Team Oceania took the tape at the Olympic Esports Week duathlon event in Singapore on Sunday, where the Arena Games made its Exhibition Event debut in duathlon format.
Twenty athletes and five teams competed in the relay event, each completing a 750m run, 6km bike and another 750m run, where the times from the first three legs dictated the pursuit start times of the final leg.
Team Oceania, made up of Australia’s Jack Latham and Hannah Pollock, and New Zealand’s Coen Anderson and Lucy Evans, were able to build up what proved to be an unassailable lead as they head home with gold, while Europe took silver and North America the bronze.
“That was very, very hard,” admitted Latham.
“I loved every single second of it even though the pain was excruciating, I just needed to push through and dig deep mentally, so fun to be on the world stage here in Singapore and I’m so glad to get the win here with all the guys.”
Latham got Oceania off to a flying start on the opening run and despite struggling to get into his shoes on the bike, he stretched the lead up to 10 seconds over Lorenzo Pelliciardi in second, Team Asia in third 25 seconds back.
A brilliant transition from Pelliciardi saw him briefly back in check with the leader before Latham opened things up again and put in a full 25 seconds into the Italian to put Team Oceania into a great position after the first round.
Lucy Evans took up the task for Oceania, but it was Ruth Pardy for USA onto the watts quickest and pushing the bike segment hard. Ziging Lu was chasing hard in second for Team Asia but the gap was over 20 seconds to her and Evans heading onto the last 750m run.
Marton Kropko was looking to get Team Europe right back into the mix in the third leg but he couldn’t shake off Oceania’s Coen Anderson, Mexico’s Darell Zuniga chasing hard in third. The Hungarian finally found daylight out front and by the end of the final run had taken 10 seconds out of Oceania’s advantage heading to the pursuit start finale.
Oceania had a 26-second advantage into the final round over Europe, North America just over a minute, Asia 1 and Asia 2 adrift by 3minutes and 5 minutes respectively.
Hannah Pollack was able to increase that advantage over the opening run segment and Margherita Voliani could do nothing to get Europe back into contention, Maria Faraudo in third for North America and that was how it stayed, Pollack seeing Team Oceania home for the first ever Esports gold medals, Europe in second and North America third.