Maui News

Mauians Strike Gold at ‘Olympics of Outrigger Paddling’

May 14, 2016, 6:14 AM HST
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Hawaiʻi 70-and- older women paddlers accept gold and silver medals on the Kawana Sports Stadium podium amidst hoopla and flashing cameras Tuesday at the 2016 International Vaʻa Federation World Sprints being staged this week in Queensland, Australia. Photo by Jeremy Jameson.

Hawaiʻi 70-and- older women paddlers accept gold and silver medals on the Kawana Sports Stadium podium amidst hoopla and flashing cameras Tuesday at the 2016 International Vaʻa Federation World Sprints being staged this week in Queensland, Australia. Photo by Jeremy Jameson.

By Kekoa Enomoto – A Special to Maui Now

KAWANA, Australia — Maui septuagenarians struck gold at the Olympics of outrigger paddling.

Hawaiian and Kīhei canoe clubs of the Valley Isle led crews to a 1-2 sweep, respectively, at the 2016 World Sprints on Tuesday in the 12-person, double-hull race over 500 meters for women 70 and older.

“This is an accomplishment for the state of Hawaiʻi and for all people, who feel their capabilities are diminished with age,” said Jerry Jameson, spouse of gold medalist Donna Neuhart of Haʻikū.

She was a member of the Hawaiian Canoe Club crew that joined with Keahiakahoe Canoe Club of Oahu to be acclaimed world champions in a time of 2:39:05. Kīhei teamed with Ānuenue Canoe Club of Oahu to place second in 2:42:59. Panamuna of Australia was third in 2:45:23.

Hawaiʻi septuagenarian men swept their division in the 500-meter double-hull race Tuesday at World Sprints Down Under. Crews singing “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi” are (from left) bronze medalists from Keahiakahoe Canoe Club, the world-champion Kīhei/Outrigger crew, and silver medalists of Ānuenue Canoe Club of Waikīkī. Photo by Kekoa Enomoto.

Hawaiʻi septuagenarian men swept their division in the 500-meter double-hull race Tuesday at World Sprints Down Under. Crews singing “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi” are (from left) bronze medalists from Keahiakahoe Canoe Club, the world-champion Kīhei/Outrigger crew, and silver medalists of Ānuenue Canoe Club of Waikīkī. Photo by Kekoa Enomoto.

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Kīhei Canoe Club also spearheaded a Hawaiʻi sweep of 70-and- older men in the same event: 12-person, double-hull race for 500 meters. Kīhei and Outrigger Canoe Club of Oahu collaborated for gold in a time of 2:08:33, followed by Ānuenue in 2:09:53, and Keahiakahoe in 2:11:27. {Kīhei crew member Don Lee is at 808-281- 9559}

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“It was worth all the work and training,” said Hawaiian Canoe Club crew leader Mary Akiona of Wailuku. “We couldn’t have done it without our coach, Ozzie Clarke,” she added of the 35-year- old mentor, who is of an age of be any crew member’s grandson.

Hawaiian/Keahiakahoe gold medalists are Sally Ann Delos Reyes, Kekoa Enomoto, Aulani Takatsuka, Akiona and Donna Neuhart of Hawaiian Canoe Club; Thelma Madali, Joy Schoenecker and Sarah Jane Watson of Keahiakahoe; Jane Bockus and Lonny Higgins of Keauhou Canoe Club of Hawaiʻi island; Lavaina Lindsey of Keaukaha Canoe Club of Hilo, and Nancy Perry of Kailua Canoe Club of Oʻahu.

Kīhei/Ānuenue runners-up are Bebe Ferrari, Joy Nelson, Audrey Quinn, Renee Riley and Diane Wetzel of Kīhei; Nalani Amona, Sharon Skouge and Joyce Spoehr of Ānuenue; Lori Auhll of New Hope Canoe Club of Oʻahu; Barbara Bryan of Outrigger; Maxine Magnani of Kamehameha of Hilo, and Patsy Sheehan of Namolokama of Kauaʻi.

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More than 3,000 participants represent some 27 countries at World Sprints, which continues through May 15 at the venue an hour north of Brisbane. Hawaiian Airlines is the major sponsor of the week-long International Vaʻa Federation event. See website vaaworldsprints.com.

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