Bianka Dexter and Braydon Batt practise sprinting for the flags.
Bianka Dexter and Braydon Batt practise sprinting for the flags. Mike Knott

Bundy assault on lifesaving titles

Surf lifesaving: BEACH speedsters will lead the charge for Bundaberg when they take on Queensland’s best at the surf lifesaving state championships this weekend.

While the Bundaberg, Elliott Heads and Moore Park surf clubs are sending a combined team of almost 40 competitors to the championships, at Kurrawa on the Gold Coast, it is the beach sprinters and flags specialists who are expected to be in with the best chances of winning a medal.

Among them are up-and-coming Elliott Heads talents Braydon Batt and Bianka Dexter, who will line up for glory in the under-15 sprints and flags contests.

For Dexter, who is still an under-14 but will be competing up an age group, the championships are a big ask, but coach of more than two years Steve Hansen reckons she might surprise a few people.

“She was beaten in a photo finish in the sprint the other week at the Fastest Man on Sand competition,” he said. “With the way she’s going at the moment, she should definitely make the finals and there’s no reason why she can’t place.”

Hansen said Dexter was also a tough competitor, even at her tender age.

“She broke her arm during the flags at the north Australian championships in December, went to hospital and came back to win the sprint,” he said. “I think she’s going to be a huge star.”

Hansen also coaches Batt and fellow Moore Park speedster Chris Powell, who is the defending under-15 flags stage champion.

Like Dexter, Powell competed last year while still an under-14, so he will get the rare chance to defend the same age-group title.

Batt is also coming off a third in the sprint at the Fastest Man on Sand event and has confidence on his side running into the titles.

“Braydon’s peaking at just the right time,” Hansen said. “His last run was probably the best he’s had all season, so he’ll do well this weekend.”

Also expected to be in the mix are Riley McGregor (Bundaberg), in the under-19 and open ironman board, ski and surf races; Ben Sheppard (Bundaberg) in the under-19 belt race; Katherine Lawn (Moore Park) in the under-17 beach sprints and flags; and Bundaberg’s reserve grade surf boat team (Paul Wessel, Kurt Wessel, Ryan McGregor, Nathan Jensen and Martin Krehlik).

And not to be outdone, masters competitors Scott Collins and Cameron Duffy (Bundaberg, 35-39 years) will be a force to be reckoned with in the men’s double ski, as will Jeff Williamson (Bundaberg, 55-59 years) in the single ski and Craig Holden (Elliott Heads, 35-39 years) in the ironman, board and single ski.

Masters will compete tomorrow, and juniors and opens on Saturday and Sunday.



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