Han­nah proud to be row­ing for New Zealand

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Three years of hard work and 5am starts have paid off for Mata­mata teenager Han­nah Maher.

The 17 year old was se­lected to rep­re­sent New Zealand at the 2012 World Row­ing Cham­pi­onships in Bul­garia this Au­gust. She will be com­pet­ing with the New Zealand Ju­nior Row­ing Team in the cox­less four and said it would be a ma­jor step up for her.

‘‘It’s kind of a scary thought to be rac­ing in the world cham­pi­onships against the best in the world,’’ said Maher.

‘‘It will be the best ex­pe­ri­ence in my life; go­ing over and rep­re­sent­ing New Zealand and wear­ing the sil­ver fern on my chest – there’s noth­ing more you could ask for.’’

Maher was se­lected to try out for the na­tional team from about 2000 other un­der-19 row­ers, de­spite qual­i­fy­ing with a frac­tured rib.

‘‘It was kind of like a year’s worth of work so it was sort of un­real to start with. It started to sink in and now things are hap­pen­ing re­ally quickly.’’

The St Peter’s Col­lege stu­dent will be tak­ing eight weeks off school to train twice a day, six days a week with the New Zealand team.

‘‘The train­ing is go­ing to be a huge step up from any­thing I’ve ever done be­fore but it will all be worth it,’’ she said.

Maher was first in­tro­duced to row­ing when she was in­vited to watch the Sa­cred Heart Girls’ Col­lege team race at Maadi Cup at Kara­piro. ‘‘The team won gold and sil­ver. I knew how much train­ing they had done and I could see the looks on their faces when they were stand­ing on the podium,’’ she said.

‘‘I de­cided to give it a try and have never looked back. Get­ting up early in the morn­ing and push­ing your­self that hard, you get a huge sense of achieve­ment.’’

She needs to raise a to­tal of $10,000 to fund the trip to Europe and cover train­ing costs and is seek­ing sup­port from lo­cal busi­nesses.

If you are in­ter­ested in spon­sor­ing Han­nah, or would like to make a small con­tri­bu­tion, you can con­tact her mum Jenny Maher on 888 7313.

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