Home' Northern Outlook : September 4th 2013 Contents 31
NORTHERN OUTLOOK, SEPTEMBER 4, 2013
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Fans at home key
part of world title
By MAT KERMEEN
WORLD CHAMPION: New Zealand under-21 netball player Gemma Hazeldine and partner Matt
Etheredge show off her gold medal.
AS MANY netball followers wiped the sleep
from their eyes and fired up their com-
puters at 4am on Sunday, North Canter-
bury's Gemma Hazeldine was buzzing with
Just over an hour later Hazeldine and
her teammates would be crowned world
champions after defeating Australia in the
final of the world youth championships in
Australia was heavily favoured before
the final in Glasgow but were upset 52-47
by the determined Kiwis.
We knew we had it won with about a
minute to go and it was just the most amaz-
All of a sudden it hit us and I don't think
any of us could believe it.''
Hazeldine was on the other side of the
world, but the North Canterbury com-
munity was quick to send their best wishes
-- as they had done all tournament.
Within minutes of the victory, texts,
Facebook messages and emails flooded in.
It's been amazing the amount of support
I've had. It's really, really cool.
North Canterbury has been absolutely
amazing and I'm so lucky to have all of
Hazeldine did not take the court in the
final but had played a key role in the tour-
nament, especially in the semifinal win
The 21 year old came on as injury
replacement in the final quarter when the
match was in the balance.
It all happened so quickly. I didn't think
I was going to get on, then all of a sudden
One of the best feelings of the tourna-
ment was walking across the court to thank
the Kiwi supporters after the final whistle.
In the stands were Hazeldine's mother
Polly, and Gemma's partner Matt Eth-
eredge -- a talented sportsman in his own
That was really cool to share that
moment with them . . . there was a lot of
hugs and a few tears.''
Gemma's proud father Stan was unable
to make the trip, but was cheering on from
the family home watching the live stream.
Hazeldine and Etheredge have remained
in Europe after the world championships.
A former Kaiapoi rugby player, Eth-
eredge hopes to recover from a shoulder
injury to take up a rugby contract in the
The sporting couple will carry a travel
companion that is never far from sight.
I'm just so happy, I love showing every-
one my medal.''
Teen makes noteworthy showing in new grade
HAPPY FOURTH: Anton Cooper
on his way to fourth spot in South
Africa. Photo: MARIUS MAASEWERD
By MAT KERMEEN
WOODEND TEENAGER Anton
Cooper lived up to the hype sur-
rounding his first world cham-
pionship ride in the under-23
grade in South Africa.
The 19 year old recovered from
a slow start in unseasonable wet
conditions at the Cascades Moun-
tain Bike Park in Pieter-
maritzburg to finish fourth -- just
seven seconds off the bronze
Last year's junior world cham-
pion had been lumped with much
expectation, despite a season left
in tatters by illness.
He only returned to riding two
months before Saturday morn-
Cooper was more than happy
with his efforts in what he
described as a really fast race'',
especially after starting near the
back of the field.
Not many first year riders are
able to finish in the top five in
their first year in the under-23s,
so I am really happy with that.''
Cooper will be eligible to ride in
the grade for three more world
He dropped to 13th mid-race
but stormed home to be the fastest
rider over the final two laps.
I was disappointed to feel like I
did in the first few laps but also
happy to hang in there for the
I am really, really pleased with
how I rode the last few laps.''
The race was won by European
champion Gerhard Kerschbau-
mer, who rode for Italy at the
The Italian, in his final year in
the grade, finished 31 seconds
ahead of Cooper.
Two days earlier, Cooper joined
forces with Dirk Peters, Sam Gaze
and London Olympian Karen
Hanlen to secure eighth place for
New Zealand in the combination
relay cross-country event.
Unfortunately Cooper's cham-
pionships ended with a nasty
crash in the elimination races the
day after his cross country
Despite being badly winded and
suffering minor bruising, he esca-
ped relatively unscathed.
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