Sawtell girls strike gold
By DAVID MOASE
APPROACHING the beach in the final of the under-13 board race at the NSW Age Surf Life Saving Championships at Cronulla on Sunday, Sawtell's Indhia Hancock and Lillian Dellar looked as if they had the race between them.
Then, all of a sudden, they both stepped into a deep hole and that all changed.
With the field closing fast, the pair looked as if they may miss the medals completely.
It was the taller Hancock who was able to get to her feet first and race away to the finish to claim a hard-earned gold medal.
Dellar, who had gone stroke for stroke with her clubmate throughout the race, had a tougher time getting to the line but showed loads of determination to finish in third place.
After a tense wait while officials decided if a re-run was needed because a whistle was heard just after the starter's gun fired, the placings were confirmed, much to Hancock's relief.
"It was a great race with Lillian but when we stepped in the hole I thought we might get caught," she said.
"It's a real thrill to win this race, especially after we won the board rescue on Friday."
Hancock and Dellar dominated the board race final from the start, with Hancock leading the way and her clubmate just behind.
On the way back to the beach they both caught a wave that carried them away from their rivals and were headed for what would have been an historic 1-2 finish until they struck trouble with the finish in sight.
The pair had issued a warning to their rivals on Friday when they won the under-13 board rescue event ahead of teams from Copacabana and Cooks Hill.
In a strong performance from the small contingent of North Coast branch clubs, Coffs Harbour's Zoe Burgess won a silver medal in the under-9 board race, while Jedd Mitchell of Bellinger Valley-North Beach won bronze in the under-8 wade race.
It will be the turn of the older surf lifesavers later this week when the NSW Masters Championships and the NRMA Insurance NSW Open Championships are held at the Sutherland Shire's beaches from Thursday.