Original media report from SSA News
Bellingham, Wright and Paul prevail at Perisher Cross Country Championships
Phillip Bellingham kept his undefeated season record intact after he won both races at the Perisher instalment of the 2019 Australian Cross Country Championships.
It was a case of history repeating itself in the women’s races as Katerina Paul and Casey Wright replicated their fierce Falls Creek battle and each walked away with a race victory.
Despite sunny skies, conditions were not ideal for racing as a combination of fresh snow and sunshine made it soft and slow for the competitors.
“The conditions were so warm and soft, the heat was draining,” Paul said.
Two-time Olympian Bellingham snagged a close fought victory in the men’s sprint.
“In the final I started hard and got into a good position in second,” Bellingham said.
“I skied behind Lauro (Braendli) for the first three quarters of the race trying to be in his draft and relax. I waited for the final hill to give my last sprint towards the line. I wasn’t feeling super strong but in the end I was able to get around him easily enough and finish with a lead of about 10 metres. I was pretty happy with that.”
“Seve DeCampo was the biggest competition for me this weekend.
“He made me work really hard for it, pushing me the whole way,” he said.
In the women’s sprint, Katerina Paul was also pushed to the limits and won in a lunge to the line against Olympian Casey Wright with Ella Jackson finishing third.
“Only about a toe length decided who the winner was,” Paul said.
“Casey and Ella are such good skate sprinters and are very strong competitors.
“I’ve never seen a women’s field with such good quality and it was really inspiring in this last final because my friends were up there and everyone was just really going for it. It was awesome to see,” she said.
Wright was able to overcome Paul in the 5 kilometre classic, setting up a great finish to the 2019 Continental Cup as both athletes carry 360 points into the next event, this Saturday’s Kangaroo Hoppet.