Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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