Women Champions - Aleka Freijah 10km and Ariane Stevenson the Half Marathon winner
Kuni sets new record for Savaii Marathon
Kuniyoshi Watanabe 26, of Japan set a new record for the ANZ Savaii Marathon at Saleologa on Saturday. He ran a superb race to finish 3:27:57 and in the process set a new record. He was almost an hour faster than the previous record set by Bobby Carney (4:24:56) in the inaugural race last year.
Kuni, as he likes to be called, was one of four Japanese runners in the full marathon. The other three – Hiromi Nagae, Noriyuki Arai and Hiroshi Miyazaki – all managed to complete the full marathon in trying conditions.
It was hot. Once the sun came up, there was no escaping the relentless sun rays.
Whilst all of the marathon runners crossed the finish line, there were two casualties of the heat. Two runners pulled out, one out of heat exhaustion.
Marathon Runners - Hiromi Nagae, Kuniyoshi Watanabe, Noriyuki Arai and
66yr old Hiroshi Miyazaki, all of Japan with their Marathon medals
It was another fantastic event well supported by the leading sponsors of the race, ANZ and Samoa Stationery and Books (S.S.A.B).
In the Half Marathon, Tueffy Tuigamala set a new record in 1hr 33mins. Ariane Stevenson was the first woman home in that race.
In the 10km race it was Tini Lapaialii who also set a new record at 39 minutes for the 10km run from Fogapoa to the finish at ANZ and S.S.A.B. Salelologa. Aleka Freijah was the first woman home in that race.
Records for the 5km and 3km races were won by Savaiians, same as last year.
A grateful team gave thanks at the end, because something very special had just happened on Tuesday afternoon, 11th April last week. Our very own Sitivi So’oa’emalelagi, 16 years of age had just won Apolima Strait swim, 22.3km race from Mulifanua Upolu to Salelologa, Savai’i in an amazingly quick time.
It was unexpected, a little surprising but no surprises there. Sitivi’s open water talent was not unknown, and now even more evident.
His time of 5hrs 37mins 27secs is a fast one, considerably so. Considering too his late coming into the race and qualifying for Apolima Strait on Saturday, 25th March with only three weeks to race day. Not that he was not going to qualify. Sitivi was always going to go under 4hrs for the 10km qualifier. He did, at 3hrs 13mins. Not spectacularly fast but he had qualified.
To then swim 22.3kms to Savaii, an extra 12kms in just over 2hrs of his qualifying time is something truly amazing.
The issue with Sitivi’s Apolima ambitions was, if any, had to do with long distance swimming. Up until his qualifier three weeks ago, Sitivi’s longest swim was 4km in the Samoa Swim Series at the Sinalei Resort swim in August 2015. He was fast then too. Sitivi had been competing in SSS races since 2012 and regularly podiumed against older overseas swimmers.
Going to 10km for the qualifier might still be relative to his pool sessions with Tanifa o le Vai national squad but 22.3km in the open sea? That was the unknown factor.
I was with him that day on the kayak beside him. The focus I told him, was strength, not speed. Still, when the clock clicked beyond the 3hr mark in the qualifier, I was silently disappointed. Sitivi is fast, and even with toning down the speed I still expected a sub 3hr 10km qualifier swim for him.
That was the unknown factor. How much can his young shoulders carry Sitivi beyond 4km and 10km without diminishing returns per kilometre beyond that?
The answer is now clear and obvious but it is unexpected. Sitivi had not done the long lead in preparations other swimmers did.
Swimmers for the race had prepared well in advance of six months. Getting shoulders and bodies used to handling that distance is a matter of calculated evolution of movement.
You cannot expect the body to perform at a level it is not used to. Sitivi’s shoulders, no matter how fast he is, have not turned over at speed beyond two hours of swim training at best. That was the unknown factor. To then continue at 14mins per km in the open sea for five hours is the most incredible part.
In Sitivi, Samoa has a very special talent. He is the best open water swimmer we have. His pool ambitions may have to give way to his true talent. National coach Suzie Schuster is no doubt mulling over Sitivi’s results and how best to re-direct her swimmer.
Sitivi’s race time is the second fastest in the two years of the race. Only Philip Ryan who won the inaugural race last year is faster. Philip was on his way to the Rio Olympics and he was finely tuned. He swam the distance in 5hrs 03mins.
