Topic: Fitness

Gold for 11-year-old Taekwondo sensation at Worlds

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Eleven-year-old Rahere Heke from Flaxmere is now a world Taekwondo champion. Heke came away with a clean sweep at the ITF Taekwondo World Championships in England.

Touching down in New Zealand as a world champion Rahera was welcomed home by her classmates at Irongate School in Flaxmere.

Te Kāea asked Rahera, “How does it feel to be a world champion?”

Rahera replied, “It feels awesome!”

It was her first international competition and she came home with an unbroken record winning all three of her international sparring bouts.

Ben Evans her Taekwondo coach says, “The first match was tough going for her then the second fight she was starting to get a bit tired and then the last fight that was the push and I can remember the UK coach saying yeah we got this and I said to him, no, we got this.”

The Napier airport was buzzing with friends and family who had come to congratulate her on outstanding win overseas.

“It was a very proud moment she was very fearless, strong and yeah, just done us proud in New Zealand,”says her mother, Hinemihi Allen.

Principal of Irongate School Fay Wooster says, “Everyone in the school is just so buzzing and excited about this achievement so yeah, we're really proud.”

Irongate will also put on a special pohiri tomorrow at the school to acknowledge her hard work and international achievement.

But it wasn't just Rahera that came away with a medal, with Evans making the podium for power breaking.

Evans says, “This is my first ever world championship medal been going since 16, second place so you know not too bad.”

After spending 21 days away from home, it's rest time before turning her attention to getting her black belt.