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Golden one

0.01 of a second.

That minuscule number was the difference between gold and silver in one of the races of the waka ama sprint nationals on Lake Karapiro yesterday.

On the winning side of that number was Horouta Waka Hoe’ junior 16 women’s paddler Te Aomihia Pewhairangi, who hit the finish line simultaneously with Hei Matau club member Khobi Paretoa in an enthralling day of W1 action.

Neither knew who had won. The wait was soon over. Tokomaru Bay teenager Pewhairangi clocked 2 minutes 45.11 seconds for the 500 metres; Paretoa 2.45.12.

And not too far behind was Horouta’s Kelsey Teneti in 2.47.56.

On a day of highlights as paddlers represented both club and region — Te Uranga o te Ra in Gisborne athletes’ case — W1 500 metres champions from intermediate age group through to master 70 were crowned.

Horouta and Mareikura paddlers were among the thick of the action.

Mareikura’s Jarrod Hill went one better than last year’s silver in the intermediate boys’ final. He quickly took control from lane 1 and left the field in his wake, crossing the finish line more than 7secs ahead of the silver medallist. Hill’s jubilation as he pointed to the sky showed how much this meant to him.

Pewhairangi’s golden performance followed and the very next final the powerfully built Anaru Paenga-Morgan completed a Horouta J16 double in the men’s final. He was nearly 3secs ahead of the runner-up.

The bright yellow singlet of Horouta shone again the next race as warm favourite Rangi-Riana Williams made it a Horouta hat-trick in the J19 women’s final.

In the absence of world champion and Horouta clubmate Gabby Wainohu, who is injured, defending champion Williams had a battle royal with Hei Matau’s Makayla Timoti.

Timoti led at the halfway stage but Williams powered home to win in 2.39.98 to Timoti’s 2.41.66.

Former Horouta paddler Darius Apanui-Nepe, now with the Waitakere club, was in a class of his own in the J19 men’s final. It was not a matter of whether he won but by how much — in this case by nearly 3½ secs.

Former surf lifesaving international Glenn Anderson collected his first W1 crown in his first year at masters level. He and clubmate Grant Donaldson completed a Horouta 1-2, Anderson winning in 2.22.95; Donaldson just behind him in 2.23.54.

Akayshia Williams fought hard but had to settle for silver in the premier women’s final in which Horouta claimed three of the top five placings.

World champion Marama Elkington, of Toa Waka Ama Club, got the jump on her former Mareikura clubmate and by the halfway stage was a waka length in front.

Defending champion Williams — the older sister of Rangi-Riana — fought back in the second half of the race but Elkington’s lead proved too great and she won in 2.34.11 to Williams’ 2.35.44.

Horouta’s Cory Campbell was third in 2.39.44 and Horouta and New Zealand elite women’s coach Kiwi Campbell continued to practice what she preaches in finishing fifth in 2.40.34.

The premier men’s final brought down the curtain on the day’s racing and Horouta featured again, with Ash Roozendaal placing third.

Up front, New Zealand-born Tahitian Manutea Millon dethroned Nga Hoe Horo club member Tupu King, Millon clocking 2.14.07 to King’s 2.16.12 and Donaldson’s 2.19.98.

Other Gisborne medallists were Brian Wilson (silver, master 70 men) and Horouta’s Keri Ngatoro (bronze, under-23 women))

Horouta Waka Hoe president Walton Walker was delighted with the performances.

By his calculations the club had passed 200 points for the champs, which in previous years was enough to clinch the top club title.

With two days of racing to go, Horouta and fellow Gisborne club Mareikura are set to add plenty more to their tallies.




Mareikura’s Jarrod Hill points to the heavens after winning the intermediate boys’ W1 500 metres final at the waka ama sprint nationals on Lake Karapiro yesterday. Day 4 of the nationals was dedicated to W1 racing and Gisborne clubs were in the thick of the action, particularly Horouta Waka Hoe. Pictures by Garrick Cameron
Horouta gold medallist Rangi-Riana Williams (junior 19 women).
Horouta gold medallist Glenn Anderson (master men).
Horouta gold medallist Anaru Paenga-Morgan (J16 men).
Horouta gold medallist Te Aomihia Pewhairangi, who won the J16 women’s title by 0.01 of a second.