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Wednesday 17 November 2010 | Published in Regional

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Zane Mataora and Bradley Heather have a busy few weeks coming up, with training for Vaka Eiva being squeezed in around a revision timetable. This year is their final year of exams at Tereora College as well as a big chance for them to do well in the sport they love.

Mataora and Heather are in the junior Under 19 men’s team Te Tupu o te Manava. Mataora is studying for his English and science exams while Heather has more of an interest in maths. He’s taking calculus and statistics exams as well as sitting the English exam.

The team train four times a week doing sprints and long distance out of Trader Jacks and Muri, but the training isn’t interfering with the students’ commitment to their studies.

“We’re used to studying and training as we have been doing it for three years now,” said Heather. “We work after training and late at night as it’s how we feel comfortable revising.”

Mataora received a certificate of achievement in physical education at Tereora’s prizegiving last week which proves his ongoing commitment to sports. He’s been paddling in the team for three years, which has helped him keep up his fitness and achieve well in PE.

Both paddlers think that this could be a good year for Te Tupu o te Manava after training hard with their coach, Marie William.

“Three years ago was our first time out and we did okay, but we’ve improved and got better since then,” said Heather. “We’ve got a great coach and there are less of us on the team now so we can do more intensive training.”

Although they are looking forward to the upcoming competition, both are committed to achieving well in their exams. “We’ve got too much studying to do to be out there partying after the races,” said Heather.

Coach William says that the boys have come a long way since she took on their training. Of the nine paddlers, six are doing exams, one is in work, and two are imports coming over from Hawaii as reserves. William said she doesn’t want to train too hard with the team in the week before the festival as she wants to give them time to recover and focus on their exams.

William said, “Education is the key for these guys. We are focusing on strategy, race plans and team talks this week as it will be such a big week for them when the festival kicks off.”

Te Tupu o te Manava U19 are racing the singles Saturday, the 12km Monday, sprints Tuesday, 15km Thursday, and they will be the only junior team in the Men’s Open V6 “Pacific Cup” Round Rarotonga Relay Friday.