Pedal to the medal

LOCAL cyclists Natasha Mullany and Chelsea Oaten may look sweet, but when it comes to cycling they are a couple of speed demons.

On February 26 the girls teamed up for the Australian Junior Track Cycling Championships and took silver in the team sprint in their first year competing in the women’s under 17 

division.

Cambewarra’s Mullany and St Georges Basin’s Oaten, both 14, qualified for nationals after finishing in the top two positions respectively at the state championships earlier this year.

Despite being in their first year in the higher age group, the girls breezed through their first qualifiers at the Dunc Gray Veledrome to be ranked second, 0.4 of a second behind the strong Western Australian team.

“A girl in the Western Australian team, Tahlay Christie, had just broken the Australian record twice in the sprint and 500 metres, so we knew we just had to go as hard as we could in the final,” Mullany said. 

Oaten was first off the mark and produced a speedy ride to have NSW in the lead by 0.1 of a second.

But despite Mullany improving on her qualifying time, she found a tough competitor in Christie, who brought it back to win for Western Australia by 0.43 seconds.

Despite the loss the girls said they were happy with how they performed in the competitive division.

“After we qualified we knew we got a medal so we were just so excited,” Oaten said.

But for 2015 the girls have a gold medal and the record in their sights.

“Next year we will be the oldest in that division so we have a good chance. The record is 36.4 and we got 36.9,” Oaten added.

It was a successful nationals for the girls, with Mullany also picking up another silver for NSW in the team pursuit, and just falling shy of medals in the 500 metre time trial, sprints, keirin and points race.

Oaten was happy to win her first national medal, and also came close to another in the sprints.

The girls thanked their families, coach Wal Mullany, the Illawarra Academy of Sport, Cycling NSW, Specialised, Daisy Chains, their parents, and all the competitors at nationals.

Mullany and Oaten have been on a training break since nationals, but will get back on the bike next week to train for Mt Buffalo Hill Climb in March.

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