Home' The Wellingtonian : March 15th 2012 Contents 23
THE WELLINGTONIAN, MARCH 15, 2012
Help Yourself to
Taoist Tai Chi Society of New Zealand
(an incorporated non-profit organisation)
Taoist Tai ChiTM internal arts
of health can help with a wide
variety of health conditions.
New Beginners Class
Mondays 7 -- 8:30pm
Starting 26th March
In our Clubrooms at
The Home of Compassion
2 Rhine St. Island Bay
Phone (04) 383 9094 for more information
to be golden oldie
Table tennis player Li
Chunli, now 50, wants to
represent New Zealand at
the London Olympics in July. I
hope she makes it.
Li competed at four Olympics,
from 1996 to 2004, then retired
and has been a coach at the last
two Commonwealth Games.
But she's always been highly
competitive and has challenged
herself to get to another
Olympics as a player.
Li secured an Olympic
women's table tennis qualifying
spot at the Oceania champion-
ships in Sydney this month.
However, her selection is not
assured. The New Zealand
Olympic Committee must be sat-
isfied she can achieve a top 16
That seems doubtful. At
Athens in 2004, she finished
ninth equal in doubles and 17th
equal in singles.
I have a soft spot for Li,
though. She was brilliant at the
2002 Manchester Common-
wealth Games, winning gold in
the singles, silver in the doubles
and bronze in the mixed, and
almost single-handedly dragged
New Zealand to a team bronze
Her fierce competitiveness
and fighting ability were inspir-
ing. It is difficult to think of any-
one who was so obviously
honoured to represent New Zea-
land, yet she was born in China.
If Li is able to jump through
the various Olympic qualifying
hoops, our Olympic selectors
should acknowledge her stand-
ing in the game here by sending
her to London.
(The same applies to tennis
player Marina Erakovic who,
though not ranked in the world's
top 16, should certainly be
chosen for the Olympics. Her
world ranking is 45th, and she
would represent New Zealand
with honour in London.)
If Li gets to London, she would
be one of New Zealand's oldest
ever competitors and our oldest
ever female representative.
The honour of being New
Zealand's oldest Olympian
belongs to yachtie Edgar Swin-
nerton, who was 56 years, 335
days at Melbourne in 1956,
when he finished 11th in the
Dragon class yachting.
If three-day eventer Mark
Todd is chosen for London (and
he did win Badminton last year,
after all) he would also be 56.
Andrew Nicholson, another
equestrian competitor, would
turn 51 during the Olympics.
Yachtie Hugh Poole, living in
Lower Hutt and still hale and
hearty when I last saw him, was
51 when he competed in the
Soling class at Montreal in 1976.
Amazingly, he had already twice
been a team official, which is the
reverse order to the way things
are usually done.
Lorne de Pape, a curling rep-
resentative, was 51 at the 2006
Turin winter Olympics.
Shooter Ian Ballinger, a
bronze medallist at Mexico City
in 1968, was 50 when he com-
peted in 1976, and would have
been an Olympian at 54, but for
the American-led boycott of the
1980 Moscow Olympics.
There was news last week
that Hiroshi Hoketsu, 71, is to
represent Japan in the dressage
in London. He first competed at
the Olympics in 1964.
Amazingly, there have been
even older Olympians.
Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn
is usually cited as the oldest. He
was 72 when he won a silver
medal at Antwerp in 1920, his
sixth Olympic medal.
To be strictly correct, Britain's
John Copley is the oldest ever
Olympic medallist. He was 73
when he won the silver medal in
the 1948 London Olympics
engravings and etchings compe-
Trophies come to Wgtn
The Great Rugby Road Trip is
headed for Wellington this weekend.
Rugby fans have the chance to see
the Webb Ellis Cup and other
trophies, including the Bledisloe Cup
and the Hillary Shield.
There will be fun activities for the
kids, and some Hurricanes players
will be there.
The road trip will be at Waitangi
Park on Saturday, March 17, from
2pm till 6pm.
The Hurricanes have their first
Super home match of the season on
Saturday. They take on the
Highlanders, who have won all three
of their games this season.
The Hurricanes have begun their
season with three away games, win-
ning two of them, against the Lions
in South Africa and Western force in
Perth last week.
This Saturday's match is at West-
pac Stadium, 7.35pm kickoff.
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