Father's rowing claim to court wrong

ST BEDE'S ROWERS: Jordan Kennedy and Jack Bell
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ST BEDE'S ROWERS: Jordan Kennedy and Jack Bell

The High Court judge who allowed two St Bede's College boys to row in the Maadi Cup regatta appears to have been misled by the father of one of the boys in a sworn affidavit.

Justice Rachel Dunningham's judgement records show she was told that if one of the boys did not row at the Maadi Cup, he could not be selected to attend the trials for the New Zealand under-19 team, and possibly miss out on the Junior World Championships in Brazil later this year.

Rowing New Zealand rules suggest this is not correct.

Jordan Kennedy, 17, and Jack Bell, 16, were dropped from the St Bede's rowing team by the Christchurch school's rector after they were spoken to by police and security staff for riding on an airport baggage carousel in a secure area at Auckland International Airport.

The incident, which happened as the boys were travelling from Christchurch to Lake Karapiro to attend the regatta, breached the school's code of conduct, which the boys and their parents had signed up to.

The boys' fathers, Shane Kennedy and Antony Bell, sought and won an urgent High Court injunction to overturn the rector's ruling and allow their boys to compete.

According to Justice Dunningham's judgement, Kennedy stated in an affidavit that if his son could not compete at the Maadi Cup he would miss out on a chance of making the New Zealand under-19 team for this year's Junior World Championships. Jordan Kennedy is a South Island under-18 representative.

Justice Dunningham went on to say that one of the reasons she was allowing the boys to compete was because not to do so would "stymie his [Jordan Kennedy's] only opportunity to attend the Junior World Championships."

However, Rowing New Zealand's high-performance manager, Alan Cotter, said Shane Kennedy's statement was not correct.

Rowing New Zealand had strict selection guidelines.

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To be selected for the under-19 trials to be held at Lake Karapiro next month, rowers had to put in nominations, including the results of an ergometer test, by February 24, a month before the Maadi Cup.

About 250 nominations had been received.

Rowers could also be invited to the trials by selectors or gain entry by finishing first or second in either single or double boats at the Maadi Cup or in an under-20 event at the national championships.

Jordan Kennedy competed only in a coxed four and an eight at the Maadi Cup. The four came eighth in the final and the eight made the B final.

Shane Kennedy, in a statement released by his lawyer, said: "On Sunday and Monday when I prepared my affidavit for the interim injunction hearing I understood that if Jordan did not row in the 2015 Maadi Cup then he could not be selected for the U19 New Zealand rowing trials.

"My affidavit for the injunction hearing was prepared based on that belief.

"Even if Jordan could still have been selected to attend the trials, I would have been concerned that not rowing at the Maadi Cup this year would have seriously jeopardised Jordan's chances of selection for the New Zealand trials in April."

 - Sunday Star Times

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