Hannah proud to be rowing for New Zealand
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.