Coach will take it on the chin
The Taranaki Commonwealth games boxing coach who lost a bet and then faced losing his lovingly groomed beard has been given a red and blue reprieve.
Prior to the games Jacob Rapira inadvertently found his five-year-old beard the subject of compulsory shave ‘‘bet’’ if the New Zealand boxing team equalled their counterpart’s 1950 five medal haul.
Heavyweight David Nyika suggested if the team hit that mark Rapira would lose his beard to a cut throat razor.
When the boxing team got the five medals Rapira fended off the razor but has still ended up taking one on the chin with his beard dyed red on one side and blue on the other.
‘‘The deal was I have to keep it until the Golden Gloves, which is Queen’s Birthday weekend,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m just going to be stuck with it until it eventually washes out, but it’s one of those permanent jobs, so it will take a while.’’
The coach and cutman has attended both World and Oceania boxing championships but said the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast were something else.
‘‘I’ve never in my life been a part of something like that... Being part of the New Zealand team and the environment that NZOC (New Zealand Olympic Committee) had built around the team was something pretty special.’’
He was proud of the boxing team’s results – their best ever in a Commonwealth Games.
‘‘We broke our all-time medal tally which has been standing since 1950.
‘‘We never went in there thinking that we weren’t going to do well, but the nature of our sport is hit and miss.’’
Rapira said he loved spending the time with the other athletes and the whole team moved their four TVs outside with bean bags so everyone could hang out and watch the events.
‘‘What I really loved at the village was just the vibe in New Zealand’s part and some of the other countries noted it as well – just how tight we were as a whole team and how supportive we were.’’
NZ Boxing Coach and Cut Man Jacob Rapira has returned to New Plymouth after the Commonwealth Games with a new look.