by Helen Martin
Following on from last month’s account of locals who took part in the World Masters Games held in May we have more participants to report.
Jenny Smith, who has loved living on a Kaukapakapa farm for 26 years, brought home medals from all the events she entered in the 65+ category: Bronze in Squash, the 800 metres and the 400 metres, and Gold in the 1500 metres. Over 30 years ago Jenny was a middle-distance runner and competed in Veterans’ Games in Whanganui. She has competed overseas in road running and world duathlon championships and has won NZ Veteran Road Championships and Veteran Women’s Auckland Road Championships. She trains on the family farm and at Sinclair Park and enjoys track racing her grandchildren. “I tell them not to stop if I go past them,” she says.
Valerie Tiatia-Seath won Gold playing touch for the Sharks Two touch rugby team in the 35+ Masters Women Open. Valerie, the team’s Captain and Player Coach, grew up in Helensville and works as a co-ordinator for NZ Blue Light National Office and volunteer for the local South Kaipara Blue Light branch. Her long career playing at rep level includes membership of the 2015 Touch World Cup 30’s Mixed Team. Jo Sinton, who, lives in Muriwai, was also in the team. Sharks Two was unbeaten in its grade, playing eight games over four days and triumphing over tough opposition from Galaxy Auckland in a 4-3 win for the Gold.
Five members of the Kaukapakapa touch module, Patrick Fruean, Jason Peters, Niu Tuitupou, Jason Smith and Rob Matepo, won Gold playing for the Ponsonby EP’s team in the 40+ category. The seven games played in over 10 days included one against the NZ Defence Force, a team which included Sir William Apiata. Ponsonby EP’s was unbeaten going into the final, where they beat Auckland Old Boys who had also not lost a game. Patrick is a local PT instructor running Metafit classes at Waitoki School and he and his wife Pandora run a popular family touch competition which is affiliated to the North Harbour competition and is played on Friday nights at Sinclair Park “This was our first time in the World Masters Games and we enjoyed it so much we’re already talking about maybe going to Japan for the next one,” says Patrick.
The World Masters Games Orienteering was also the annual World Masters Orienteering Championships. Marquita Gelderman, a veterinarian locum from South Head, competed in the Women’s 50+ Sprint and Long Distance events for which there were two qualification races and one final, all held in Woodhill Forest. Winning Bronze in the Sprint and Silver in the Long Distance, Marquita has represented NZ at World Championships and World Cup races, as well as trans-Tasman competitions. She is very involved with the sport’s organisationlocally and nationally and is an International Event Adviser. She also competes in Mountain Bike Orienteering. Not all local Games participants were competitors. Marquita’s parents Yett and Chris Gelderman, who live at South Head and who are keen members of North West Orienteering Club, were volunteers at the orienteering events in Woodhill Forest, helping check the entry details of some of the 2,000 competitors. Each age group has its own course map and start times are staggered. Yett explains, “The courses at Woodhill are world class and we enjoyed being part of it and helping make such a big event run smoothly.”
For two years Linda Ashton has been in a dragon boat team and competed in the 40+ section of the sport in the 2016 Pan Pacific Masters. She was unable to compete this time due to injury. Instead, she joined the volunteers as Chief Marshall for the dragon boat events. She enjoyed interacting with competitors from around the world, the magic of watching the events and taking part in the medal ceremonies, particularly when her own team were up on the podium.
The umpires at the Games were also volunteers. South Head’s Steven Law, a hockey umpire, is a former Rodney rep player, coach and team manager with over thirty years’ umpiring experience, including several Grand Masters World Cups, senior club hockey and many secondary school tournaments and games. A game he particularly enjoyed umpiring at the World Masters Games was the Grey Sticks (all ex NZ Black Sticks) v British Army. “Paula Enoka (ex Helensville Police Sergeant) was in the Grey Sticks and with the power of the whistle I outranked any of the army officers.” Asked what he enjoyed about the Games experience Steven’s enthusiasm could sum it up for all our participating locals: “I enjoyed the camaraderie amongst and between the athletes and the volunteers. I met up with old friends and made new friends. 28,000 participants from 106 countries for 10 days of 28 sports at 48 venues with a whopping 21,000 medals awarded was an amazing experience to be part of.”