Women judokas collect Oceania honours

New Zealands female judokas Darcina Manuel and Moira de Villiers have collected medals at the Oceania Open event in Australia, while securing valuable points towards Olympic selection.

Manuel, a bronze medallist at last years Commonwealth Games, won silver in the womens 57kg class, while London Olympian and Commonwealth silver medallist de Villiers won her bout for the bronze medal in the 70kg division.

The two-day competition in Wollongong was a key opportunity for New Zealand judokas vying for Rio Olympic selection to collect world ranking points. Sam Rosser (+100kg) and Ivica Pavlinic (81kg) were the best of the New Zealand men, both finishing seventh.


Burling and Tuke crowned worlds best on water

The status of Kiwi sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke has grown even more formidable at this weeks 49er world championships, having captured the Rolex World Sailor of the Year award.

The international accolade went to Burling and Tuke for their outstanding record in the 49er class, racking up 21 straight regatta wins since collecting silver at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Burling is also the Moth world champion, and both sailors have helped propel Emirates Team New Zealand to the overall lead in the Americas Cup World Series. This week, they aim for a third straight world title in Argentina. 

The New Zealand womens crew of Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, ranked No. 1 in the world, are hot favourites in the 49erFX world championships also being raced off Buenos Aires this week.

Vaulter Eliza McCartney soars closer to Rio

For the second week running, Eliza McCartney has set a New Zealand pole vault record, boosting her chances of competing at the Rio Olympics.

Eighteen-year-old McCartney cleared 4.50m on her first attempt at an athletics meeting at Aucklands Mt Smart Stadium on the weekend, bettering the New Zealand resident record of 4.35m set the previous week.  Her new record is also the B standard mark for 2016 Olympic nomination.

McCartney, a bronze medallist at last years world junior championships, says it is an amazing feeling to achieve the standard so early in her athletics season, and she can now concentrate on clearing new heights to be competitive in Rio.

Naylor and Flynn back in Black Sticks

Emily Naylor, New Zealands most-capped womens hockey player, has returned to the Black Sticks for next months FIH World League Final in Argentina.

Naylor, with 257 caps to her name, has recovered from the hamstring injury which kept her out of last months Oceania championships in Stratford. Also back in the side is experienced striker Gemma Flynn.

The Black Sticks will use the tournament in Rosario to focus on goal-scoring and clinching wins in close games ahead of the Rio Olympics. A squad of 25 will be named at the end of the year to work towards a final selection of 16 to play in Rio next year.


Condolences on the death of triathlete Laurent Vidal

Many of us have joined together in sending heartfelt sympathy to Kiwi triathlete Andrea Hewitt after the death of her French fianc and coach, Laurent Vidal.

Thirty-one-year-old Vidal, who finished fifth in the London Olympic mens triathlon, passed away in his sleep in Gigean, France. He has been farewelled at a funeral service in Sete, where the couple lived.   

Vidal had retired from competition last year, and was concentrating on coaching Hewitt, the first athlete selected for the New Zealand team for the 2016 Olympic Games.

NZOC internationally recognised for promoting women in sport

The New Zealand Olympic Committee will continue its outstanding work promoting women in sport after being recognised with the 2015 IOC World Trophy for Women in Sport in Lausanne.

The head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, presented Kereyn Smith, CEO of the NZOC, with the prestigious award, which acknowledged the NZOCs steps to increase the number of women in decision-making and leadership positions within the organisation and the wider sporting community. 

Among the NZOCs continuing activities to promote gender balance in New Zealand sport is a year-long research project on New Zealand women in the sports media building up to Rio 2016 research Smith hopes will be rolled out internationally.

BMX Olympic silver medallist Sarah Walker, also in Lausanne for the awards ceremony, donated the black PEAK tracksuit she wore on the medal podium to the Olympic Museum.



Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Eliza McCartney Blair Tuke Peter Burling
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