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CHAMP1ONS - Tairawhiti trifectas at NZ champs

Horouta waka ama club's premier women paddlers stamped their class on the national sprint championships with a 1-2-3 finish in the W1 500 metres yesterday.

Akayshia Williams outsprinted her rivals in the final race of the day at Lake Karapiro yesterday to take the gold medal, ahead of a fast-finishing Cory Campbell, with Kiwi Campbell third.

Self Storage Gisborne Horouta Waka Hoe president Walton Walker said the trifecta was a rarity in that grade.

Williams finished 1.37 seconds ahead of the chasing pack but the next four finishers — headed by the Campbells — were separated by 0.74 of a second.

Kiwi Campbell, a coach for Horouta, has also been appointed coach for the New Zealand elite women and junior-19 women for the 2020 world sprints in Hawaii.

She showed she didn't shy away from working hard on the water.

Walker said it was a fine performance from the Horouta women.

Some of the club's key personnel had faced challenges in the lead-up to the championships, such as whanau health issues, he said.

“I'm proud of the way we've pulled together and kept focus.”

The 2020 Te Wananga o Aotearoa National Sprint Championships had a day of solo racing yesterday, ahead of the senior team races from today.

Horouta premier women's crew Kaiarahi Toa, who include the three medallists from the individual event, had a comfortable win in their W6 500m heat this morning.

The Tairawhiti region had another 1-2-3 finish yesterday, with the Mareikura Waka Ama Club to the fore.

Mareikura paddler Hunter Hewson was first in the J16 men's W1 500m, Mairangi Campbell from Horouta — Kiwi's son — was second and Mareikura's Jarrod Hill third.

Overall, Horouta are well ahead of other clubs in the medal count and will almost certainly retain the trophy for best club.

As of yesterday, Mareikura were fourth on the table.

Horouta paddler Darius Apanui-Nepe claimed gold in the under-23 men's W1 500m final.

Horouta and Mareikura paddlers were there or thereabouts in the J16 women.

Te Aomihia Pewhairangi (Horouta) was second in the W1 500m final, Aoatea Gardner (Mareikura) fourth and Hinewaipounamu Rangihuna-Winikerei (Horouta) fifth.

The competition was intense at the J19 level, with some well-performed paddlers from the J16 class last year stepping up to the next age group.

Gaibreill Wainohu (Horouta), a world champion at J16 level in 2018, came third in the J19 W1 women's 500m at Karapiro and Rangi-Riana Williams (Horouta), another paddler who excelled at the worlds in Tahiti, was fifth.

Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club had their own 1-2-3 finish in the J19 men's W1 500m — Kacey Ngataki, Jezius Peyroux and Jake Suitauloa — followed by Anaru Paenga-Morgan, from Horouta, in fourth.

Mareikura golden masters paddler Denise Tapp claimed a silver medal in the women's W1 500m.

Horouta paddler Grant Donaldson was third in the masters men's W1 500m final.

In the u23 women's W1 500m, Jessica Terekia (Horouta) was third and Keri Ngatoro (Horouta) fourth.

Horouta paddlers just missed out on medals in the intermediate boys' and girls' W1 500m finals.

Maia Campbell — Kiwi's son — was fourth in the boys' race.

For the girls, Kaiarahi Brooking-Haapu was fourth and Bobbi-Atawhai Crawford fifth.

VICTORY CRY: Akayshia Williams celebrates her win in the final of the premier women's W1 500 metres at the Aotearoa waka ama sprint championships on Lake Karapiro yesterday. Williams led a Horouta Waka Hoe Club trifecta. Picture by Garrick Cameron
Mareikura club member Hunter Hewson after winning the junior 16 men's final. Picture by Garrick Cameron