Ath­lete fol­lows Adams’ foot­steps

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT - By JU­LIAN RAETHEL

Ivanja Po’uhila des­tined put­ter.

At just 11 she landed a Pt Che­va­lier club age record with a throw of 8.9m with a 2.75kg shot put.

Four years have passed and Ivanja has achieved the un­think­able.

At just 15 the Avon­dale res­i­dent claimed bronze at the 2014 New Zealand Track and Field Cham­pi­onships from March 28 to 30, shar­ing the podium with win­ner Va­lerie Adams and fel­low Waitakere club­mate Te Rina Keenan.

It was Ivanja’s first adult com­pe­ti­tion and she had very lit­tle prac­tice with the 4kg shot put. She threw 13.41m, with Adams tak­ing the hon­ours at 20.46m.

‘‘I was so star-struck,’’

Gut­ten­beil­was al­ways to be a shot Ivanja says. ‘‘I thought I was quite tall – then I saw Va­lerie.

‘‘She ac­tu­ally told me to fo­cus and stop talk­ing so much, be­cause I do that when I’m ner­vous.’’

Ivanja is in good com­pany, be­ing trained by her fa­ther, Peter, and aunt Ana Po’uhi­laKisina. Ana lives in New Lynn and rep­re­sented Tonga in shot put.

She has been to three Olympics and five IAAF World Cham­pi­onships.

‘‘I didn’t start un­til I was a lot older and Ivanja has the nat­u­ral Ton­gan power,’’ Ana says. ‘‘It will take 10 years but I think she will be able to beat Va­lerie’s throws.’’

Ivanja is also part of the John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams Foun­da­tion, which brings young ath­letes to­gether.

Be­tween Ana and Peter, Ivanja has a solid plat­form to work from.

Peter says there are a few fam­ily feuds at train­ing.

‘‘I can usu­ally tell how train­ing went when they get home,’’ mother Yvette says.

‘‘Peter goes one way and Ivanja goes the other.’’

Top throw­ers, left: Auck­land Gram­mar School’s ul­ti­mate fris­bee team took out the in­au­gu­ral national sec­ondary school champs held in Taupo. Un­beat­able team, left: The Lyn­field Col­lege ju­nior wa­ter­polo team took part in a one day tour­na­ment re­main­ing un­beaten through­out. This is the first time the team has played to­gether in a com­pe­ti­tion.

Photo: JU­LIAN RAETHEL

Throw down: Shot put­ter Ivanja Gut­ten­beil-Po’uhila, cen­tre, with aunt Ana Po’uhila-Kisina and fa­ther Peter Po’uhila.

Go to auck­land­c­ity har­bournews.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a video of Ivanja shot putting.

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