Tears as event cut short
by Murray Robertson
There was disappointment and some tears for Gisborne junior athletes yesterday when after three days of
tough competition in sizeable surf, they were denied a chance to race in finals due to Covid-19.
The change back to Alert Level 3 for Auckland and Level 2 for the rest of the country from 6am Sunday meant the final day of the Oceans 21 event at Mount Maunganui was cancelled.
Many of the 40-plus Gisborne youngsters, aged 11-14, had made finals in the board, diamond and surf races.
Dawson Building Midway junior coach Jared Phelps said there were some very disappointed youngsters in his crew.
“They had done the hard yards and then had no opportunity to race in the finals, where we certainly had a few medal chances.”
In Saturday racing, Midway’s Lilla Hain added a bronze to the gold she won in the under 11 beach sprint.
“Unfortunately she suffered a broken wrist winning it, and that cost her a shot at another gold.”
Midway’s U14 board relay team of Ella Sutton, Emily Petro and Jacqueline Kennedy won bronze, and their U12 girls and U14 boys board teams were fourth in their finals.
“The decision to cancel the final day was a hard decision for Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, but given the Level 2 gathering limit of 100 they had no choice,” Phelps said.
Riversun Wainui head coach Dion Williams said there were tears amongst his group.
“The kids were absolutely gutted, some were in tears and we had medal chances too on finals day.
“But on a positive note the kids had an excellent time across the three days of competition we got.
“It was really good to see how all three Gisborne clubs supported each other, and congratulations to Midway and Waikanae on their results.
“The carnival didn’t go Wainui’s way medals-wise, but the kids were super competitive.”
Kaiaponi Farms Waikanae manager Clara Wilson said her club was stoked with how their team performed.
“Chloe Kapene raced superbly to win her u14 run-swim-run and sprint events, and earned a place in the board and diamond finals.
“The cancellation was especially gutting for Chloe as this is her final year as a junior, and she was looking really good for other podium finishes.
“Jerome Tamatea and Georgie Beaufoy were also denied the chance to compete in their board finals after racing really well in very challenging surf.”
Michelle Mitchell, team coach for the event, was really proud of the Waikanae youngsters and the skills they showed.