Coach will take it on the chin

Taranaki Daily News - - Front Page - CHRISTINA PERSICO

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.’’

PHOTO: GRANT MATTHEW/STUFF

NZ Box­ing Coach and Cut Man Ja­cob Rapira has re­turned to New Ply­mouth af­ter the Com­mon­wealth Games with a new look.

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