Last year’s race was very different to this year’s race. Philip was on his way to recording 4hrs 30mins for the distance when the Apolima Strait current intervened and carried the swimmers far right of the destination finish. Then, the five swimmers and two teams spent a lot of time trying to swim left to reach Salelologa without success. Instead, the decision was made to finish in the Salelavalu lagoon.
There were no such trials this year. Moving the race away from a high full moon tide to a non-full moon swim made a lot of difference. The Strait water did not move in volumes, and we were able this year to guide everyone to the finish at Salelologa.
For the race on Tuesday, we had anticipated the same shifting to the right away from the finish, and so compensated by moving the race line quite a lot south of the ferry line. Except the shift did not happen and there was no tidal correction that was anticipated. The result was lost time, in Sitivi’s case, perhaps 20 minutes.
His pace and stamina was truly amazing. He kept on, his own support crew of swimmers of Teofilo Molio’o, Clinton Mauala and sister Fanaafi could not keep up with him when they took turns to swim alongside.
Sitivi’s time in the end was an hour faster and some to second placed Paul Feltoe of New Zealand. He was faster than Team Tonga who finished first in the Teams’ race. Team Tonga was made up of Tongan national swimmers, Sitivi’s time is 58mins faster than the Tongan total.
He was the second to last to start. Paul Feltoe was the last starter at 6.45am, Sitivi started at 6.30am. First starters was a further 90 minutes ahead at 5am. Still, Sitivi kept passing swimmers at will on his way to his desired haven in Salelologa. He was relentless. There was not a slowing down. The fatigue factor expected beyond 10km at around Apolima Island did not happen. It seemed he was immune from those trials.
Sitivi’s crew consisting of legendary swimmer Mailata Iosia Leau, himself the first man to swim to Savaii in 1988, he was Swim captain guiding Sitivi’s race. Dad Steve Brown was on the kayak, as was aunty Vaimasanu’u Zita Martel who was on another kayak. Clinton and Teofilo were there too. Sitivi’s sister Fanaafi and younger brother Mautofu completed the support crew.
What a sight it was as they guided young Sitivi to the finish at Lusia’s Lagoon. At the finish and before any celebrations amongst themselves and others, the team got together on the water, kayaks and support boat all in one. They joined hands and sang a song of Thanks – Faafetai i le Atua – and said their prayer.
The Almighty had guided everyone safely to their desired haven. And they gave thanks to the Lord.
Sitivi So’oa’emalelagi, 16yrs SAMOA 5:37:27
Paul Feltoe, 43yrs NZL 6:48:10
Christina Harris, 53yrs NZL 6:53:11
Tony McLean, 47yrs NZL 7:18:38
Robin Rose, 56yrs USA 8:31:55
Tiffany McQueen, 44yrs USA 9:35:00
Team Tonga 6:35:00 (Mixed team x 4 swimmers)
Team Jo Armstrong 7:39:01 (All female x 3)
Team Paid for by Mexico 7:45:00 (All male x 4)
The 7 swimmers L-R, Durant Webster, Bernie Poort, Aleka Freijah, Alex Montoro, Stuart Brown, Kat Riley and
Tyson Feekings. At the end of the 3.7km swim to Manono, they then ran the 6.14km trail around the island. Pic. - Susie Poort.
On a perfect day, that was the backdrop for the very first Manono Island Swim + Run event. There have been many swims to and from Manono, but never a run.
The run is the continuation of the Samoa Events Run Series, and the swim is helping push out the boundaries for local open water swimmers in preparation for the international swim season to come. In the end it was a thoroughly perfect double event.
The seven swimmers all finished the race with a smile on their face. For six of them it was their first swim to Manono from the mainland. Over the years, I have swam with many swimmers to Manono to fulfil their dream of touching land after swimming 3.7kms in Open water. I have done a few on my own, and many a times, I have turned around and swam straight back. It is the swim here: Open, free, challenging and safe.
All those aspects were in play yesterday. When you first stand at the Manono wharf looking at the island it looks so close that you can almost touch it. It gives the swimmer a slightly misleading sense for the swim to come.
For the first 1km in the smooth of the leeward part of the mainland that sense a very easy swim stays with you. Then the challenge emerges. The current of the day starts to take over. The closer you are to the island the more prescribed the current becomes, and its either sweeping right or sweeping left. Yesterday, it was sweeping right to left across the face of Manono. There were some big curves in the end in some of those individual lines. But it was all safe and a great yarn was told by everyone of their swim at the end.
