Mourners celebrate life of Lesley Cantwell

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 15:29 18/06/2013
Lesley Cantwell
BARRY HARCOURT/Fairfax NZ
Lesley Cantwell
Shaun Cantwell
BARRY HARCOURT/FAIRFAX NZ
Shaun Cantwell speaks at the funeral service of his daughter Lesley in Te Anau.

Relevant offers

Other Sports

Canterbury Cavaliers take on Southern Dogs in South Island derby to start NHL San Francisco 49er Jarryd Hayne still doesn't feel like he belongs in NFL Black Sticks Pippa Hayward says National Hockey League will be toughest yet Southland rower Jade Uru aims for three Olympics in a row for family Olympic champions on top for Winter Games halfpipe snowboard finals Canterbury's Angie Petty rolled dice but missed payoff in world champs 800m Risk-taker Raymond van Barneveld always in pursuit of The Power Judges compare perfection at Winter Games freestyle events British freestyle skier James Woods wins World Cup slopestyle title at Cardrona Angie Petty misses 800m final despite strong run at IAAF world championships

Hundreds of mourners have turned out in Te Anau this afternoon to celebrate the life of New Zealand athletics representative Lesley Cantwell.

The 26-year-old race walker died in Tahiti on June 7 surrounded by members of her family.

She had collapsed four days before, just hours after winning her 5000m track walk event at the Oceania track and field championships in Papeete, after suffering what doctors believe was a brain haemorrhage.

Jude Cantwell, Lesley's mother, spoke of a determined young woman who was also a nurturing and caring mother to 3-year-old daughter Brooke.

Shaun Cantwell, Lesley's father and coach said Lesley had overcome the challenges of epilepsy as a teenager, getting into race walking after a number of other sports were denied her because of her disability.

Lesley had a ''willingness to try new things, even things that weren't popular,'' Shaun Cantwell said.

A gold medal at the Oceania championships marked a highlight of Lesley's race walking career, but she had set her sights on representing New Zealand at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

New Zealand runner Simone Small, who roomed with Lesley in Tahiti, said the Te Anau walker was extremely proud of representing her country, and had shown tremendous composure to adjust her race plan on the way to winning gold.

Members of Fiordland, Southland and New Zealand athletics formed a guard of honour outside the Fiordland Events Centre where the service was held, while pupils from Fiordland College performed a haka.

Ad Feedback

- The Southland Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?

For sure. Cameron will knock him out.

It will be close but I think Cameron on points.

Meehan will knock him out. This is his last fight.

I'm tipping Meehan to win on points.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content