Waka Ama - The big names on display today were Halberg Awards nominee Kiwi Campbell and Akayshia Williams who won gold at the Waka Ama World Sprint Championships. Turanga Barcay-Kerr also competed. But perhaps the race of the day was between two brothers-in-law.
It was a whānau affair today in the W1 Premier Men's 500m division. There was a competitive element and banter between the hot favourite Tupu King and Nohoarii Tahiata from Tahiti.
"I'm feeling good. You know, up against my brother-in-law Nohoarii. He's a paddler from Tahiti so he's got a lot of experience, and a lot of skill. It's always good to race him. It's all fun and games at training but we've still got a competitive edge when it comes to racing" says King.
Current champion King says there is nothing better than racing your brother-in-law in championships like these.
"He's definitely a top competitor. He's really good at the sprints. You never know what to expect from him so I'm not taking him lightly at all today, he's probably not taking me lightly. He probably hasn't shown me everything he's got in training, you never know what's going to happen."
King started in lane two, while Tahiata was on the other side in lane nine. Despite dominating the race, there was a moment of doubt.
“Well I actually went for a bit of a kick and then I missed the stroke and then I kinda laughed at myself so I looked to see if Noho was in reach. He was, so I just had to dig it in more, it was good.”
In the end, the result was straightforward, with King easily accounting for heat three of the Premier men's Division W1 500m.
“Big ups to Noho happy we got the first and second. But it's just the heat so we'll see where we end up in the semi and we'll get a few faster guys in there too.”
Tahiata says, "Busy training hard and the interval training. Fight together for eleven months. Congratulations Tupu for the race today. "
While King can rest, he knows he will have to work hard because Tahiata is on his tail.
King says, “Probably go away and have a little rest, make sure I get some food in, not too much. Just start fixing up little errors I did in my first race and hope to do better in my next race.”