The crossing was won by young Durant Webster of Tanifa o le Vai. His time of 1hr 18mins was 10 seconds ahead of Ty Feekings. The two made a break for it together early on, and stayed together to the finish.
Alex Montoro was second, followed by ANZ CEO Bernie Poort. Bernie was the only one of yesterday’s group to have swum to Manono before. He is relishing being back from Tonga and being able to inject himself into the local open swimming programme.
The two ladies, Aleka Freijah and Kat Riley swam together and were the next to finish. Stuart Brown is slowly getting back into swimming and was last to finish in 1hr 55mins. He had a great swim.
Next, the swimmers joined the rest of the group for the Run and Trot around the perfect island – no cars, no dogs, no bikes. The entire 6.14km trail and track around the island is litter-free and well maintained.
There were 24 runners / walkers in total. The run started at 3pm in the afternoon in the heat of the day.
In the run was newly returned Ironman Darren Young who used the race to loosen up tired legs from a week ago.
Alex, Durant and Ty doubled up from the swim to take the top three placings in the run. Montoro claimed his first run title in the Run Series. Combined times gives young Durant Webster overall victory of the race. Super Kat Riley takes another win in the run series and is the first women’s Manono combined winner.
The next Samoa Events race is the Race 2 of the TRI Series next Saturday at Mulinu’u.
RESULTS top 7
Winners: Men, Durant Webster; Women, Kat Riley
I have seen every Cameron Brown finish of the last four years. That is how long I have been a happy volunteer at IMNZ
It was great to volunteer again for Ironman NZ, something that I do every year. I am usually in Transition (T1) with Robyn Orchard's Team, but then I am also all over the place. I am always there on Friday for Bike racking. It is great to welcome back multiple Taupo IM men and women. Then you get to meet the virgin Ironman, in for the very first taste of the ultimate race at the this great location.
Over the years I have accumulated a number of friends that also compete. Many have been to Samoa to do our Events. Volunteering is a chance to catch up with many of them. I now have fine tuned the art of doing my work at T1 and being at the right place at the right time to catch a pic of the many friends I was following.
Ironman this year had very tough conditions. The wind picked up during the night which stirred the mighty lake. The swim was rough and slow for the non-swimmers. The wind then stayed around for the bulk of the 180km ride. The ride out to Reporoa a third faster than the return leg. There was not going to be any PBs today because of the wind. Up above, it was blue skies all day.
It was great to see Cameron Brown (Samoa Warrior 2013) run a great race. I am right there handing out race backs with all the wonderful volunteers as the athletes come streaming through. I saw Cam, and he was well over 5 minutes behind in the swim. It was great to see him in at second place after running the best marathon of the day at 2:42:29. I managed to have a chat with Cam afterwards. Given another 2kms he might have caught up with first time winner Braden Currie. I saw Braden come in to win in a flash of speed. He was in control of his race.
I also caught up with Graham O'Grady (Samoa Warrior 2013, 14) who unfortunately blew out in the bike leg. Always nice chatting with GOG. Then there was Stephen Farrell who has been to Samoa several times to compete with us. Steve won his Age Group, 55-59. He's amazing.
Then there is the group of Samoan athletes from around the world and NZ that competed including our very own Darren Young from Samoa who was chasing his second full Ironman. He did nicely at 12:16:00. Just ahead of Darren, Karen Rasmussen crossed the line at 12:14:00 and her brother Lee who lives in PNG finished in 13:02:41. Michael Stowers completed his 11th Taupo IM 4 minutes shy of midnight. I saw him off the bike and he was spent. But he's done it before, he was always going to finish. Managed to catch Mose Saseve at the finish line after crossing for his virgin IM 14:08:31.
There were two representatives from American Samoa. Patrick McEntire was on his first IM. He started with us in Apia, coming across from Pago Pago back in February 2016 to compete in his first Olympic Distance. Then in July he completed the Samoa Warrior Race Half Iron distance, and in October finished the Sau'ai Giants' TRIATHLON 3/4 IM on Savaii in 10hrs 52mins. In Taupo, he completed his first FULL IM in 14:32:18. This is a great story. Richard Birgander is a Swede who came to Samoa to compete in the Sau'ai Savaii Giants TRI last year. He completed his second IM hand in hand with his mate Patrick.
