Silver on world stage
Burning lungs and searing muscle pain is a small price to pay for a silver medal on the outrigger canoe world stage.
Especially when years old.
Well that’s what Matamata’s very own Theo Vale thought as he went neck and neck with a Canadian competitor in his final race at the IVF Va’a World Elite & Club Sprint Championships.
‘‘I was going for gold I guess you could say,’’ Vale said of his efforts in the 500 metre sprint which took place on Lake Kawana on Sunshine Coast.
And he almost had it but on review of the photo finish the fierce competitor clocked in just one tenth of a second behind Canada’s John Roberts.
And in a bitter sweet announcement, that also placed him one tenth of a second behind the new world record for that age group.
‘‘[Roberts] said he was happy the race wasn’t 10 metres longer,’’ according to Vale whose finishing time of 2.47.72 was also a personal best
‘‘I was worrying about an Australian guy...he beat me in the heats actually...but we were always told to keep an eye on the end flag...don’t start looking across at the other guy because you can lose focus.’’
So when he crossed the finish line he really had no idea how he had faired, and the mixed views from supporters didn’t help either.
‘‘It all depended on where you were standing,’’ he said.
Vale was also part of the six man New Zealand over 70s team that placed sixth overall in the team category.
Matamata’s Frank Rowson was one of two who carried the New Zealand flag in for the opening ceremony.
Training will continue for Vale you’re 73 who said he has been advised to stick at it for the 2018 World Championships which will be held in Tahiti.
‘‘In the meantime we want a bit more blood in our team, anyone from 68 onwards, they will qualify in two years time.’’
Theo Vale, 73, took out second place in the IVF Va’a World Elite & Club Sprint Championships 2016, clocking in just one tenth of a second behind Canada’s John Roberts.
Theo Vale tackles the 500m sprint with a personal best time.