Athlete follows Adams’ footsteps
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.
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.