The Key family: a remarkable World Championship family

Posted on | July 10, 2017 | Category: Arena, News

Last week, mother Natasha Key fought amongst the very best seniors in the world. This week, son Aston will fight for the best performance so far in his career. He obviously has a lot of good genes.

Aston has grown up in orienteering arenas. The Aussie just had to do so, but he didn’t feel that orienteering was such a wonderful activity. “I don’t really know why, but I didn’t like it so much,” he smiles.

At O-Ringen in Sweden as a young teenager, everything changed when he saw Thierry Gueorgiou showing his joy up on a hill whilst running into an overall victory. “After that, Thierry was writing autographs for hours,” father Warren Key tells.

– You also got one, Aston?

“We had to go and catch the plane,” he smiles. No autograph, but he was hooked.

The special Mum

20 years ago Natasha Key was among the world’s best, especially in sprint. At WOC in 2003 she finished tenth. “After WOC in 2005 I got a rest for ten years,” the 45-year-old smiles. Rest for the Key family from Melbourne is probably not what rest is for other people. She was, of course, still training. And she has really been back in business in recent years. For three years, a talented junior from Europe has lived with the Warren family for several months, every year.

“I have been joined for some training,” Natasha smiles. “I have got keener, and again got better speed.” Last year the Aussie was 19th in the WOC Sprint in Sweden in her first WOC since 2005. This year the results were not so good. Her navigation in Estonia was first perfect at the Relay.

– How is you level now?

“In ten kilometres of flat running I think I will use about 39 minutes now. Earlier I did it in 36. My orienteering is much better. Earlier I made so many mistakes,” she laughs. Her first WOC start was in 1995; this year’s WOC was her ninth.

The genes of sprint

Aston is 17 and a first year junior, but he also took part in JWOC last year. Last summer he also took part at EYOC, and was the fastest sprinter of all in his class, but an Aussie can’t officially win EYOC  – that’s for the Europeans. Anyway he showed an impressive level and he hopes to do well in the Sprint at JWOC in Finland this week.

There was also hope for the Middle final and he had more than enough speed, but he punched at the wrong seventh control. “I was sure I was at the right place and didn’t check the number. My control was just 30 metres behind the one I punched at.”

The young Aussie has really got some inspiration. He will work to become better and better, and mother and son inspire each other. “It’s awesome that we are taking part at WOC’s in the same year!”

Father’s compass

Aston is doing the championships with a compass invented by his father Warren Key. “Thierry Gueorgiou is also running with this compass, the Str8,” Warren tells.

The father also did very well in his active career. He took part when WOC was in Tampere in Finland in 1979. In 2001 he was Team Leader for Australia, and Natasha was taking part. This week Aston takes part when a world championship is again in this part of Finland.

What a family in the orienteering world!

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