Barriball wins another national title
Grant Barriball is on top again.
A year after surrendering his W1 men’s 500 metres masters title to Porirua Canoe Kayak Club teammate Turi Hodges, Barriball moved from the masters (aged over 39) to senior masters (over 49) and won the final by a boat length at the waka ama sprint nationals a fortnight ago.
‘‘It wasn’t easy ... I was sceptical that I’d put in enough work,’’ he said. ‘‘I’d done a lot of coaching and training in the W6, so I was pretty happy to win [the singles event] quite convincingly.’’
It was a tough regatta at Lake Karapiro this year, because it doubled as qualifying for the waka ama worlds on Australia’s Sunshine Coast in May.
Porirua Canoe Kayak Club took home one gold (Barriball), one silver (W12 premier women 500m) and two bronze medals (W6 masters women 500m and Mariana Hodges in the premier women’s W1 500m).
Barriball said the fact he and his fellow masters W6 crew did not qualify at Karapiro for the worlds weighed heavily on him, but the opportunity to concentrate on the singles would allow him to focus his training.
He expected the senior masters Australian and Tahitian paddlers to be difficult to beat, but because he was relatively young for the division at 52, he was optimistic.
‘‘If I keep doing the training, I give myself a good chance.’’
The Porirua Canoe Kayak Club junior 19 men also missed out on finishing in the top six at the nationals, but Mariana Hodges’ result means she has been selected for the New Zealand elite women’s team.
W6 masters women team member Selena Katene said her team had hoped to win gold for the third year running, but the competition was the best they had encountered.
‘‘To get the bronze was great and we came fourth in the 1000 metres,’’ she said. ‘‘[These results] meant we qualified for the worlds.’’
premier women qualified for the worlds in two events.
Eden Te Paa and Tekiri Barriball, who live in Porirua but paddle for a J16 Otaki crew, also did well enough to make it to the world champs.
Grant Barriball after winning the senior masters W1 500 metres event at the waka ama sprint nationals last month.