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Quality aplenty in Senior finalists

In the last in the series on the finalists for the Wairarapa
Times-Age Sports Awards, CHRIS COGDALE profiles the Senior Sportswomen and Sportsman categories.


Cushla Abraham – Woolhandling

Cushla Abraham represented New Zealand in two woolhandling tests against Australia after winning the Alexandra fine wool woolhandling national title.

Abraham paired with Angela Stevens, the daughter of four-time Golden Shears Open champion John Kirkpatrick, to upset a more experienced Australian team by six points in Bendigo in November 2022. However, in the second test at the Golden Shears in Masterton, Australia reversed the result, with the series finishing tied at 1-1.

Ocean Bartlett – Cricket

Ocean Bartlett was selected for the NZ Cricket development team tour of India.

The leg-spinner allrounder captained the side in two wins over the West Indies; however, the Indians were a different proposition, with the side losing all five games.

Bartlett went on to make her Hallyburton Johnstone Shield debut for the Central Hinds in their six-wicket win over Northern Districts.

Against Canterbury, she claimed her best figures of 4-60 in her brief List A career.

Sarah Linton – Barefoot Waterskiing, Muay Thai

Sarah Linton won a team’s silver medal and was the sixth-best woman at the 2023 world barefoot waterskiing championships in Australia.

Competing in her seventh world championships, Linton improved one spot from her seventh-place finish at the previous world championships in 2018 in Canada with a fifth place in the open women’s jump, sixth in the tricks, and seventh in the slalom.

At the 2022 Oceania Water ski championships, Linton won a gold medal as the first women’s ultimate skier champion, two silver medals, and three bronze medals.

Linton was also selected for the NZ Blackgloves team to compete at the 2023 World Muay Thai Championships in Thailand in May.

Tanya Wheeler – Bowls

Martinborough’s Tanya Wheeler secured a spot in Wairarapa sporting history with a dramatic victory in the National Champion of Champions singles final.

Wheeler came from 16-19 down in the race to 21 shots against Linda Ralph from the powerhouse Carlton-Cornwall club in Auckland, picking up four shots in the penultimate end and then a single shot in the final end to become the first Wairarapa women to win the coveted title.

Wheeler qualified for the Champion of Champions event in Hastings by being the Martinborough club champion and then winning a tournament to represent Wairarapa.



Corban Mita –
Mixed Martial Arts

Corban Mita won three gold medals for New Zealand at the WKA mixed martial arts at the World Championships in Wales, coming out on top in three different categories.

Mita from Undisputed MMA won gold medals in the men’s 67.1-70kg Combat Boxing, Muay Thai, and Glory Rules and finished as the top individual for New Zealand on the medals table.

Dane Lett – Hockey

Dane Lett reached a personal milestone, making his 100th international appearance for the Black Sticks in the opening match at the 2022 Hockey World Cup in India, a 3-1 victory over Chile. The Black Sticks went on to equal their best performance at a World Cup in finishing seventh.

At the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, New Zealand failed to repeat their silver medal effort of 2018, finishing fifth after missing a place in the semifinals.

Lett also captained Wellington to finish second to Otago at the 2022 National Championships in Dunedin and was player-coach of the Dalefield side, who were third in the Wellington premier men’s championship.

Dwane Garrett – Drag Racing

Dwane Garrett was rewarded for consistency over the 2022-23 season, winning the Top Door Slammer National Championship.

Garrett, in his ‘Torquing Heads’ Chev Camaro, won the Wellington Invasion at Auckland’s Meremere Dragway.

Garrett capped his season in March with a stunning victory at Masterton over Kiwi drag racing legend Tony Marsh in the fastest time and highest speed of the meeting at 6.295 seconds at 221.80mph, with Marsh narrowly behind in 6.395 seconds at 215.83mph.

Paerata Abraham – Shearing

Paerata Abraham won the national circuit final for the New Zealand Shearing Championships in Te Kuiti, earning selection for the New Zealand team to compete in Scotland and Wales this June and July.

Abraham won several speed shears throughout New Zealand and Australia, including bagging a $10000 windfall for winning the Hamilton Speed Shear in Victoria.

He also made many shearing finals throughout New Zealand. Those included the Golden Shears Open final, where he was first to complete shearing his 20 sheep in 15 minutes 43.88 seconds.

Abraham was fifth overall in his first finals appearance since 2016.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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