A help­ing hand to en­ter Try­athlon

Rotorua Weekender - - Arts Corner -

One Ro­torua school is an­tic­i­pat­ing a huge surge in stu­dent en­tries for a lo­cal sports event af­ter re­ceiv­ing a do­na­tion from Sport Bay of Plenty.

Western Heights Pri­mary School as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal Ben Mcfar­lane says the num­ber of pupils keen to par­tic­i­pate in the area’s Weet-bix Try­athlon has in­creased dra­mat­i­cally since the an­nounce­ment that stu­dents will re­ceive a sig­nif­i­cant dis­count on en­try fees, in ad­di­tion to the loan of sev­eral bikes.

“Our kids don’t do a lot of bik­ing be­cause most of them don’t have bikes. If they do, they are of­ten not in a safe con­di­tion to ride,” he says. “Hav­ing ac­cess to a bike and hel­met, and the dis­count on the Try­athlon en­try fee, is huge for our kids — their eyes light up.”

The Ro­torua En­ergy Char­i­ta­ble Trust has pro­vided 200 dis­counted en­tries to decile 1 to 3 schools in the re­gion, with en­tries now al­lo­cated to 14 schools.

“Most of our kids don’t get many chances to learn how to swim, but once they sign up to the Try­athlon, par­ents start en­cour­ag­ing them to go to the pool, and prac­tice swim­ming in­stead of just do­ing bombs — it has a re­ally far-reach­ing ef­fect,” Ben says. “It doesn’t just boost the kids’ The Weet-bix Try­athlon al­ways draws a big crowd.

morale, it changes the way par­ents en­cour­age the chil­dren, too.”

Sport Bay of Plenty spokes­woman Melissa Gor­don says be­ing in­volved with the Try­athlon was the per­fect fit with the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s goal to get more school-aged chil­dren ac­tive more of­ten, par­tic­u­larly since the event is about par­tic­i­pa­tion rather than win­ning.

“This is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to give chil­dren from low decile schools in Ro­torua the chance to par­tic­i­pate,” she says. “These chil­dren get a sense of achieve­ment, ex­cite­ment and a huge con­fi­dence boost from be­ing in­volved in such a great event.”

Trust chair­man Ste­wart Ed­ward says the de­ci­sion to fund dis­counted en­tries to low-decile schools stemmed from the trust’s recog­ni­tion of the im­por­tance of en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple into ex­er­cise and out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

The Try­athlon se­ries is open to chil­dren aged be­tween seven and 15, and con­sists of a swim, cy­cle and a run.

■ To reg­is­ter for the De­cem­ber 2 event go to try.weet­bix.co.nz

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