Snell among athletes added to wall

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2013
tdn howie stand'
ROBERT CHARLES
Sport Taranaki CEO Howie Tamati with one of the 13 Taranaki Olympians plaques being added to the wall of the existing 18 that were unveiled a couple of weeks ago.

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More wall space is needed at Sport Taranaki as Olympians from the region continue to come out of the woodwork - including one of New Zealand's greatest.

An Olympic Wall was unveiled at the organisation's headquarters last month, to celebrate the achievements of 18 Taranaki Olympians and provide inspiration for future generations.

Since then, 13 more elite athletes have been added after a number of phone calls were received from friends and family members of people who had competed at Olympic Games and claimed a Taranaki connection.

New names include Opunake's 800 metre and 1500m running legend Peter Snell, equestrian Kirk Webby, who competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and boxer Clarrie Gordon, who attended the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

Taranaki also boasts New Zealand's first Olympian, Edward Henry "Harry" Kerr, a walker from Tariki. Kerr was part of the Australasian team that competed at London in 1908, winning a bronze medal.

The gold medal tally of those on the wall is five.

Sport Taranaki chief executive Howie Tamati said the original 18 athletes recognised had been affiliated with Taranaki when they attended the Olympics.

Some of the new ones had been performing in other regions, or overseas, which had caused some confusion.

"It could be a bit contentious but I'm not too worried about that. If their mums and dads ring up and claim they're from Taranaki then so be it. A lot of people have to go away to compete at the top level, but that doesn't change where they come from."

Tamati appreciated people calling to put forward those who were missed as it meant they took pride in the province.

The new plaques arrived this week and would soon be placed on the wall beside the original 18.

Tamati said it would require some rearranging and an expansion to the other side of the wall. "It wasn't in the budget either, so now I'm in the bad books."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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