BACK WITH THE GOODS
A reservoir in Calgary is far removed from Porirua Harbour but it made no difference for world champion Marama Elkington.
The 14-year-old is not long back from the world waka ama championships in Canada, sporting a gold and silver medal. The silver was earned in the W12 500m but her gold came in the prestigious under-16 V1 500m race, where she led home two Kiwis.
There was just 0.25 seconds in it as she beat close rivals Akayshia Williams and national champion Alex Sinclair.
‘‘It’s hard to know what I was feeling [after the V1 race]; I just went out there and raced. I didn’t think I would come anywhere but I really wanted to win. It just felt like nationals all over again. I could see Akayshia coming out of the corner of my eye but I pushed hard.’’
More than a dozen medallists at the worlds came from Porirua with 200 paddlers in New Zealand colours and more than 20 countries represented. Elkington said it was a brilliant atmosphere.
She didn’t get to the podium for her gold as she was late to the venue because of a tornado warning.
Parents Mere and Tai watched the races in Porirua through live streaming online.
‘‘It was about 3am in the morning and we were screaming. I’m lucky the neighbours didn’t call the police,’’ Tai said. ‘‘We had a parent’s joy, it was fantastic.’’
Elkington was with her sister Ohana in the silver medalwinning W12, which highlights the family’s commitment to waka ama. The second youngest of eight, all her siblings grew up on Porirua harbour and at the height of her waka ama training, Elkington will be out there three times a day.
Mere said they are like many in the waka ama fraternity who have an affinity with the water as part of their culture.
Elkington will be back into it soon with nationals in January but her attention will turn to basketball for now, as she will represent Porirua at the under-15 nationals next month.
Mrs Elkington says the support of the community, Lions, Toa Sport and the Aniuwaru Waka Ama Club were key factors in Marama attending the worlds.
WORLD CHAMP: Marama Elkington is the latest world champion from Porirua – she hopes to again be in New Zealand colours at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 when waka ama is a demonstration sport.