Teen South Canterbury skaters on world track
Last updated 05:00 17/08/2011
STU PIDDINGTON/The Timaru Herald
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE: Three teenage South Canterbury skaters will join former world champion Nicole Begg in Asia in October. From left: Begg, Analiese Le Roy, Emily van der Hayden and Dahna Penty.
Three teenage South Canterbury speed skaters are set to test themselves in Asia.
Emily van der Hayden, Dahna Penty and Analiese Le Roy will join their motivating force, Nicole Begg, in a series of races, starting with the World Inline Cup finale in Haining, China, in October.
Begg hopes to seal the WIC marathon series title for the first time, while her young charges will get their first taste of true international competition in China.
It is huge boost to the sport in New Zealand after Begg started coaching the trio, with her parents, Bill and Cheryl Begg, four years ago on a dilapidated track at Caroline Bay.
Since then, they have made their presence felt at national championships and have raced in Oceania championships.
However, Bill Begg thought it was time they had some international exposure.
“It’s about building for the future and showing them how far they can go if they remain dedicated,” he said.
Bill Begg has spent the past two months in Southeast Asia, coaching national squads and individuals.
With the sport’s growing popularity and profile, Begg grabbed an opportunity to secure sponsorship for the youngsters through his contacts in Asia, who are keen for international competition.
Fifteen-year-old Emily, from Waimate, is a junior New Zealand champion and has three Oceania silver medals.
Dahna, 14, is a national juvenile sprint champion, and 13-year-old Analiese was the youngest New Zealand team member at this year’s Junior Oceania Championships.
Begg said it was the right time in terms of their development to expose the trio to tougher international competition.
As well as China, they will race in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia as part of a 10-strong Kiwi contingent.
Temuka masters skater Michael Clarkson also plans to make the trip, along with Hutt Valley’s Anthony Nalder and 17-year-old Mark MacDonald, another rising youngster.
Timaru-based Samantha Michael will also tour after competing at the world junior championships in Korea, and 17-year-old Stephanie Challis from Upper Hutt also gets an opportunity.
Depth will be added to the team with the inclusion of world relay champion Peter Michael.
Begg hopes several Asian skaters will come to South Canterbury in the new year to race in the Tour of Timaru.
“With the new world-class track and showing what our skaters can do, I think a number will be keen to race and get a taste of New Zealand,” he said.