Mi­nor sports en­joy their day in the sun

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Two self-funded sports were the big win­ners at the Porirua Sports Awards last Thurs­day night.

World cham­pion un­der­wa­ter hockey player Elle Hock­ing was a popular win­ner of the in­di­vid­ual sportswoman and took home the Michael Camp­bell Trophy in claim­ing the premier award.

Emma Sy­monds won the young sportswoman gong for her ef­forts in the sport.

Hock­ing said it was an amaz­ing night for her and un­der­wa­ter hockey, which she has de­voted more than a decade to.

‘‘It was an in­cred­i­ble night and I think there were a lot of as­ton­ished peo­ple when I won.

‘‘It’s tremen­dous to get recog­ni­tion for our sport – we’re self­funded so ev­ery lit­tle bit of pub­lic­ity helps. It might make a few peo­ple want to give it a go.’’

The next world champs are in South Africa in 2016 and the build- up to New Zealand de­fend­ing their world ti­tle be­gins in earnest early next year, she said.

‘‘We want more peo­ple play­ing and tri­alling, par­tic­i­pat­ing in in­ter­club and na­tion­als.

‘‘We went in as un­der­dogs at the world champs [last year, in Hun­gary] but now there’s pres­sure to re­peat, so we’ll be go­ing hard to do that.’’

Hock­ing said she en­joyed rub­bing shoul­ders with Porirua’s best sports­peo­ple last Thurs­day and the evening was su­perbly or­gan­ised.

In­di­vid­ual sports­man win­ner Be­van Kelly, a bare­foot wa­ter­skier, said it was great to get the en­dorse­ment that all his hard work had paid off.

The Pau­ata­hanui res­i­dent said he hoped his world cham­pion sta­tus held him in good stead with the judges, ‘‘but you never re­ally know with th­ese things’’.

He can re­call be­ing nom­i­nated for the awards in 1991.

He was also world cham­pion in 2010, but had a few years away from the sport after that. ‘‘It was a great hon­our,’’ he said. ‘‘I achieved a lot of per­sonal goals in win­ning the world’s and some­thing like this is nice for the sport.’’

Like Hock­ing, Kelly is eye­ing a de­fence of his ti­tle in 2016, likely in the United States.

Though he learnt to water­ski around Pare­mata, he does most of his bare­foot train­ing in Wairarapa.

Sil­ver Ferns coach Waimarama Tau­maunu gave an in­spir­ing speech at the awards.

She had words of ad­vice for her 18-year-old self, on the brink of na­tional netball se­lec­tion.

Her mes­sages: if you never start, you’ll never know how good you’ll be; hard work is hard; hard work is no guar­an­tee of suc­cess; cher­ish the re­la­tion­ships of friends and fam­ily; and only you know how far you can go.

Tau­maunu said she had faced tough times in her play­ing and coach­ing ca­reers, and that it took courage to get up again when things had not gone well.

Photo: RHI­AN­NON MCCON­NELL

Big win: Elle Hock­ing was shocked to win the premier award at the Porirua Sports Awards. MC Stu Smith is on the right.

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