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I recently had the opportunity to attend an awards dinner celebrating the six kiwi women that have won a gold medal at an Olympic Games.

WEST END TENNIS SERVES UP ANOTHER WEEKEND OF THE COUNTRY’S best up and coming tennis stars in the 2010 West End cup this month. The second in New Zealand’s four tournament long money circuit, the West End cup has provided some of the countries brightest talents with major opportunities. With the winner gaining the chance through a wild card entry to follow in the footsteps of Marcus Daniell, the 21 year old that caused great excitement this year when he won the 2010 Heineken Open Doubles Championship paired with Romanian Horia Tecau.

Yvette Corlett (nee Williams), Helsinki 1952; Barbara Kendall, Barcelona 1992; Sarah Ulmer, Athens 2004; Caroline Myer (nee Evers-Swindell) and Georgina Earl (nee Evers-Swindell), Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008; and Valerie Adams (formerly Villi), Beijing 2008. I was blown away by the fact New Zealand has had so many memorable sporting moments but how over such a long period of the Olympics we only have six women in this elite club. How it took 40 years for New Zealand to gain its second gold medal, and how similar all of these women are. Their can do attitude is something to be admired and replicated. It didn’t matter who you spoke to on the night they all said the same thing; if you put in the miles you got the results. They were all honoured to be part not only of the night, but of the six and felt the message was clear, if you put your mind to it you can do anything no matter where you come from, man or woman. (GEORGE BERRY) PN

VAST IMPROVEMENT IT’S AMAZING HOW WE GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN FROM OUR experiences and make the necessary changes to go one better. Nothing more apparent for now Ponsonby local “Aussie Will” (Will grew up in Bathurst, Australia but has been an honorary local since coming to work for the Edge radio station eight years ago, hence the nick-name Aussie Will.) Will told me that other than a few cross countries at primary school he’s not really a runner but, with the opportunity to be part of the Auckland Marathon and run across the Harbour bridge, he felt he just had to be one of the 12,000 enthusiasts with a similar idea. After two cracks at the half, Will made the step up to the full marathon last year and completed it in a creditable time of just over four hours; although he believed that he had it in him to post a faster time. On a recent trip to the UK, Will was joined by an Edge prize winner Stacey Knowles. Unbeknown to him at the time Stacey was crowned the Auckland marathon women’s champ in 2009 in a time of 3.07. Through discussion Will decided there was way more to running a marathon than just turning up on the day. Stacey built up a programme for Will; a nutrition, exercise, and recovery plan that would assist him in his endeavour to better his four hour two minute effort. Working as the producer of the Fletch and Vaughan show on the Edge can be a long and trying job so fitting in a programme to build towards completing his 42 km mission was never going to be easy. However once he found his feet pounding the pavement Will says “running out there on your own is a great way to refresh your mind. Producing the show you need to keep your finger on the pulse so some alone time is very much needed and running gave that to me.” October 26th came and as Will lined up at the start line in Devonport, he mulled over the possibility of crossing the finish line in around three hours 40 minutes. Around the windy roads of the North Shore and up over the bridge he found himself streaking past the half way mark after just one hour and 40 minutes. Out to Saint Heliers and back, hardly missing a beat, Will’s second half split came in at a near identical time of 1.42 to see him cross the line in an amazing three hours 22, smashing last years time by 40 minutes. Then to top it off Will boarded a 12 hour flight that night to Argentina. A reward to himself for his efforts, but if one talked to any full time athlete they would have told you it was an interesting, maybe even crazy decision, considering the days activities. Will however pulled up fine and loved his time away, and totally believes if it wasn’t for the plan that Stacey put in place he would never have come close to achieving the turn around from the year before. He told me it’s amazing how much he has learnt about forward and post planning through the event and how he now applies those lessons to his everyday life. Will’s time of 3.22 also saw him cross the line inside the top 10% of the 2,500 Marathon competitors. Congratulations to all of those who competed, the volunteers and the organising committee of the 2010 Auckland Marathon. (GEORGE BERRY) PN

18 PONSONBY NEWS+ December 2010

This year’s tournament starts on Thursday, 9 December with their fantastic initiative of allowing players of all ages and from other clubs to get out on court and have a hit around with the tournament’s competitors. This year the majority of the New Zealand Davis cup team will be there, including New Zealand’s number three Aucklander Rubin Statham. Marcus Daniell will also be out on court however will not play over the weekend, as he’s continuing to recover from a shoulder injury that kept him out of the recent Commonwealth games in Delhi. From Friday the courts will be in full swing, hosting knock out tennis until the big finale on Sunday afternoon. The grand stand will be open and free to spectators, along with the bar and café to keep you refreshed. This is the third time the NZMT has been held at West End and looks to be gaining some real momentum with the calibre of players it’s attracting. Rubin Statham’s picked to take out this year’s tournament and says it’s great to return to Auckland, “I live in Australia now but love to be back in the city of sails.” Although being picked as favourite he’s not sure he deserves that title. After his January heroics Marcus Daniell told me these local tournaments are where it all starts for young stars of tomorrow, and if not for his unfortunate shoulder injury you could have guaranteed he would be back to compete in the West End cup. “These sorts of tournaments with such big local crowds and support help you to prepare for the bigger international tournaments, they give you great tools how not to get overawed and caught up in the moment.” So if you’re looking for a weekend of fun and the chance get some close court action, along with the chance to see a few rising kiwi and international stars I suggest you get to West End Tennis club from the 10th to the 12th. Its free for spectators and the club’s located at the corner of West End Road and Fife Street. They’re also raising funds for their new club house so get along and support one of the oldest clubs in Auckland. (GEORGE BERRY) PN

WORLD’S BEST SERVED UP AT CLASSIC STANLEY STREET’S MAKEOVER LOOKS SET TO BE CELEBRATED IN STYLE with one of the world’s most notable tennis stars making her way down under for this years ASB classic. There was talk that the ASB classic and the Heineken open would take a back seat this year to the Australian Open; however through a stroke of luck Russian superstar Maria Sharipova contacted Richard Palmer and his crew and asked to play in January’s tournament. Sharipova has never been to New Zealand and said “I’m excited by the prospect of starting my season in Auckland and can’t wait to get there.” Having posed for numerous magazines around the world the 23 year old former world number one is well known for her sex appeal, however it must be said that her on-court grunts and groans cause most of the head turning seen at tennis tournaments. Tournament boss Richard Palmer said “I’m delighted with the prospect of such a player choosing to come and want to play; it’s getting harder and harder to compete with the Australian Open with the sort of prize money they have to offer. However with this line up I’m confident the spectators will get their moneys worth.” To cap off Sharipova’s inclusion in the tournament the once ranked number two in the world, Svetlana Kuznetsova, has also signed up to play. Kiwi Marcus Daniell won’t be back to defend his Heineken open doubles title the following week, still recovering from a shoulder injury that has kept him out of the later part of the year, however the 2007 champ Spain’s David Ferrer will return to have a crack at adding the 2011 title to his long list of accolades along with top 20 ranked John Isner as well as 2008 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber. The ASB classic is on in Auckland from 3-8 January with the Heineken Open underway from 10-15 January. You can get your tickets at and asbclassic. (GEORGE BERRY) PN PUBLISHED FIRST FRIDAY EACH MONTH (except January)

DECEMBER/JANUARY '10/ '11 Ponsonby News  

Christmas issue - covering December and January - news/views and all that is happening in and around Ponsonby