Thu, Dec 30, 2021 6:57 AM

Year in sport: Icons we lost, Waimai crowned queens.

Ngaire Galloway relives memories of the Olympic Games with her granddaughter Gina Galloway, who competed in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

Jonty Dine

Another year disrupted by a global pandemic however there was still plenty of sport played in 2021. Sports Reporter Jonty Dine looks back at some of the season highlights.

Lost legends
Nelson boxing coach Les Rackley Snr. passed away at age 92 in June. Les' renowned gym, the Bishopdale Scout Den, was the breeding ground for many famous boxers including his own sons to national and international acclaim. Described as a fiery perfectionist, Les always sent his boxers into the ring well equipped to acquit themselves with honour. His fighters claimed 55 New Zealand titles, 20 South Island titles and more than 50 provincial titles between 1968 and 1986. Les himself fought as a welterweight in England, learning his craft in the army and the merchant navy before immigrating to New Zealand in 1949. He coached and trained New Zealand boxing teams from 1972 to 1982, a period which included the 1974 and 1982 Commonwealth Games and the Oceania Games in 1973 and 1975. Also lost in 2021 was New Zealand’s oldest Olympian, Ngaire Galloway, who passed away at age 95. Ngaire competed in the 1948 Olympic Games in London as the only female in the New Zealand team. The swimmer came second in her 100m backstroke heat, seventh in her semi-final, and finished 11th overall. She even took home a bronze medal as the Australasian team finished third in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay.

Green makes immediate impact
Claudia Green was included in the New Zealand XI to play two warm-up one-dayers in Queenstown against an England team in February. The young seamer ripped through the Englishwomen to take 5-48 from 8.4 overs. Claudia had also been in the wickets after opening the attack in the first warm-up fixture two days earlier, finishing with 2-31 off six. She will hope to make her White Ferns debut against India in the upcoming series.

Mikaela’s medal haul
Mikaela Macdonald took home another impressive haul of medals at the National Speed Skating Bank Track Championships in Timaru earlier this year. The Nayland College student won five golds across the cadet division, setting a national record in the 1000m while finishing a respectable fifth in the New Zealand open ladies 10km elimination.

Nelson shines at Maadi
It is one of the most prestigious competitions in New Zealand secondary school’s sport. The 2021 edition of the historic Maadi Cup saw 2458 rowers from 122 schools descend on Lake Karapiro near Cambridge. Among them were 35 Nelson rowers representing Nelson College, Nelson College for Girls and Waimea College – who returned from the regatta with one gold and two silver medals. Top honours went to Ollie Ransom and Rico Fraser from Nelson College for taking the gold in the Boys U18 Double Sculls in a convincing win. Ransom and Fraser were also selected as New Zealand U19 trialists. Capping an unprecedented season of success, Nelson named the best rowing club in the country. Not only this, but head coach Tim Babbage was acknowledged with a service award for contributions to rowing.

Waimai women make history
After being on the brink of folding just one year ago, the Waimai United women’s hockey team were crowned champions for the very first time in 2021. Waimai took out the premier women’s division in dramatic fashion on September 25. Locked up at 1-all after regulation time with Federal Rawlings, Waimai went on to win the shootout 4-2 to cap a sensational season. Waimai had dropped just a single game all year, scoring 53 goals and conceding just 16. Waimai opened the scoring in the final in the second quarter through Amanda Pearce before Federal’s Karen Eden squared the ledger from a penalty shot in the third. In a tense shootout, it was the experience of goalie Susan Gall who repelled two crucial shots while Nic, Lou-Ann Botha and Alisha Lewis, all slotted theirs to claim the historic victory.

Waimai United celebrated the club’s first-ever women’s premiership title in 2021. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport
Waimai United celebrated the club’s first-ever women’s premiership title in 2021. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport