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Humble Lett weighs up future

Dane Lett beats an Indians player in a Wellington Premier game at Clareville. PHOTO/FILE


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New Zealand hockey international Dane Lett is proud and humbled to have won the Wairarapa Times-Age Supreme Sports Award for the second consecutive time.

Lett was named the winner of the region’s premier sports award and the Back in Action Senior Sports Personality during an online ceremony from the Carterton Events Centre on Monday night after the planned gala event was cancelled because of covid-19 restrictions.

“You don’t play team sports to try and go out and win individual awards, but it’s a good acknowledgement for a lot of hard work, and I guess it’s more of a celebration for the people around me, who have helped me to do those things,” said the 88-cap international.

“I don’t particularly like being in the limelight or anything like that, but it’s really good recognition and something I’m proud of.”

Unfortunately, a work commitment prevented Lett from watching the awards, but his proud parents Bernie and Karen let him know that he was victorious.

Lett took out the top gong for playing a pivotal role for the Black Sticks in the International Hockey Pro League and the successful Olympic qualifying series for the Tokyo Games against South Korea in November 2019.

He also won a silver medal with the Blacks Sticks at the 2019 Oceania Cup in Rockhampton.

On the domestic scene, Lett represented the champion Central Falcons in the inaugural National Premier League in 2020 and was player-coach for the Dalefield premier men’s side, leading them to consecutive Wellington premier championships in 2019 and 2020.

Since the end of the 2019-2020 award period, Lett has competed at the Tokyo Olympics, where the Black Sticks failed to qualify for the quarterfinals.

He said he had no regrets but was disappointed that the team didn’t place higher from a tough group, although he felt they had prepared well for the hot, humid conditions in Tokyo.

“It’s kind of hard to compare it with anything else you play in because you never felt at your best physically, and you’re always trying to play with a bit of fatigue or discomfort.

“We trained really well for it, and I did a lot of preparation as well, so when we got there, it wasn’t overwhelming or a distraction.

“It was kind of what we expected, and in some ways, it wasn’t quite as challenging or difficult as I thought it might have been, probably because we’d done so much prep work and expected the worst.”

Since the Olympics, the 31-year-old has been enjoying some time with his partner Kelsi Rutene and son Rio, and he is uncertain about his plans, with hockey taking a back seat with the cancellation of the national league and a test series against Australia.

“I’ve still been training hard, doing a lot of individual stuff, fitness and strength work, so when things do pop up, then I’m ready. But it’s been a quiet few months on the hockey front.

“I haven’t really given too much thought to what I want to do with hockey and if I want to keep playing at that level or whether it’s time for me and I’ve just got to see what happens over the next few months and see how I’m feeling and see how the programme fits with work and family and stuff.”

Lett said the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July remain on the radar.

“That’s a real big and enjoyable event for sport, and the Gold Coast Games where we got silver is probably my favourite ever event, so that’s definitely got quite a bit of appeal to me.

“But I will see how it fits with everything else. We’ve got a World Cup in January 2023, so it will be a busy next 12 months if everything goes to plan.”

Regardless of his international future, the Lett hopes to be back in the black and yellow of Dalefield in 2022, helping the team challenge for their fifth Wellington premier title.

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