May 16, 2016
Aotearoa victorious with Manukau assist
A win to Manukau capped what has been a remarkable week for Aotearoa waka ama.
New Zealand-based clubs dominated the World Va'a Sprint Championships at Lake Kanawa in Queensland, with Aotearoa for the first time beating Tahiti on the medal table … 30 gold, 27 silver and 22 bronze to 24, 16 and 7 respectively.
Australia came third with 11 golds, followed by Hawaii with 9.
James Papalii from the Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club says the rivalry continued to the last race, the 500 metre sprint for all the men's V6 teams.
"This is the ultimate, like the 100 metre sprint in athletics, and it ended up being between clubs from Tahiti and Manukau, the club we started down at Mangere Bridge, and our boys in Vaka Manu Manukau took it out by a nose, it was awesome," he says.
James Papalii says Tahiti has always set the benchmark for waka ama, so the result is testament to the effort and organisation of clubs up and down the country.
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