal but who produced a stunning standing first lap of the team sprint, had strong results.

SASI Cycling Head Coach Brett Aitken said the experience in New Zealand should hold the SA squad in good stead.

"The Kiwis have outstanding junior talent and more junior world champions than many other countries,'' Aitken said.

"It was never going to be easy and it certainly was stiff opposition.

"But we won plenty of medals and had some very good results.

"Katarina and Angus were our gold medallists and hopefully they can put their hand up for junior world championships next year. They were both very solid.

"Even Leigh Hoffman, who didn't win a medal, produced 17.3 for a lap (first lap) which is getting close to world standard.''

SASI graduates also stood tall with Steph Morton showing her class after recovering from knee surgery earlier this year with two gold medals in team sprint and sprint.

Alex Manly teamed with Amy Cure to snare the Madison, while Maeve Plouffe, also recovering from wrist surgery in recent months produced stunning results with a gold in the Scratch, silver in the Individual Pursuit and bronze in the Points Race.

Morton was thrilled with her results.

"Off the back of knee surgery backing up is pretty tough so I just wanted to go out there and get the set up right and then whatever happened at the end happened, so to get the wins I'm really happy,'' Morton said.

Manly's success with Cure produced a superb effort in the elite women's 30km event to easily win gold.

The other big result from a SASI athlete was from Plouffe, a member of Australia's Podium Potential team who also had a tough few months after recovering from a wrist injury in July this year.

"In last year's Oceania's IP I rode a 3:39. This year, after breaking my wrist in late July,  and racing a TP, omnium and scratch race beforehand I rode eight seconds faster in a 3:31.

"This progress is beyond me and I honestly believe it's just the beginning. Moral of the story: things don't always go to plan but it's your mindset which determines how you pick yourself up in adversity.''

The Oceania’s should be a handy tune up for the UCI Track World Cup which will be held in Brisbane between December 13 and 15.

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