The standout performance for me was from Abby Armstrong who was doing her first IM. She had only competed in one triathlon before Taupo. Yes, I hear you say! Not only that, Abby swam the Apolima Strait with us a year ago. She's the Women's Record holder for Apolima Strait 6hrs 30mins. Here she was lining up for her first IM.
She smashed the swim in 1:02:17 and rode 6:10:48 in the bike. That was impressive. Something had to give and it was in the run that things slowed down for her. Her marathon time of 5:14:47 is in itself impressive. Abby finished 11th in her AGR in 12:37:14.
Abby is returning to Samoa for the Apolima Strait swim next month. This time in a team with mum Jo. There is a lot of energy in that little frame.
Virgin Ironmen no more - Mose Saseve of Auckland and Patrick McEntire of American Samoa
The other brilliant performance was from Anna Dungey (Tour of Samoa 2016). Anna was the only athlete I spoke to who did a Taupo PB in those conditions. Well done Anna.
I also caught up with Katherine Reardon (Samoa Swim Series 2014). She was second female overall in the Half Ironman.
And there was a heartbreak story. My best mate Paul Glenn was on to his 10th Taupo IM. He had done a lot of preparation for the race, at the same time he needed everything to be equal for him to have a chance of getting in before midnight. The wind and three flat tyres did not help. He was 10mins from cut off in the swim at T1, and missed the bike cut off by 1 minute. He was the first off the bike after the cut off. I was part of this support crew with his wife Robin, and good friend Katheren Leitner. We all had an emotional time in the big Tent accepting the fact his race was over. Paul will be back next year.
After the race, I drove late in the night back to Auckland to catch my flight back to Samoa on Sunday arriving home at 5am. I will be back in Taupo next year at T1, and Racking bikes on Friday before the race.
13 yr old Gideon Mulitalo has not missed a race of the Samoa TRI Series in 5 seasons.
He started when he was 8 years old in the Tamatoa Tri Series. He finished 3rd in Race 1.
The 2017 POWERADE TRI Series kicked off on Saturday at Mulinu’u in perfect conditions for swimming, biking and running. The two races on hand, Tamatoa TRI for kids and the main event Sprint Triathlon was contested by very keen athletes at the Peninsula.
The three disciplines of the Sprint race saw competitors undertake a 750m swim, 20km bike and 4km run. The bike ride was contained within the peninsula with six laps between the roundabout at Sogi and the MNRE Weather office.
Darren Young, as expected dominated Race 1. There is no one else even close to his level of training and commitment to the sport on island at present. The race was simply a dot on his mega preparations for the New Zealand Ironman in two weeks. Darren used the race on Saturday to work on smaller parts of his Ironman race such as Transition. That is a very important part of the sport, transferring from Swim to bike, and bike to the marathon run.
Behind Darren yesterday were two of our most consistent locally raised triathletes. They are the future of the Sport in Samoa. Young Durant Webster finished second and Gideon Mulitalo came in a close third. They were second and third out of the water in the swim, ahead of Darren.
The two 13 year olds have been racing the Samoa TRI series for a few years. In the case of the young Mulitalo, he started in the series when he was an 8 year old. The staggering thing about his commitment is, he has not missed a Triathlon in five years, since 2013.
He is well supported by his parents Pastor Arthur Mulitalo and Avele College senior teacher, Line Mulitalo and the Oceania Triathlon Union (O.T.U.). Gideon has exclusive use of a Scott Tri bike which was funded by O.T.U.
Gideon is a fine example to our young triathletes, and to his younger siblings Urlin and Filipo who also competed yesterday. Filipo completed his first Tamatoa Tri yesterday, swimming all by himself and then riding and running to the jeer of supporters at Mulinu’u.
For all athletes yesterday, apart from Darren, it was the first time they got on a bike this year. It was fitting then the ride was a short one at 20km. There has been a lot of swimming and running here of late, so those two disciplines were well maintained yesterday.
Kat Riley was the sole female in the main Sprint race. For her first effort in a triathlon, that was a super effort to finish.
There were three teams in the race. The trio of Sara Todd (swim), Wally Collins (bike) and Cruz Hodson (run) claimed superiority in the teams’ event.
They finished seven minutes ahead of the next team and only two minutes back from individual winner, Darren Young.
The Samoa TRI Series is a joint effort this year between Samoa Events and the Samoa Triathlon Federation. Race 2 is on Saturday, 18th March.
