Home' The Wellingtonian : April 19th 2012 Contents 19
THE WELLINGTONIAN, APRIL 19, 2012
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Fun Sticks is an exciting new hockey
programme designed for children
aged 5 - 6 years who are 'new
players' or relatively new to the
game of hockey
Lots of hands on activities and games
Sticks and balls are provided
Starts Saturday 5 May
Played at Newtown, Porirua, Lower
Hutt, Upper Hutt and Kapiti
To learn more or to register, please go to the
'Play Hockey' menu on the Wellington Hockey
The winners of The Wellingtonian's netball
ticket giveaways are Michele McLeod from
Lyall Bay, Shauna McGuinn from Churton
Park, and Nathaniel Hinde from Ngaio.
They correctly identified the Southern
Steel as the team Robyn Broughton coached
last year in the ANZ championship.
They have won tickets to the Central Pulse
v Canterbury Tactix game on April 21 at the
Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.
The Pulse, having beaten the Steel this
season, suffered a heavy loss to the
Thunderbirds last weekend and will be look-
ing to bounce back from that.
The Tactix, now guided by coach Leigh
Gibbs, were unlucky to be pipped by two
goals by the Steel last weekend.
Why we love the triathlon
Eyes on London: Leading New Zealand
triathlon hope Andrea Hewitt. Photo: FAIRFAX
The first time I heard of the
triathlon, or anything like it, was
in 1976, when I covered the New
Zealand biathlon championship'' at
Oriental Bay, Wellington.
Organiser Chester Bishop said the
event called for a rugged combination of
terrestrial and aquatic skill''. It com-
prised a three-mile cross-country run fol-
lowed by a half-mile swim in Wellington
He billed his race as a New Zealand
championship because it was, he said, the
only one of its kind in the country.
The winner, Worser Bay surf lifesaver
Barry Andrews, finished in just over 28
minutes. There were 91 entrants, 78 of
whom completed the race. Our paper, The
Evening Post, treated the whole thing as
Bishop, who I recall was American,
said multi-discipline races were catching
on in the United States and that New
Zealanders would soon embrace them.
At the time, he seemed a bit weird. In
hindsight, he looks like a visionary.
The race I covered was the second such
biathlon championship. The first, in
1975, was won by national water polo rep
Ross Patterson, who then travelled to the
United States and won what was touted
as the world championship.
There was no internet back then, or I'd
have learned from Google that the
French had been running triathlons --
les trois sports'' -- since the early 1900s,
and that the first American triathlon was
held in San Diego in 1974.
Once the Hawaiian ironman started in
1978, the whole thing really took off and
today the triathlon -- and off-shoots such
as the duathlon -- is a major world sport.
We're particularly interested in New
Zealand because the event suits our cli-
mate and geography and we have pro-
duced a succession of triathlon greats.
Topping the list is Erin Baker, who was
so outstanding she led the world over
sprint, Olympic and long-distance and
also won two Hawaiian Ironman events.
The closest to her among the men is
Hamish Carter, who was three times a
world championship medallist, won the
World Cup in 1998, and won an Olympic
gold medal and Commonwealth Games
Rick Wells, Jenny Rose, Cameron
Brown, Paul Amey, Craig Watson, Sarah
Harrow, Evelyn Williamson, Sam War-
riner, Bevan Docherty and Andrea
Hewitt have all shone at triathlon world
championships. Matt Brick and Baker
also won world duathlon titles.
The triathlon provided New Zealand
sport with one of its greatest days, when
Carter and Docherty disputed the gold
medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Watching the big triathlon race in Syd-
ney over the weekend, the first of this
year's world championship circuit,
emphasised again how global the sport
All eyes are on the London Olympics at
the end of July.
New Zealanders will be heartened that
Hewitt, who has won three world cham-
pionship medals, raced so well in Sydney,
finishing a strong third.
On the men's side, Kris Gemmell
battled into seventh place to secure his
selection for London.
He was desperately unlucky at the
2008 Beijing Olympics. A fortnight before
the games a cut to his foot required 21
stitches and scuttled his chances.
Docherty, who has two Olympic
medals, world championship gold and sil-
ver, and a Commonwealth Games silver
in his impressive CV, was 12th in Sydney
and all but confirmed his selection for
The triathlon is a tremendous sports
spectacle. What will make it that much
more exciting in London is that several
New Zealanders are genuine medal con-
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