Coaches bring home gold medals
Shannon Paki (who runs the junior tennis coaching) and Rita Paczian (who runs all adult and private coaching at Whangamata) won five gold medals between them at the National Tennis Seniors (over 45s) Championships held in Lower Hutt recently.
Shannon is the national champion in men’s 40+ in singles, doubles and mixed doubles (his partner was Rita) and Rita won the women’s 50+ singles, doubles and the 40+ mixed.
“I didn’t lose a single match but sadly I had to forfeit the singles medal because I had an emergency back home in Tairua and had to leave before the final day,” Rita said.
Both travel the Coromandel and beyond, bringing the joy of tennis to young and old.
Rita, who used to play table tennis at representative level, turned to tennis when in her 40s. She is now a professional coach who teaches anyone who wants private lessons and in Whangamata she holds fun sessions, coaching adults between 4pm and 6pm on Fridays.
Thames-based Shannon has been playing tennis since primary school days.
“My Nana used to run tennis in Thames and us kids were made to play to keep us out of trouble!” he said.
“My kids now play as well. I didn’t play competitively — it was more for enjoyment.”
Now, though, tennis pretty much consumes his life as he teaches tennis privately and at various clubs around the Coromandel.
As a child, Shannon was asthmatic and found that playing the sport helped his breathing — “I would recommend other asthmatics give it a go!” he said.
■ Adult tennis coaching with Rita is held at the Whangamata Combined Sports Club on Fridays from 4-6pm. ■ Junior tennis coaching with Shannon is held at the Whangamata Combined Sports Club, rain or shine, on Saturdays in two groups between 1pm and 4pm.
LEARNERS: Shannon Paki is pictured with his group of young Saturday session players.
GOLD MEDALLISTS: Rita Paczian and Shannon Paki with their National Seniors medals.