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Wednesday March 22, 2017

SPORTS

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Boxers make an impact Wellington Phoenix Academy graduates out to end almost thirty-year wait

Ieu Jerome Ropati, Raymond Seumanu and Manawa Lambert are shining lights at the Wainuiomata Boxing Club By David Crampton

Three Wainuiomata High students have returned from boxing events with encouraging results, some against more experienced boxers. The teens train at the Wainuiomata Boxing Club several times a week under head coach Craig Bennett. One, Raymond Seumanu, 15, wants to become a professional boxer and cleaned up at a competition in Hastings. The four-time national champion has an impressive 23-1 record, and is aiming for international honours next year. “We are realistically looking at international duties,” Craig said of Seumanu. “He has the potential to represent New Zealand at world Juniors – that’s what we are aiming for.” “He is the best that has been put out in New Zealand so far - in his age group.”

The other two, Manawa Lambert (13) and Jerome Ropati (14) boxed well in Wanganui recently, the latter against more seasoned competition. “He boxed against a boy from Gisborne who had more experience. It was a good start, it was his first ever boxing tournament, and he won the first and second rounds,” Craig said. Manawa was competing in his third competition. “He came away with a good result,” Craig said. Raymond, whose father Rico is a former boxer and a current referee and judge, wants to own his own gym one day. He used to attend bouts and watch Rico. Now he loves travelling around the country and wants to travel further afield and says he wants to win the World Junior champs. “It would mean the world to me.”

It’s been nearly three decades in the making for Wellington United but this Sunday Wellington Phoenix Academy’s young footballers will feature in their first Hilton-Petone Cup final. It’s another feather in the cap for the Academy’s program which follows last month’s call up of four boys, Liberato Cacere, Willem Ebbinge, Oliver Whyte and Jake Williams to represent New Zealand at the U17 OFC tournament, with Whyte scoring a last-minute semifinal winner to secure qualification for New Zealand to the FIFA U17 World Cup in India. February also saw Academy graduate Sarpreet Singh burst through into the Phoenix’s senior team, making his A-League debut, aged just 18. Boasting an average age of just over

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16, including two 14-year-olds and three 15-year-olds, the Academy boys, playing for Wellington United, have swept aside adult Central League opposition on route to the final, scoring 14 goals across four games. The Hilton-Petone Cup in Wellington’s premier pre-season knockout football tournament, and has been running in different forms since 1955. Miramar Rangers won that first event but for supporters of Wellington United it’s been a long wait since their last crown in 1989. Wellington United take on Petone A in the final this Sunday, March 26 at 2.30pm at Memorial Park in Petone, with the senior Phoenix team in action 7pm at Westpac Stadium against the Newcastle Jets. PBA

Epilepsy Information Evening Featuring Kate French and her Epilepsy Assist Dog, Wednesday 29 March 2017, 5.45pm - 7.15pm, Naenae Community Library, 341 Cambridge Terrace, Hillary Court, Naenae. To register phone 027 687 7498 or email judith.wn@ epilepsy.org.nz

Wainuiomata News 22-03-17  

Wainuiomata News 22-03-17

Wainuiomata News 22-03-17  

Wainuiomata News 22-03-17