Manukura welcomes home Olympic Champions

By Ruth Smith

The multitudes behind these two athletes came together to formally welcome this winning duo.

“It was just a really indescribable type of feeling.  You just feel like you’re on top of the world,” said Carys Dallinger, player for the New Zealand side.

NZ under 18’s back, Kaylyn Takitimu-Cook also described the moment she along with her team were presented with their gold medals.

“It’s definitely an unforgettable moment that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life,” she said.

Chairman of the Māori Rugby Board, Dr. Farah Palmer commented on the opportunities available to youth in elite sports.

"Nowadays, we've got more support for women in rugby and I don't think we even had an under 18's or a youth anything when I was playing rugby way back in the olden days.  But that's what it's all about; it's about passing on a legacy and letting the next generation take it to the next level and they've definitely done that."

Both Dallinger and Takitimu-Cook were welcomed by their school upon their return from the Youth Olympics with gold medals hanging around their necks.

According to Takitimu-Cook, battling the French in the finals was not an easy task.

“The French really came out and handed it to us.  We were expecting that.  We weren’t expecting an easy game, so it was a really challenging game and we weren’t taking it lightly. We knew they really wanted it but we made sure we had each others' backs to the very end and gave it our best,” she explained.

Nathan Durie, Principal of Manukura was proud of his students, saying that this achievement of theirs embodies the founding principles of the school.