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Thursday February 1, 2018

SPORT

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Staff clean up bays as running event looms Sport Wellington’s Round The Bays team and its staff spent last Thursday afternoon cleaning up the shoreline along Shelly Bay Road and Massey Road in the preparation for the Wellington’s premier fun run/walk on Sunday, February 18. Starting at Frank Kitts Park and ending at Kilbirnie Park, Cigna Round the Bays will see thousands of participants take part in the 6.5km, Active Families, Mitre 10 Buggy Walk, Bluebridge 10km and Cigna Achilles Half Marathon events – with the half marathon runners making their way out to a turnaround point at Scorching Bay. Cleaning up the beachside course for event day was a priority for the eco-conscious event team. “Some of the little beaches around Shelly Bay were just litter havens,” event director Anna Carrington says. “It

was very sad, so we are doing something about it.” The clean-up crew worked in groups to pick up rubbish along the coast where the half marathon course takes place. Broken glass and plastic were the main items found but there were a number of spots where people had dumped bagloads of rubbish. Helpers were treated to afternoon tea compliments of the Chocolate Fish Café as a thank you from the local business for their efforts. Since its inception in 1979 with just under 4000 participants, Cigna Round the Bays has grown to last year having over 14,300 take part in running or walking around Wellington’s scenic waterfront.  Registrations for the event can be made online at cignaroundthebays. co.nz.

Sport Wellington’s Round The Bays team and staff at Shelly Bay after Thursday’s beach cleanup. PHOTO: Supplied

OBITUARY

Tributes flow for Graham Williams By Jamie Adams

A funeral was held yesterday for former All Black and Wellington games record holder Graham Williams, who died last week after a long illness. Graham had been suffering from dementia and motor neurone disease. He would have turned 73 on Friday. Raised in Seatoun and a graduate of Rongotai College, Graham played for Oriental-Rongotai and was selected to play for the Wellington rep team as a school leaver, a rare feat in those days. He played a record 174 games as flanker for the Lions, finishing his long career in 1976. His career peaked in 1967 when he was

Graham Williams as an All Black in 1967. PHOTO: Supplied

selected for the All Blacks squad. He played 18 games for the All Blacks, including five tests. He scored 16 tries, including five in a tour match against Tasmania. He weighed only 90kg at his peak, notably light compared to the behemoths of today. Lifelong friend Peter Jack remembers Graham as brave, hard-working and extremely resilient. Peter notes one of the remarkable aspects of Graham was his ability to shrug off injury, recounting an incident where he fell off a footbridgewhile playing a round at Miramar Golf Club in 2011. “He dislocated his shoulder, yet he kept playing. That’s how tough he was - nothing would stop him.” Unbelievably, Graham continued to play rugby despite having his ear rucked off during a game against Auckland. It was later surgically reattached but he reportedly considered having it taped up so he could play on. Graham did not tour South Africa in 1970, not due to apartheid but because he put family first in the amateur era, Peter says. “He had work commitments and a young daughter and he felt he had to stay.” After retirement Graham was a principal partner of Williams and Adams, Wellington’s longest established and largest motor vehicle dealership. Wellington Mayor Justin Lester expressed his condolences when he heard of Graham’s passing. “Graham was a huge figure in rugby, and for many years was the pride of Wellington,” Justin says. “The Williams and Adams car dealership was a big employer in Wellington and Graham was always a popular boss, someone many people speak fondly of.”

Champs all go as new track finally laid Newtown Park’s athletics track is finally ready for use. Athletics Wellington senior track and field chairman Charlie Nairne confirmed that remedial work on the track had been completed by Wednesday in time for this weekend’s Wellington Centre Championships and Wellington Masters Championships. The park had been closed for much of summer as the council instructed contractor Polytan to replace its recently-laid synthetic track due to air

bubbles emerging under parts of it. The new track had not been completed in time for a major athletics meet to be held there late last month, forcing the event to be shifted to Whanganui. The cautious approach instructed by council officers led to concern that it would not be ready for this year’s two Wellington championships. However Athletics Wellington announced on Facebook on January 23 that the track would be ready for use by this week, weather permitting.

Sports talk

with Jacob Page

Women return serve at Aussie Open The women’s tennis at the Australian Open has been of high quality and may signal a resurgence for the women of the sport. After 15 years of men’s tennis dominating the landscape thanks to such surnames as Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, it seems like that era may be coming to an end. The women’s final between Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki was absorbing tennis across three sets between the two highest ranked players in the world. Wozniacki prevailed against a tiring top seed Halep who had survived match points and epic three setters earlier in the tournament. Halep’s tenacity had seen her win many admirers over the fortnight and I’m not ashamed to admit she was the reason I tuned into the women’s side of the draw. Wozniacki in her own right finally delivered on years of being the brides-

maid and never the bride. The duo look set to lead the women’s game into the next chapter while an ageing Serena Williams lurks in the background as she makes her return after becoming a mother late last year. It was refreshing to see compelling tennis that didn’t involve the big four. I’ve long zoned out of women’s matches at grand slams because of the vast number of champions at the top level over the past decade and the seemingly one-sided shorelines that have become the norm. The men’s is set to have a golden era end very soon and the time is right for the women to take the momentum and go with it. On a side note - Federer at 36 yearsold is phenomenal. Goes to show you that Father Time can be slowed if you are smart and manage your playing workload and don’t punish your joints too much on court.

Cook Strait News 01-02-18  

Cook Strait News 01-02-18

Cook Strait News 01-02-18  

Cook Strait News 01-02-18