Omanu juniors retain crown – BOP TIMES ARTICLE 7th March 2016

Omanu successfully defended their Under-14 New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championship title after fighting off stiff competition from around the country at the Oceans 16 event that finished at Mount Maunganui yesterday.

The championship fight stayed close all weekend with mere points separating the top five until yesterday, when the Omanu team pulled away from their competition to win with a comfortable margin of 14 points.

“We actually didn’t focus too much on the overall club championship because all of our kids have their own goals and we help them to achieve those,” Omanu head coach Simon Wills said.

“They’re all stoked with how they went across the weekend but to walk away with the overall win is pretty awesome. Although this weekend there was some seriously tough competition out there. All of the clubs stepped it up and we had to work really hard. Our kids said every race was a real challenge, though they’ve all made some new friends and had a great time.

“Our kids also wanted to say thank you to all of the event volunteers, race officials, and all their fellow competitors for making the event so much fun. They really loved it, so thank you.”

Waikanae of Gisborne finished in second ahead of Red Beach who rounded out the podium in third.

Almost 900 athletes from around the country descended on Mount Maunganui for the annual event held across four days from March 3-6. The biggest team, Red Beach, had 76 athletes registered for the four-day competition, while Omaha Beach and Whiritoa had the smallest teams with only one athlete registered to each.

Event referee Simone Spencer says it was a fabulous event.

“We saw so many outstanding performances from our athletes this weekend. They all showed great sportsmanship and always looked out for each other, which is just awesome,” she said.

“Everything went smoothly. We were very lucky with the weather and fortunate to have such an incredible team of volunteers and race officials who kept everyone safe and happy.”

The next major event is the 2016 Eastern Bay Energy Trust New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships in Whakatane with 1400 athletes competing over four days.

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