Waikato wonders shine in London
Sun, 05 Aug 2012 11:23a.m.
By Sean Martin
There must be something in the water in Waikato, and it's something to be bottled.
Three golds and two bronze medals to rowers based in the region, combined with a trans-Tasman netball title for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic and the Chiefs' Super Rugby success means the province is justified in calling itself the most successful sporting area in the country.
At the Eton Dorney on Saturday, Storm Uru and Peter Taylor put in a performance on day eight to cap off a hugely successful Olympics for the team based at Lake Karapiro.
Uru and Taylor claimed bronze in the lightweight men's double sculls to bring the Kiwi medal tally to seven at the halfway point of the London Games.
It was a deserved reward the 2009 world champions and it now means rowing is New Zealand's most productive sport when it comes to Olympic medals.
One who missed out on adding to the total was single sculler Emma Twigg who was fourth behind the dominant Czech Miroslava Knapkova.
Andrea Hewitt had been working on her run in the lead-up to London, seeking some pace at the back end of the race after being outsprinted in recent events, but it was the speed set on the third of the four 2.5km laps around Hyde Park that ended her hopes of a medal.
She was with the leading group of five, but could not stay with them when the hammer came down.
"I had energy in the first two laps and then lost it on that third lap," she said.
Kate McIlroy was 10th and Nicky Samuels, who sacrificed herself to help Hewitt's quest for gold, was 35th.
Inside the velodrome a new national record was not enough to get the women's 3000m pursuit team into the ride-off for bronze, they had to settle for fifth.
Britain dominated the event breaking the world record on each of their three rides at the Games.
Eddie Dawkins failed to get past the round of 16 in the men's sprint, and Shane Archbold is seventh at the halfway stage of the omnium, the six-discipline event.
Another allrounder, heptathlete Sarah Cowley set a new personal best in the javelin but a below-par first day cost her dearly and she was 280 points below her PB of 6135 points in finishing 26th.
Darling of British athletics Jessica Ennis was unstoppable, thriving on fanatic home support to give them their first gold medal inside the vast Olympic Stadium which was soon followed by two more.
At the Riverbank Arena the Black Sticks women put the disappointment of losing their unbeaten record to Argentina behind them to beat the United States 3-2 to move joint top in their group with one match to play.
The women's 470 crew of Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie put themselves in medal-winning position with a solid day featuring two top-five finishes to move into first. Their male counterparts Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders are third.
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