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Masters athletes bring home medals

The gold medal-winning Tui Wairarapa hockey team. Back row: Ronnie Stallard, left, Sally Dryland, Libby Paterson, Barbara Milina, Frankie Spite, Amanda Draper, Amanda McLeod, Bevan Brown (coach), Zella Atawhai Janes (manager), Helen Gibbs. Front row: Jane Cullen, left, Catherine Rossiter-Stead, Kat Horsbrugh, Catherine Smith, Judy Brown, Sandy Taylor, Gill Flower. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Jake Beleski

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The Tui Wairarapa women’s hockey team capped off a successful World Masters Games for Wairarapa athletes by winning gold in the women’s 45+ hockey competition on Sunday.

The team played six games in eight days in the B-grade competition, winning five of those including a 1-0 win in the final against L&P.

The B-grade was for club and representative players, while the A-grade was for ex-internationals.

Katherine Horsbrugh proved the hero, scoring the gold medal-winning goal in the 44th minute of the match.

Captain Judy Brown said team culture had been important to their success.

“We’ve all probably played at a good club level and maybe representative level, and we basically pick people who will work hard but also enjoy themselves — they have to fit with our team.

“We all get on and I think that’s why we have good results.”

She credited their bright orange uniforms for allowing all the players to see each other, and said the only down side to their time at the event was Auckland’s notoriously dodgy traffic.

“The hockey was run really well, but Auckland traffic was horrendous compared to Sydney eight years ago where we jumped on the tube or the buses and could go and watch different sports.

“That was a shame because we couldn’t see as much as we wanted to.”

The 2021 games are scheduled to be held in Kansai, Japan, and Brown said they would consider trying to repeat their success.

Deborah Hambly with three of her four medals won at the World Masters Games. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

“If the body holds up, the mind is willing.

“But it’s still four years away, so whether we’ll go to that one, I don’t know . . . there’s a lot of factors that go into it.”

In the swimming events, Masterton swimmer Deborah Hambly brought home four medals of her own in the 45-49 category.

She picked up bronze medals in the 100m butterfly and 400m individual medley, as well as silvers in the 200m butterfly and the championship 1.5km ocean swim.

Her butterfly results were especially pleasing, she said.

“I was really happy with my butterfly times because they were nearly 20 seconds faster than 18 months ago.”

She said the event had given her a chance to make friends with people she didn’t know from the New Zealand swimming circuit, as well as being a great networking event to meet people from other countries.

Masterton cyclist Lesley Mouat was another who had a successful time at the event, coming back with a gold medal and silver medal for her efforts in the time trial and road race respectively.

Mouat competed in the women’s 60-64 category, and only just missed out on winning two golds when she was beaten in a sprint-finish in the road race.

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