Samoa Events’ first Te Kiwi Swim to honour Waitangi Day was a huge success. It was also part of a double-header events weekend held in Apia. The first event of the day was the Apia Waterfront 10KM Run early morning, second run of the Samoa Events Run Series that is a header to the Savaii Marathon on April 8th. Te Kiwi Swim followed later at midday at Taumeasina Island Resort to celebrate New Zealand’s national day.
The event brought together over 50 swimmers of all ages to participate in several races. The youngest swimmer was aged 7 years and a few are within range of their 70th birthdays.
And that is the magic of swimming, open water swimming in the ocean here in Samoa is actually dominated by the 40+ age group, in participation.
Stunning efforts from the senior group belong to Maree Hopley (60-64) who won the women’s 2.2km race. Geoff Dews (65-69) finished fourth in the men’s race. Also in the same AGR as Dews, Steve Iverson finished mid-pack in the 1.2km race and just ahead of Sieni Jan Doyle. Notable mention for Margaret Lesjak who signed on for the shorter distance but ended up swimming the longer race.
In the 50+ age group in the 2.2km race, Apolima Strait legend Mailata Leau came through again. Darren Young had his toughest swim ever, and Daniel Afoa did not give up in challenging conditions. In the 1.2km race Bernie Poort finished in second place and Steve Iverson just ahead of Sieni Jan Doyle. Stuart Brown also gets a mention for finishing his first ocean swim in Samoa.
But youth cannot be denied. Sitivi So’oa’emalelagi of Tanifa o le Vai was just too good to win the main race. TOV’s Andrea Schuster and Urlin Mulitalo took overall honours for the 1.2km and 250m respectively.
Saoluafata Village Triathletes did well with a men’s win (Palasi Live) in the 1.2km race, and many of their youngsters swam the 250M. Two from SVT swam the longer 2.2km race.
In keeping with Te Kiwi Waitangi theme, NZ Deputy High Commissioner Mike Walsh presented cash prizes to the winners. That was followed by a stirring haka by the Taumeasina events team. Then there was the beautiful Hangi kai by executive chef Bradley for post events festivities.
Swim Podium Results
Sitivi So’oa’emalelagi, 40mins 17secs
Maree Hopley, 1:04:42
Andrea Schuster (overall), 20mins 38secs
Palasi Liva, 27:50
Urlin Mulitalo 4mins 25secs (Overall)
Tofu So’oa’emalelagi, 4:35
The magnificent run course at Falefa Falls and below, Stuart crosses for his second win in four races at the Falls.
The resurgent Stuart Young claimed a fiery victory in the opening Samoa Events race of the year at Falefa Falls on Saturday. He has been hunting for a while. Last year he finished second, twice, in the two Falefa races in 2016. His first victory was another two years back.
Not that he has been sitting idle on the side line. Far from it. Stuart and wife Mel had their first child arrive seven months ago. Slight readjustment in priorities, and speed in Stuart’s case is all a matter of relativity. His win on Saturday in 48 mins 08 seconds is actually slower than his two second place placings last year (43:09 & 46:45). You can see the trend.
“I’m actually getting slower”, he said with a leer. “I’ve had a baby and he’s been slowing me down.”
That baby actually was on the same race course with both parents a year ago. Mum Mel, is a super fit human being in her own right, she walked and trotted the 4km then while fully carrying. She won the race. Stuart, who ran the 10km race finished second.
The child by all evidence, should be carrying super genes through his life if he is anything like his folks.
Behind Stuart in yesterday’s race was Alex Montoro. He was two minutes back in 50:30, slower too, but only slightly. His time two months back in November was 50:02. He would have broken that if he had someone sniping at his heels. But Misiuaita Fa’amoetauloa was well back in third.
The real race of the day took place between Phill Voss and Ty Feekings. Ty, should have run the 10km race, instead ran the 6km distance. From the go, Phill took off. He was first to round the Peninsula turning mark by a margin, and was heading back to the Falls for the win. But somewhere in that fluid trot of his, Ty found the extra gear to steal victory by thirty seconds. It was a good steal, all good fun in a day’s run.
Silivelia Lam Sam of Digicel claimed her first victory by winning the women’s 6km race.
There are two running races in February. The next is the Apia Harbour 10km on Saturday, 4th February. Two shorter distances will be part of that race. Then comes the South Coast 12km run from Lupe’s Beach Fales on 11th February. In addition there is the weekly Magik FM Family Fun run on Wednesday evenings at the Museum.
All this running will have everyone fit and ready for the Savai’i Marathon on 8th April.
