Ge­or­gia smashes ski­ing records

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By BEN STRANG

Ge­or­gia Groen is the best women’s ‘‘tricker’’ on the planet, as well as the best ju­nior women’s bare­foot wa­ter skier by some mar­gin.

The 16-year-old for­mer Whitby girl, whose fam­ily is now based in Otaki, re­turned to New Zealand last week a world cham­pion and mul­ti­ple world-record holder af­ter three months of train­ing and com­pet­ing at events in the United States.

Hav­ing bl­itzed the ju­nior field at the world cham­pi­onships in Waco, Texas, Ge­or­gia backed that up with a gold medal in the open women’s tricks fi­nal and sil­ver in the open women’s jump.

She fin­ished third over­all in the open women’s class, with Aus­tralian Ashleigh Steb­bings, 20, set­ting the bench­mark.

Ge­or­gia said it felt ‘‘weird’’ to be a world cham­pion at her age.

‘‘It was the best tour­na­ment of my life. I’ve never done as well as I did over there. I don’t know if it helped that I’d been train­ing ev­ery day lead­ing up to it.’’

For two months lead­ing into the world cham­pi­onships Ge­or­gia trained at the World Bare­foot Cen­ter in Florida, where her cousin Ben Groen is an in­struc­tor.

Af­ter that she moved on to Texas for the Amer­i­can na­tion­als, where she fin­ished sec­ond in the open women’s in­ter­na­tional sec­tion, again be­hind Steb­bings.

Then in the big event she smashed two of her own world records in the ju­nior sec­tion.

With a jump of 19 me­tres, Ge­or­gia added nearly four me­tres to her pre­vi­ous world record of 15.5m and set a tricks score of 4660, her pre­vi­ous record be­ing 4200. ‘‘I was so stoked. I won on my first round scores. Of course I kept go­ing to try and beat my scores, but I couldn’t,’’ she said.

‘‘ I won by over 1000 points. That’s pretty big.’’

In the open women’s class Ge­or­gia fin­ished third over­all, but had her best per­for­mance in the tricks fi­nal, beat­ing Steb­bings af­ter the Aus­tralian had a fall.

‘‘Ashleigh is 20. So I’m a bit younger than her. She is amaz­ing,’’ Ge­or­gia said.

‘‘ I want to win the open women’s next time. I’ll have to im­prove on my slalom, that’s my weak point at the mo­ment.’’

Ge­or­gia’s dad, Fred, thinks she should be a good shot at an open women’s ti­tle in 2014. ‘‘ She has smashed the ju­nior girls’ records.’’

Ge­or­gia’s brother Tyler also com­peted at the worlds, com­ing 12th over­all in the open men’s sec­tion. Ben Groen fin­ished sixth over­all.

World’s best: Ge­or­gia Groen won five golds on her way to a ju­nior world cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

High fly­ing: Ge­or­gia Groen, right, com­pet­ing in the United States. She is on top of the world in tricks and

sec­ond in jump.

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