Pupils farewelled after successful year

Bayfield High School's Eva Hofmans won Otago's sole single sculls medal in the girls under-18...
Bayfield High School's Eva Hofmans. Photo: Sharron Bennett
The Otago Academy of Sport has had a good year and celebrated by saying goodbye to 15 pupils last night.

The graduation ceremony was held at the longroom at the University of Otago Oval.

The evening marked the end of a two-year course which has helped provide some of the region's most promising athletes with a leg-up in their career.

Academy manager Michael Coutts said the event was an opportunity to farewell the athletes and wish them well.

"We will reflect on the past year and some of the successes we've had," he said.

"Everyone has done really well. I'd say there would probably be close to 80% of the athletes who have gone on to place nationally or, if not, are in national teams.

"It is awesome that we are there to help those athletes."

Erika Fairweather
Erika Fairweather
One of the star pupils, Erika Fairweather, still has a year to go in the programme.

The 15-year-old claimed gold in the 200m freestyle at the junior world championships in Hungary last month.

"She has obviously had a very successful year and as she keeps progressing we will be there to support her in anyway we can."

Rower Eva Hofmans has had an impressive 12 months as well. The 17-year-old Bayfield High School pupil was part of the New Zealand quadruple sculls crew which won gold at the world junior championships in Tokyo recently.

"She credits her work at the academy as contributing to her success. And at the same regatta we had Ben Mason who is year one in the programme. His quad made the final as well but did not get the same result.

"But for him to be part of that final was an awesome achievement as well."

Women's motocross world champion Courtney Duncan applied to be part of the academy in 2016 but was going to miss a big chunk of the course while overseas competing.

"But for the last couple of years we've done more of a wrap-around individual service for her to improve her strength and conditioning, mental skills, athlete life and nutritional support."

"This would be up there with our most successful group of athletes in one year."

Otago Academy of Sport 

Graduated athletes

Year one: Erika Fairweather, Jessica Scott (swimming), Ben Mason (rowing), Dyani Shepherd-Oates (athletics), Sara Cooper, James Nicolson (hockey), Hanna Matehaere, Nathan Hanna (basketball), Maarten De Ridder (judo), Kaya Laban (netball), Talei Pelasio (netball, touch), Jack Divers (triathlon), Ben Baines, Liam Wilson (athletics).

Year two: Ashley Dickinson (ice hockey), Sam Bremer (athletics), Zoe Thomas (football), Olivia Gold (surf lifesaving), Tegan Buchanan, Dylan Quigg Thomas (hockey), Eva Hofmans, Jack McLaughlan (rowing), McKayler Moore (touch), Zharna Beattie, Anton Schroder (athletics), Riley Hall (karate), Jessica Faulks (touch, hockey)


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