OPINION - Seti Afoa
Pictorial / Flickr
New born hope for the World
It has been a gloomy year. Mega losses of colossal characters – gone are Super artists Prince, David Bowie, George Michael and I’d like to insert in here a favourite, Canadian musician Leonard Cohen. And that is only the singers. There is also Muhammad Ali the greatest boxer the world has known and some would argue the biggest loss of the year. There is eccentric actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, the beloved Gene Wilder of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory fame, and Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia of Star Wars franchise.
That is only the echelon of the international list, there are many more. In the local scene NZ bid haere ra to some of our beloved people: cricketer Martin Crowe, international singer Ray Columbus, Maori leader Sir Graham Latimer, Unionist Hellen Kelly, author and academic Dr Ranginui Walker, and music pioneer Bill Sevesi who died at 92 years of age.
Fisher’s passing on December 27th hit particularly hard. Hers was the second celebrity death in two days. It was becoming too many. British superstar George Michael died two days earlier in his home on Christmas day.
Many others of renown whose contribution to the world earned superstar status throughout their life. But such is our focus and partiality toward the superfluous that the exaggerated world of entertainment is top of mind for most of us. Guilty! Even the list of the famous in any publication is 90/10 filled with entertainers.
It says a lot about us. The pseudo realism entertainment offers through its stars is our escape from the actuality that is our everyday existence.
Who makes up the death list for the year anyway and who is in the list for next year? The reality is, come this time next year, we will sit back and reflect on the big names taken from us in 2017. It’s a frightening thought. I could be on that list, and I am not a celebrity.
I remember vividly my own encounter with death’s list a few years ago. It wasn’t my mother, or my father, but my older brother’s passing at 45 years of age in 2004 that bothered me immensely. I remember articulating then, that death by vote among family members is my preference. If God met with us as a family and told us one of us had to go I would have volunteered gladly in place of my brother Palepua. He was that much more important to the family than I was. He was funny, generous, successful, loved by all. He had no enemies and was well respected.
Just as well death by vote is not how it is. The system would be hijacked by a super villain for sure.
It’s odd how these kinds of lists materialise in the last month of the year. Is that why Santa Claus also keeps a list? In a word, Yes! Santa’s list rewards the people who are good all year. Perhaps those who do not make Santa’s list are shortlisted for the Reaper. Who knows?
In the end Death is no respecter of persons. Nor is birth, and this is my point.
Quite aside from the entertainers, there are the real contributors to humankind. The chemist, the scientist, the explorer, philosopher, statesman and woman, entrepreneur, astronaut and more. They are born today.
There are more world changers born this day, today, than are the famous taken from us. The new world changers are unknown and yet to utter a word. They are cradled in anonymity somewhere in a hospital bassinet. Some may not be so lucky but will grow up to change their world. These children will create history, change it, make it, and their lives will impact the world in their own callings and talents. After all, when you see a child, they are here to replace us.
The sad loss of Carrie Fisher and George Michael so close together really jolted me to think of the flip side. There is one.
Fisher’s contribution to entertainment is out of this world, if you are a Star Wars fanatic. She is also a witty writer read by many. While she has gone, there are others who were born the same year as Fisher and who impacted the world like her, if not more so.
Fisher was born in October 1956. Born in the same month and year and also now 60 years of age is Mae Jemison - engineer, Physics academic and NASA astronaut. She is the real life version of Fisher in Star Wars. She actually went to space. There is more! Jemison shattered global glass ceilings when she went to space, she is the first African American woman to do so (Endeavour, 1992). Talk about a world-changer. She is worthy of a hashtag - #MaeJemison #WorldChanger #Woman #AfricanAmerican #SpaceTraveller.
There is more and some! There are five living world leaders who were also born in October 1956 – Theresa May (PM, United Kingdom), Nicanor Duarte (President, Paraguay), Tran Dai Quang (President, Vietnam), Andrus Ansnip (PM, Estonia) and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (6th President of Iran). All are the same age as Fisher. May and Quang are incumbent leaders, and the others have served their terms. All are world changers.
Early in 1956 Susan Solomon was born. She is the Atmospheric chemist who defined the workings of the Ozone layer and the depleted protection shield that protects the earth from the sun’s ultra-violet radiation. She postulated a plan of attack to repair the hole in the Ozone above the Antarctic. She is currently Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Science at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Her work is inspirational.
