Graduands from Otago Academy of Sport bursting with potential

Otago Academy of Sport graduands at the University Oval last night were (from left) Hannah Sime (18), Ezekiel Pine (20), Tom Gold (18), Madi Wills (17), Jess Tyrrell (18), Grace Southby (17), Annabelle Ring (18), Annie Timu (19), Harriett Cuttance (18), M
Otago Academy of Sport graduands at the University Oval last night were (from left) Hannah Sime (18), Ezekiel Pine (20), Tom Gold (18), Madi Wills (17), Jess Tyrrell (18), Grace Southby (17), Annabelle Ring (18), Annie Timu (19), Harriett Cuttance (18), Maia Joseph (19), James Gardner (16), Lachie Colquhoun (18), Cole Gibbons (17), Cameron Moffitt (18), Reuben Cook (18), Ben Kay (16), Georgie McCarthy (17), Ella Booth (16), Hayley Marx (21) and Taylor Duffy (21). PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Some of Otago’s most promising athletes got to celebrate their success at the Otago Academy of Sport graduation ceremony last night.

The event was held at the Longroom at the University Oval.

Teenage swimmer Erika Fairweather featured as a guest speaker. She gave a brief presentation on her Olympic journey and Dunedin rower Ben Mason also talked about his 1000km row to raise money for breast cancer research.

Otago Academy of Sport programme manager Carmel Leslie said the graduation group was a good crop who had a tough couple of years with Covid-19 continually providing barriers.

‘‘But Reuben Cook had an outstanding rowing season and was selected for the New Zealand under-19 men’s quad.

‘‘He has his sight set on Paris.’’

Netballer and cricketer Harriett Cuttance played for the Southern Blast National Netball League team and is part of the wider Otago Sparks squad.

‘‘She is very much keeping both options open and that is the beauty because she is still in that development stage.’’

Halfback-cum-first five Maia Joseph had a strong year for the Otago Spirit in what was a tough year for the side in the Premiership.

Javelin thrower Ethan Walker dominated the under-20 section at the nationals. He threw 6m further than anyone else.

Cyclist James Gardner has had a strong year on the bike. Annabelle Ring is a member of the Otago Goldrush basketball team.

Annie Timu played premier club netball and is a rising touch rugby star.

‘‘A lot of our athletes are developing beautifully.’’

Luge competitor Ella Cox missed the graduation event as she has headed over to Europe to begin her season.

And gun hockey player Patrick Ward is at the New Zealand under-18 training camp and could not make it as well.

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