A year of our sporting successes
The Che Baker has put together a list of our sporting highlights for 2014.
A- AFL: Queenstown became the training backdrop for Australian Football League’s St Kilda Saints team in december with the club making the most of the gruelling training opportunities the resort’s mountains and waterways offer. - Boxing nationals: The New Zealand National Boxing Championships made its Queenstown debut Queenstown in October. Boxing legend David Tua watched on as the country’s top boxers battled in the ring. Queenstown boxers Richie Hadlow and Callum Owen both won national titles at the championships.
BC- Corey Peters did New Zealand proud winning a silver medal at Paralympics in the giant slalom. Peters was awarded the Snow Sports New Zealand’s supreme athlete’s award for 2014.
D- Dana Johannsen: New Zealand Herald chief sports reporter Dana Johannsen caused an uproar in the skiing world after dissing the New Zealand Winter Olympics team in a newspaper column. Johannsen said watching the team compete was more like watching a ‘‘bunch of Kiwis on an expensive skiing holiday’’. She did not make many friends from Queenstown or Wanaka with the remarks.
- Erin Greene: Queenstown endurance mountain biker Erin Greene made her mark on the international stage this year, placing third in the Elite World 24 Hour Championships held in Scotland in October.
- Fynn Thompson: Queenstown triathlete Fynn Thompson was selected to race at the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada for New Zealand’s elite under-19 squad after a year of strong results. He spent part of of May in Cambridge training with
EFthe Tri NZ National Talent Squad.
- Commonwealth Games: Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago athletes were well represented at the Commonwealth Games this year. Cromwell cyclist Tom Scully won a gold medal in the 40km points race. Wanaka-based triathletes Tony Dodds and Nicky Samuels both came tenth in the individual triathlons, Cross country mountainbiker Kate Fluker, of Queenstown, finished in eighth and Queenstown sharpshooter Jenna MacKenzie finished with a best result of seventh.
GH- Hamish McLean: It was a great year for Wanaka paralympic swimming superstar Hamish McLean, 14. McLean smashed several records in the pool and was being prepped to become an international athlete.
I- Ice Hockey: Ice Blacks and Southern Stampede captain Bert Haines was honoured this year after celebrating his tenth year of playing ice hockey for the Stampede. However, Haines donned the black and white colours when the Ice Blacks took on the home team in Queenstown in October.
- Janina Kuzma: After finishing in a solid fifth place at the Winter Olympics, New Zealand freeskier Janina Kuzma, of Wanaka, could not have asked for a better start to her northern hemisphere season with a win in halfpipe at the Copper Mountain Grand Prix in Colorado, USA in November.
- Knights win: The Southern Knights ice hockey team, consisting of Queenstown, Alexandra and Dunedin players, won 2-1 the under-14 Australasian title in Adelaide in November. It was a
JKfeat that no other New Zealand team at peewee or midget level has managed.
- Liam Aitcheson: Alexandra cyclist Liam Aitcheson had another stellar year, earning podium spots during Tour of Southland legs and three silver medals at the Junior World Championships in Scotland.
LM- Maniototo Maggots: The Maniototo Maggots team were able to back up their Central Otago premier rugby competition title, crushing the Arrowtown Bulls 27-8 during this year’s final. The cherry on the top for the team was winning the White Horse Cup and hooker Charles Crutchley was named Central Otago player of the year. - Becky Nixon: Queenstown hairdresser Becky Nixon set a new record in the women’s 100 mile division of the Great Naseby Water Race, finishing in 18 hours and 15 minutes.
NO- New Zealand Golf Open: The New Zealand Open tournament returned to The Hills, in Arrowtown. The national men’s golf open was played, for the first time worldwide, under a pro-am format, which saw 132 amateurs paired with the 132 professionals for the PGA Tour of Australasia event.
P- Pairs final win: Queenstown combination Margaret O’Connor and Christine Buchanan won the women’s pairs final at the New Zealand Open bowls tournament in Auckland in November. - Queenstown Marathon: The inaugural Queenstown Marathon attracted a massive 6000 runners. While heavy rain put a damper on things it didn’t stop Palmerston North junior doctor James Parsons from winning the inaugural race in a time of 2 hours 33 minutes 43 seconds.
- Red Bull Defiance adventure race: After two brutal days of racing over
QRsome of most gruelling terrain Wanaka has to offer, local pair Braden Currie and Dougal Allan took out the top spot at the inaugural Red Bull Defiance adventure race.
- Sochi: The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics New Zealand team was dominated by Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes athletes. While no medals were won, the team put in a stirling effort for many first time Olympians.
- Treble Cone crowned again: Treble Cone was announced as the winner of New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort for the second consecutive year at the second annual World Ski Awards in November.
- Uphill Battle: The Mirror’s very own Jo MacKenzie-MacLean took on her own sporting battle this year, setting a goal to compete in the 2015 Northburn 50km mountain run. Her ups and downs of the challenge have been recorded in her weekly column Uphill Battle. - Carey Vivian: Queenstown planner Carey Vivian kicked off a campaign to raise funds while completing a 4000km off-road mountain bike ride from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Vivian, who will attempted to complete the ride in 42 days staring in February, will do the ride to raise awareness and funds for Global Motor Neurone Disease Awareness, a disease that struck his father. - Wells: It wouldn’t be an a-z of sport without a mention of Wanaka’s favourite freeskiing family the Wells. This year Beau-James Wells become the third of the four Wells brother to take home the Otago Junior Sportsman of the Year Award. Older brothers Byron claimed the title in 2012 and Jossi won it five times between 2006 and 2011, only missing out in 2010. - Xterra: Four Wanaka athletes returned from the World Xterra Cham-
STUVWXpionships in Hawaii in October with top 10 places. Defending world champion Nicky Samuels, 31, was third in the elite women’s category. In the age group categories were Mike Johnston, sixth in the men’s 45-49, Andrew McLeod, tenth in men’s 55-59, and Fiona Reid, eighth in women’s 45-49 section.
- Excelling Youth Rowers: Wakatipu High School under-17 and under-18 rowing double of Dylan O’Connor and Jacob O’Flanaghan were named the Team of the Year at the Southland Secondary Schools Sports Awards this year. O’Connor was also highly commended in the Senior Sports Person of the Year category. Meanwhile Wanaka school boy Riley Bruce, 15, was named Otago’s top junior rower for 2014 after being unbeaten in the under 16-single and the under 16-double. The Mt Aspiring under-16 double of Bruce and Nathan Redai, 15, left, were named the top Otago crew.
YZ- GODZone heads to Wanaka. The 2015 GODZone event will kick off in Wanaka in March. The event, has attracted 50 fourperson teams, is part of the Adventure Racing World Series and a qualifier for the world championships.
Dougal Allan, and Braden Currie