Tennis player Martina Navratilova was born the same month in 1956, as did Italian Physician Carlo Urbani. Urbani was the first to identify SARS as a mega disease (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) that would haunt the world. He was infected by it and later died (2003), but his work activated a WHO (World Health Organisation) worldwide response that saved millions of lives from SARS.
Other world changers were born the same year – Indian guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (May), Patricia Cornwell (author) and Roderick MacKinnon (Chemist, Nobel Prize Winner 2003). Astronaut David Brown too was born the same year as Fisher (died in the Columbia disaster 2003).
The list goes on. Combined, the knowledge that was birthed in the year 1956 helped change the world.
The number of world changers born this day in 2016 at least doubles that of 1956. The population then stood at 2.8billion compared with 7.4b today. You do the math as the saying goes.
More hope is born this day than is taken. There are more chemists, discoverers, scientists, authors, academics, physicians, world leaders and yes - Entertainers and Sporting heroes of the future avail to us this day. They are completely unknown and yet to utter a word. They will discover new science, explore more, write more, cure more and so on. They will change the world as we know it today.
Part 3 of 3 of my interview with David Higgins of Duco Events. In Part 3, I raise the possibility of Samoa hosting Parker's first WBO Title defense. There are a lot of merits here. Refer to my earlier article on this site the day after Joseph's win.
Martin Snedden fronts the media at the Joseph Parker vs Solomon Haumono Weigh-in in Christchurch.
Duco Events announced this morning the resignation of Martin Snedden as its CEO after two years with the company.
The 58-year-old broke the news to staff on Tuesday, following Joseph Parker’s historic WBO Heavyweight Championship win over the weekend.
Mr Snedden’s final day with the company will be next Friday, December 23.
“Joseph’s win over Andy Ruiz last Saturday night nicely bookends my two years at Duco Events,” said Mr Snedden.
“When I started working with David Higgins and Dean Lonergan in 2014, the objectives were to move Joseph from a boxing ranking outside the top 15 to a world championship title."
“We wanted to break into boxing promotion in Australia, while also delivering an NRL Nines event which showcased the sport and Auckland City."
“I leave Duco next week knowing those objectives have been fully or substantially achieved.”
Mr Snedden arrived at Duco Events in 2014 with arguably the best sports administration CV in the country but says he leaves having learned an enormous amount.
“Seeing first hand, the creativity, drive, willingness to break new ground, and determination to succeed amongst a small group of staff is something to behold.”
They have given me some amazing experiences and we part on great terms,” said Mr Snedden.
Director Dean Lonergan says Mr Snedden leaves Duco Events in the strongest position it has ever been heading into 2017.
“Martin has all our best wishes as he seeks new challenges. However, it will be ‘business as normal’ for Duco in 2017,” said Mr Lonergan.
Duco Director and Founder, David Higgins will continue his role overseeing the Brisbane Global Rugby 10s, and a new role in the ongoing development of Joseph Parker.
Dean Lonergan will now oversee the Downer NRL Auckland Nines and focus his energies on growing boxing in Australia.
Duco Events has already received a massive Christmas bonus this week.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum has told ESPN he wants to match Duco’s welterweight Jeff Horn against former champions Timothy Bradley or Jesse Vargas in Las Vegas early next year.
Mr Arum says if Horn is successful, the Australian will be on the shortlist to face global superstar Manny Pacquiao in the second half of 2017.
Martin Snedden fact file
· Martin is currently a director of both New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and also of Auckland World Master Games 2017, as well as chairing Heart of the City, Auckland CBD’s business association.
· Throughout 2014, as a director of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Martin was closely involved in the ICC’s reorganisation of the governance of international cricket and the re-shaping of cricket’s Future Tours programme.
· Between 2007 and 2011, Martin was Chief Executive of Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd, the company responsible for staging the extremely successful Rugby World Cup 2011.
· Between 2001 and 2007, as CEO Martin headed NZC during a tumultuous period punctuated by issues relating to terrorism, politics and player contract negotiations, a period where the BLACKCAPS (New Zealand cricket team) consistently ranked high in both tests and one-day internationals. He led the successful joint NZC / Cricket Australia bid for the rights to host Cricket World Cup 2015.
· Between 2014 and 2016, Martin has been chief executive of Duco Events, New Zealand’s foremost event company and promoters of WBO Heavyweight World Boxing Champion, Joseph Parker.
· His book, a personal account of this RWC experience, “A Stadium of Four Million,” was published in 2012.