Kiwi Watkinson Claims Cairns Airport Ironman Cairns Asia-pacific Championship Title


Max Neumann and Amelia Watkinson (New Zealand) have
claimed their maiden IRONMAN victories at the Cairns Airport
IRONMAN Cairns Asia-Pacific Championship, with Neumann
winning on his IRONMAN debut and Watkinson in just her
second race.

Neumann finished just
under three minutes ahead of Tim Van Berkel who pushed hard
throughout the final stages of the run to close the gap with
2017 IRONMAN Cairns champion Josh Amberger coming home in

“It feels special of course, I spent five
months preparing for this one race, I didn’t come here to
come fifth,” said Neumann. “I felt pretty good all day,
except for a couple of patches on the bike when I ran out of
water and I felt my mouth start to go dry. As soon as I got
some more water on board I felt better. You’ve just got to
get used to this type of racing, it’s a completely
different ballgame. You don’t really go that hard, it’s
more like an aerobic pace and I think my body likes that and
hopefully I have a good future in this kind of

“I knew Amberger would swim really well and
I was happy that I had a good swim. Amberger went out ahead
on the bike at about 100km and we had no idea what his time
gap was,” he said. “I didn’t really push the bike too
hard, just sat in as I had no idea about this type of
racing. I felt pretty good at about 170km, tested my legs a
little bit, but I came back to the group and sat in and
jumped off the bike and felt incredible. I actually felt
unreal that whole run.”

Neumann was towards the
front of the pack all day, finishing the swim leg just a
second behind Amberger, with the gap then opening up to a
minute and a half by the end of the 180km ride. Amberger led
the way through the first half of the run, before Neumann
made his move and pushed on towards victory. Van Berkel
spent the majority of the run leg in third, making his way
past Amberger with around 10km left to go.

Watkinson continued the theme of first-time winners, with
the New Zealander claiming victory in just her second
IRONMAN event after finishing fourth at IRONMAN Frankfurt
last year.

Watkinson crossed the line in Cairns less
than a minute and a half ahead of Queensland’s Sarah
Crowley, with Renee Kiley coming home in third.

wasn’t expecting that to be honest,” said Watkinson.
“Our coach sent out a bulk email and explained to us that
there were three or four races going on today, everyone had
their own little races that they were targeting and within
that it implicated all of the others.

“To be honest
I actually spent the day moving as fast as I was because
Renee was chasing, my incentive wasn’t to catch Sarah that
was just a result of not letting Renee catch me. It’s
really, really cool how we can push each other that hard and
that’s what we come out here for,” she said. “I guess
I just qualified for Kona. This has always been a goal of
mine, I have a poster of a family friend up on my wall since
I started the sport. I kind of secretly didn’t think I’d
go but it’s always been on the bucket list, I guess I’m
almost there now and I’ve got a year to do some really
good prep.”

Watkinson, who won IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine
Coast just two weeks ago, was first back onto the beach at
Palm Cove, ahead of Crowley and Kiley, with the three then
swapping positions a number of times throughout the 180km

Crowley pushed ahead in the second half of the
bike leg, opening up an almost five minute lead, but that
was then wiped out as she had to serve a five minute penalty
before she could enter transition for drafting in the first
7km of the ride.

Watkinson led onto the run course,
with Crowley retaking the lead within the first kilometre.
From there Crowley opened up a two and a half minute gap by
the 20km mark, before Watkinson began eating into that, then
moving into first place in the closing stages of the



  1. Max Neumann, AUS, 8:13:09
  2. Tim Van
    Berkel, AUS, 8:15:58
  3. Josh Amberger, AUS,
  4. Tim Reed, AUS, 8:31:41
  5. Scott Bayvel,
    RSA, 8:32:34
  6. Simon Hearn, AUS,
  7. Alexander Polizzi, AUS,
  8. Brodie Gardner, AUS, 9:01:37
  9. Damien
    Collins, AUS, 9:12:43


  1. Amelia Watkinson, NZL,
  2. Sarah Crowley, AUS, 9:22:04
  3. Renee
    Kiley, AUS, 9:23:57
  4. Kylie Simpson, AUS,
  5. Meredith Hill, AUS, 9:36:07
  6. Beth
    McKenzie, USA, 9:46:49

The Cairns Airport
IRONMAN Cairns Asia Pacific Championship is supported by the
Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland
and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events

For more information on the Cairns Airport
IRONMAN Cairns Asia Pacific Championship visit

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