Two Upper Hutt sportswomen won medals at the recent Waka Ama National Sprint Championships at Lake Karapiro.
In its 24th year, the waka ama (outrigger canoe) nationals featured 55 clubs from the South Island to Kaitaia. More than 2500 paddlers were involved, up on previous years, as teams, support crews and an estimated 10,000 spectators took over the popular lake location for the five days of competition.
Te Marua's Sonya Farthing raced in the senior division with her Kokiri Mango team taking the bronze in the W6 Master Women's 500 metre sprint.
In the junior division Lana Comerford, also from Te Marua, was a part of the Hinekapuarangi team's two gold medal- winning performances.
The 15-year-old was part of her team's winning effort, rowing seat four in the J16 women's W6 500m and steering in the sprint turns 1000m race where the six-person team were comfortable winners with a margin of more than 17 seconds.
Last year, Lana's plans for her sport were dashed when her Porirua-based team fell apart just three weeks before the start of the world trials.
This year the Upper Hutt College student made the decision to paddle for a Gisborne-based club where she lived for four weeks ahead of the nationals.
The women trained six days a week, three or four times a day, preparing for competition.
Activities ranged from W1 individual water training, team waka ama training, kayaking, surfski, stand up board, surfing, swimming and boxing and race strategy.
Lana's winning team-mates came from Gisborne, Auckland, Porirua and Rotorua.
- Upper Hutt Leader