The finals for the long distance races were held today at the 18th IVF Va’a World Sprint Championships where New Zealand featured 20 teams in 12 of the 14 final races.
The first win for a NZ team was in the Junior 19 women's section, where NZ made a clean sweep, winning gold, silver and bronze.
Horouta Waka Hoe team Puhi Kaiariki won the gold medal with a time of 5:12.05, Manawaroa from Rāhui Pōkeka won silver with 5:24.93 and Okareka from Hei Matau Paddlers took bronze with their time of 5:25.32.
The third race of the day was for the Masters 50 women; Ngaruroa from Ruamata came third in that race, taking home a bronze medal.
“It was really tough out there,” says paddler Nyree King, “but we put a plan together and we made a few modifications yesterday that were really good so I think that paid off today.”
The eldest that have competed this week are in the Master 70s grade. In the women’s section Te Ara Pounamu from Aratika placed third after their 500m race, which featured one turn at the 250m mark
But it was the men’s section of that same age-group that saw a NZ team achieve what they set out to achieve, with Kōtuku from Parihaka Waka Ama winning gold in their 500m race.
According to Howard Hyland, in his mid-seventies, “It was awesome. I think we worked hard to get here. We had doubts before we went out to race, but we had more training this morning and yesterday morning and we sorted out all our stuff we needed to do and went out there and stuck to the game plan.”
That result was repeated by Ngā Kōpara Toa, with the Horouta Master 40 women's team winning gold in their section.
“We’re a little bit over the moon,” says team member Penny Scragg, “There’s a few people that would want to celebrate right now.”
NZ won gold and silver in the 1000m in the Junior 19 womens' races. Tiare Māori took gold and Hinetoa from Horouta Waka Hoe silver.
And NZ went from strength to strength, the Master 60 women’s Team Taitokerau won a gold medal in their race.
In the open women's 1500m race, there were four teams from NZ that featured in the final.
Tahiti were strong but two NZ teams ending up taking second and third, Kaiarahi Toa with silver and Roto Wahinez took bronze.
“That was a real challenge,” says Kaiarahi Toa captain Kiwi Campbell, “We had our challenges before this race, obviously Vesna Radonich was with us through to the progressions, so we had something to race for today, she's hapū. I think these races became quite stressful. She really was our inspiration today- we closed the gap big time.”
The last day of the competition is held tomorrow, with the finals of the V6 500m.