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Crossing ditch to compete

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Graham Oberlin-Brown and Daniel MurtaghTE AWAMUTU rowers Graham Oberlin-Brown (left) and Daniel Murtagh at Lake Karapiro, where they train as part of the Rowing New Zealand Academy. 237051AD

Local rowers in NZ U-21 team

By Cathy Asplin

Training hard twice daily for months has paid off for Te Awamutu Rowers Graham Oberlin-Brown (17) and Daniel Murtagh (19).

They leave the country on Saturday, as part of the New Zealand Under-21 contingent, to compete in the 2005 Youth Cup Regatta in Australia.

Graham is the only secondary school student from the North Island, while Daniel is currently studying at Waikato University.

The Youth Cup is contested by seven teams representing each Australian district and two from New Zealand (representing the North Island and South Island).

All teams will be competing for a trophy named after former New Zealand coach Rusty Robertson, with points awarded for placings, while individual crews will be chasing medals. The three-day regatta at West Lakes (Adelaide) includes lightweight and open class athletes.

Graham is one of the lightweight rowers (under 74kg) and will contest the double with Mark Troupe-Paul (Auckland), then team up with Daniel in the quad and eight. He was initially chasing a spot as reserve, but hard work and perseverance has seen him force his way into the team, which is part of the Rowing NZ Academy system.

Coach Dave Rodger says Graham is an up-and-coming athlete who has worked hard to be where he is today.

Cameron Corkill and Liam O’Halloran
OHAUPO residents Cameron Corkill and Liam O’Halloran (pictured training as a pair on Lake Karapiro) are also members of the Rowing NZ Team heading to Australia to compete in the 2005 Youth Cup. 237053AD

“If you want to put in the work, you’re enthusiastic and keen to succeed, then the rewards will come your way. Graham is a perfect example of that.”

Mr Rodger says Daniel was close to being selected for the team last year, but didn’t make it, and has also put in plenty of hard work to secure a spot this year.

“Daniel was knocking on the door last year, but wasn’t quite there. He’s had a good summer and performed well to make the team this year.”

Both rowers have been training twice daily, usually six days a week at Lake Karapiro, for several months. Mr Rodger says he is pleased to see rowers from country clubs, such as Te Awamutu, coming through the system.

“Like others, they have learned if they work hard within their club, do the right things and aspire to the top, they can be part of a national system that can take them all the way to the World Championships.”

‘Where there’s a will there’s a way...’

Jody Oberlin-Brown

Most parents are strong supporters of their children’s sporting efforts and none more so than Jody Oberlin-Brown (pictured left at a North Island Secondary Schools rowing regatta). Her enthusiasm at rowing regattas is legendary, so it was no surprise when her son Graham (pictured above) was named to compete in the 2005 Youth Cup she was keen to be there to cheer him on.

The cost of the trip to Adelaide and a busy time on the farm were two major factors against her going to follow the New Zealand team. But, as they say ‘where there’s a will - there’s a way’. Thanks to a wonderful piece of luck, she will be heading off to Australia next week.

Mrs Oberlin-Brown won a fundraising raffle organised by Beattie Home in Otorohanga, which offered two Freedom Air tickets to Australia as first prize. She will be travelling with another ‘rowing mum’ Jenny Barugh, while Te Awamutu Rowing Club coach Clive Steenson is also making the trip to Adelaide.

They will no doubt keep the Kiwi flag flying and make plenty of noise on the shores of the West Lakes in South Australia.