There is more to orienteering than just reading a map – just ask New Zealand’s national champ Kayla Fairbairn.
The St Cuthbert’s College student won both the Senior Long Distance event and the Senior Sprint Event at the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Orienteering Championships in Hawkes Bay over the school holidays.
She had to combine speed, endurance and perfect navigational skills to come away with the national title – beating her closest competitor by 2 seconds.
Kayla is only Year 11 and should have been competing in the intermediate division, but chose to compete in the senior level to be able to qualify for the New Zealand Team.
This latest win rounds out a successful orienteering season for Kayla, who has consistently placed in the top three since she started the sport in Year 9.
In her very first year she won the Junior national title. In 2012 she placed 2nd in New Zealand, 1st in the Auckland competition and was part of the Junior national team. Earlier this year Kayla came 2nd in the Auckland Champs and 3rd in the North Island event.
She loves orienteering because it’s a way to “push yourself physically and mentally” and enjoys competing in different places around the country.
After competing in the Trans-Tasman event in Canberra, Kayla has her sights set on being selected for the Junior World Champs in Bulgaria in 2015.