It's too hot to handle

COURTNEY Hancock continued her improvement among the ranks of Australia's top Ironwomen despite finding the pace a little too hot in yesterday's final of the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Series at Coogee Beach.

The 20-year-old from Sawtell went into the final in second place in the series and with a reasonable chance of upstaging leader Naomi Flood.

And while she survived yesterday's elimination format to make it through to the decisive third race and beat Flood home, Hancock could do no better than finish fifth in the final. That meant she finished the series in fourth place, a huge improvement on previous years and an indication that she will be one of the athletes to beat in 2010.

However, the pressure of entering the final with a chance to win may have told as Hancock seemed to struggle from the board leg of the opening race.

As the field was cut from 18 competitors in the first race to 12 in the second and an elite six for the final round, Hancock narrowly escaped the chop on both occasions.

Her younger sister Bonnie led the field in the early stages of the opening race and eventually finished fifth but then found the going tougher in race two as the contest for the top six places heated up.

She was run out of the qualifying places for the last race and described the event as 'really tough' as she walked away for a much-needed rest.

The Hancock sisters now have their sights set on this weekend's Queensland championships before heading to Perth for the Australian championships on March 17-22.



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