Brett lights up South Island Champs

Teenage talent Olivia Brett ignited the 2020 South Island Canoe Sprint Championships on Lake Ruataniwha by claiming a deluge of seven gold medals with a stellar display.

In calm and mostly sunny conditions in South Canterbury, the former K1 200m World Junior finalist of the Arawa Club dominated the open women’s division.

The 19-year-old stormed to a comprehensive victory in the K1 200m from club-mate Claudia Rogers before later holding off Brittany Marquet to strike gold in the women’s K1 500m.

Brett then teamed up with Brooklyn Saunders to take out the K2 200m and 500m events.

Brett, 19, also featured in the victorious mixed K2 200m crew – alongside Thomas MacGibbon – and added gold medals as part of the university K4 200m and university mixed relay events to cap a stunning individual display.

Arawa team-mates Fred Teear and Steven Armstrong were the stand out performers in the open men’s division, snaring a combined six gold medals between them.

The experienced 35-year-old Teear prevailed in a competitive K1 200m edging James Munro (Otago) by 0.30 in a time of 40.79 with Thomas MacGibbon in bronze. 

Teear then teamed up with Alex Hickman to mine more gold in the K2 200m and K2 1000m events.

Armstrong, who placed fourth in the K1 200m, gained the ascendency in the longer distance to claim decisive wins in the K1 500m ahead of Munro in 1:56.10 and then K1 1000m in a time 3:56.74 ahead of 2019 World KL2 200m bronze medallist and Para canoeist Scott Martlew with Teear claiming bronze. Armstrong crowned an impressive regatta with victory in the K1 5km event from Hickman.

Under-18 paddler Thomas MacGibbon completed a heavy workload across the two-day regatta by winning not only open men’s K1 200m and K1 500m bronze medals but a further nine gold medals on Lake Ruataniwha.

The Arawa club paddler secured under-18 men’s gold in the K1 200m and K2 200m and K2 500m events alongside Alex Hickman. MacGibbon had to concede defeat to Hickman in the K1 1000m but also featured in the triumphant open mixed K2 200m, open mixed K4 200m and open men’s K4 500m. To add further gloss to an unforgettable regatta, MacGibbon added gold in the U18 K4 mixed 500m events and the Inter Schools Relay and Inter Club Relay. 

Madison Garrett of the Arawa club also impressed in the age-groups to take a magnificent seven gold medals. In the under-18 women’s division she struck gold in the K1 200m, K2 200m and K2 500m – the latter two races alongside Mia Roadley. Garrett also teamed up with Liam Walker to take out the U18 K2 mixed 200m. She was also victorious in the U16 women’s K1 200m and also featured in the triumphant open women’s K4 500m crew and Inter Schools Relay team.

Other multiple gold medal paddlers included Guy Roadley who claimed top spot in the U16 K1 200m, K1 500m and K2 500m – alongside Liam Rogers .

Livia Brookes (Arawa) also impressed to take gold in the women’s U14 K1 200m and K2 200m and K2 500m races alongside Sammie Fowler. She also teamed up with Natasha MacGibbon to snare gold in the U16 women’s K2 500m and featured in the gold medal winning Buddy Relay and Inter Schools Relay teams.

MacGibbon herself collected an impressive haul of five gold medals adding victory in the U18 and U16 women’s K1 500m races, Inter Schools and Inter Club relay events to her U18 K2 500m gold.

In the primary/intermediate South Island schools category Isla McKenzie (Arawa) claimed a hat-trick of gold medals in the K1 100m, K1 200m and K1 500m disciplines.

Arawa’s David Knight dominated the men’s masters events to strike gold in the K1 200m, K1 1000m, K2 200m, K2 1000m and K4 500m. To cap an outstanding weekend of action he also featured in the winning Buddy Relay team.

For full results go here

Words: Steve Landells

Images: Karlene Ward