The first gold medallists were found on day two of the Waka Ama Sprints Nationals today. The midget finals for the W6 250m, 500m and the W12 250m were on show.
The Intermediate and J16 paddlers took to the water today but the highlights were definitely the midget finals. It was the defending champs in both boys and girls W6 250m finals who reigned supreme.
Back-to-back champs, 'The Justice League' from Ōtaki. Celebrations continued off the water too.
Kahurere McKay (Te Rau o Te Rangi ki Ōtaki) says, "That was awesome, all the teams went well. We wouldn't have been successful without working as a team and with the support of our coach, it's just a great day for all of us."
But like all the other teams, it's been a long lead up to reap the rewards again this year.
Kahurere says, "We've been training for three months, we trained really hard, our coach trained us all really hard."
In the girls W6 250m midget final, Puketirini Putiputi from Rāhui Pōkeka Waka Sports continued their dominance.
Hinaia Kihi (Rahui Pokeka Sports) says, "I'm so happy but it wasn't easy."
Finishing first is becoming a habit for these girls, some of them have won three golds but their coach counts their success in other ways.
Coach Kiki Kihi says, "Winning isn't the most important thing, the main goal is that we help the children to give it their all and if they do that we're happy, whether it's in the final or the heat."
That looks to be the recipe for success on and off the water.