Manukau Courier : Manukau Courier November 2
20 MANUKAU COURIER, NOVEMBER 2, 2010 SPORT A golden chance for young athletes By ALAN APTED World's best: Throw for Gold member Siositina Hakeai, 16, of Mangere is the No 1 discus thrower in the world among girls under 17. Photo: SHANE WENZLICK They aren t household names yet. But Siositina Hakeai, 16, Gene Te Amo, 14 and Brandan Ikitule, 15 soon could be thanks to Throw for Gold. Throw for Gold is the latest pilot project to be taken under the wing of the Sir John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation. The brainchild of Athletics New Zealand, it aims to uncover New Zealand s next generation of world-beating throwers like Beatrice Faum- uina and Valerie Adams. The programme has been running since March under head coach Nigel Edwards and a team of four coaches. Young south Auckland athletes will be the main beneficiaries as the pilot is only open to those living or at school in Mangere, Papatoe- toe, Manurewa, Papakura, Pakuranga and Howick. Hakeai is the most high profile of the 35 throwers in the first intake. She s the national under-17 and under-20 shot put cham- pion and the under-20 discus champion. And she s the top discus thrower in the world among girls aged under 17. Te Amo and Ikitule aren t in that league yet but they have dreams of getting there. Since being on the pro- gramme Te Amo has added two metres to his shot put distance. He now throws a 4kg shot put 15 metres. Ikitule is on the pro- gramme because he wants to get somewhere in the future. It s going to take time but I m learning all the right techniques and training hard. Both boys parents are very supportive and have noticed changes since their sons started Throw for Gold. He trains a lot harder now, Brandon s father Jun- ior Ikitule says. Edwards says parents are an integral part of Throw for Gold. We re not a babysitting service, he says. We are a group looking for elite sportspeople and that is why parents are such an inte- gral part of the programme. They have to get the kids to the practices. They have to look after the kids when the coaches are not there However to become a national or international champion, it demands a lot more extra coaching. So the parents need to know and need to support their son or their daughter. The parents are there watching. They become mini managers. While the programme is open to all, the best Poly- nesian and Maori athletes are being encouraged to join. They have the genetics, the explosive speed and strength for the throwing events, Edwards says. He cites Hakeai as a prime example of raw talent. She threw the discus 51.52m to win the national under-20 crown earlier this year. That was two metres further than when she broke the under-17 record at the Auckland Athletics Cham- pionship. The programme s mantra of No More Barriers is evi- dent in the approach to home- work. At Throw for Gold, they get to take their equipment home. If a person puts the shot, we provide them a shot to take home, Edwards says. The same goes for the dis- cus and javelin. We re the only programme in Australasia doing this. Having their own gear can be the difference between winning and coming second or third, he says. How on Earth are they going to practise without a shot put? We don t say to an iceskater go practise on a tar- mac. I m sorry but it just doesn t work that way. It s already paying off, Edward says, with one parent commenting that his son gets home from school at 2.55pm instead of 4.30pm just so he can practise. The two-year Throw for Gold pilot s backed by the Lion Foundation and Sparc. Secondary schools and ath- letic clubs throughout south Auckland are scouting talent for the programme. Injury-free for league bonanza at Eden Park Fill those stands: Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney, left, Kangaroos player Cameron Smith and Kiwis vice captain Adam Blair at Eden Park, venue for their Four Nations clash this Saturday. Bring on Saturday is all I can say. Sure Papua New Guinea were always going to struggle with the class of the Kiwis, Kangaroos and England. But our demolition job on the Kumuls in Rotorua on Saturday means it s winner take all at Eden Park this weekend against the Aussies. I can t wait to see league played at Eden Park and with England up against PNG in the first game of the double- header, fans are guaranteed a league bonanza. It s really important that we get a great crowd to send the boys off to Brisbane with our support ringing in their ears. There are still tickets to be had from Mad Butcher stores in Manukau, Mangere, Takanini, Albany and Glen Innes so I don t want to see an empty seat in the place -- unlike Auckland s ITM cup semifinal against Waikato when they let the Mooloo men in for the winning try in the final play of the match. The All Blacks were just as bad against Australia. Poor old Graham Henry is immedi- ately back in the firing line after our winning streak was ended by Robbie Deans boys. Mind you he isn t copping it like Stephen Donald who failed to find touch when all hehadtodowaskickitoutto win the game for the All Blacks. It s just as well they are heading to the UK for a tour because the poor bloke might get lynched if he came home. Talk about a failure to keep things in perspective. So I confess I didn t mind watching my beloved Kiwis batter the Kumuls. We had a couple of busloads of fans on the road, leaving from my rugby league museum at Holmes Rd. We had a fantastic time, arriving in Rotorua in time to see David Kidwell s Junior Kiwis square up the series with the Junior Kangaroos with a 36-20 win. Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney was clearly looking ahead to Saturday s clash with the Kangaroos when he dragged lock Jeremy Smith off at halftime against the Kumuls, and Simon Mannering and captain Benji Marshall just after. The 76-12 scoreline was a surprise. PNG did well the week before against Aust- ralia, but that game might have taken it out of them. They did manage to rally in the second half to score two quick tries. That will have disappointed the Kiwis who were trying to eliminate the defensive lapses we saw against England. Defence like that against the Green and Golds at Eden Park will see us on the end of a hammering. But I spoke to Kearney after the game and he was pleased overall, especially getting through without injury problems which means he can put out his strongest team come Saturday. For the record Junior Sa u and Sam Perrett got three tries each, Smith got a double, while Mannering, Lance Hohaia, Greg Eastwood, Isaac Luke, Jason Nightingale and Sika Manu all crossed. Marshall knocked over eight goals and Luke two. Remember, get to Eden Park! Let s fill up the home of rugby and make it a league hotspot too. Go the mighty Kiwis.
November 4th 2010