With high sports achievers in both team and individual sports Ōtaki College, one of the smallest college in Kapiti-Horowhenua, has 20 players in 17 sports and two teams gaining nominations to the College Sport Wellington Sportsperson of the Year awards in November.
Last Thursday October 22, Ōtaki College celebrated its sports’ achievers to a packed college hall. Guest speaker, Joseph Sullivan was a New Zealand Olympic rowing double scull gold medallist and Olympic Ambassador, and guest award presenters were Lyn McFedries and Neale Ames from the Ōtaki Surf Lifesaving Club.
During the college athletic and swimming championships Troy Harris broke the intermediate high jump record and a number of swimming records were broken: Fallon Roy set a new record in the junior girls 25metre butterfly final, junior boys champion 12 old year Damien Doyle records in the 25,50 and 100 metres freestyle finals and 25 metre backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly finals and intermediate girls champion Daisy Davis taking the titles and records in freestyle over 25, 50 and 100m finals.
Damien and Daisy, two of the youngest high achievers, received awards in a number of sports, including at regional and national surf lifesaving events in both pool and beach competitions. They were members of the New Zealand title holders’ team after winning the medley relay, and bronze medal winners in the obstacle race. They were top Male and Female All Rounders; Daisy in netball, surf lifesaving and multisport and Damien in kayak, multisport and surf lifesaving. They were awarded College Sports Blues for their achievements at national level, with Damien being named Ōtaki College Sportsperson of the Year, at the end of the evening.
Damien has a long list of sports achievements, winning local and Kapiti interschool triathlons and two at Linton with a bronze medal at the NZ Secondary Schools Championships. A new comer to kayaking, he won the K1 500m event at Taupo and won the NZ Canoe Racing Tyro marathon series and holds the title of NZ Marathon Tyro Champion. At college Damien won the cups in multisport, running and swimming.
Daisy is an impressive title holder too, as well as her surf lifesaving gold and bronze medals, she won two silver medals at the Ocean Athletes, the Under 14 championships. She was a member of the Intermediate 1 netball team and in the Under15 Horowhenua/Kapiti Representative team, in multisport she won bronze at the NZ Secondary Triathlon Champs and at college she received the athletics and swimming cups and was joint winner of the running cup. “Keep at it believe in yourself” was Mr Sullivan’s motivating words to the sports achievers after he had told them his journey to the top of the sport he was “selected” to take part in. He spoke of his early years, growing up in Christchurch and moving to Picton, and attending Queen Charlotte College. There he was told he would be in the rowing team, even though the coach said he was “too small”. He said he was even smaller than the (former) Olympic gold medal team we beat in the London 2012 Olympics! “I decided when I was nine I was going to go to the Olympics. I had no idea of how or what sport,” he said. “The more people tried to tell me I wouldn’t be any good, the more I tried harder, I had to keep up, do better.”
He joined the Marlborough Rowing Club and in 2005 rowed at the Junior World Games where he won a bronze medal. As a reserve in the NZ Under22 team he won gold in the single scull and in 2010 World Games gold in the double scull. During this time he was training 36–40 hours a week on the water. “Leading up to the (2012) Olympics I did all the training I thought I needed to do. We had the World Games six weeks before the Olympics and came last (in double sculls). We looked at what we were doing and went back to basics.” “Going to the start line for the first race I was so nervous I was sick over the side of the boat, it was very stressful. At start of the final we were we were a length behind, I could only see water no other boats. My partner lied to me all the way through the race. He said we were in front and I believed him. We made our way through and won by just seconds.”He has won multiple rowing championships at both double and single scull international championships.
This year the College had teamed with the Ōtaki kura, Te Kura-ā-Iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Rito for a boys’ first XV rugby team playing under the Rahui banner and also for a boys’ basketball team. The senior boys combined kura basketball team. From a slow start they won their next seven games to win the College Sport Wellington Senior Boys Basketball League, beating a team they had previously twice lost to during the season. And so as the 2015 school year draws to a close, the results celebrated that evening were phenomenal, for a small semi-rural college. Ōtaki sports people have again succeeded at an extremely high level in both regional and national events. Just watch out for our sports stars in the years ahead particularly Daisy and Damien, they have far to go.