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Top Westlake athlete excels at national champs

Flagstaff Team

Golden girl… Kaia Tupu-South threw a personal best of almost 53.96m to win gold in discus at the national Track and Field Championships in Christchurch

Westlake Girls High School student Kaia Tupu-South won the national under-20 women’s discus title in Christchurch last month. 

She puts her winning throw of 53.96m – a personal best – down to the effect of intense competition at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships. She had never before bettered 50m. 

“I would never have done that [distance] in training, but in a competition there’s so much excitement… The atmosphere and everything gets me doing things I’ve never achieved in training,” Kaia, 17, says. 

Kaia also won a silver medal in the U20 women’s shot put. 

More than 600 of the country’s top track and field athletes attended the event from 6 to 8 March. 

For Kaia, who is head prefect at Westlake, it continued on from a shot-put victory at the Australian Track and Field Championships last year. 

She has also qualified for the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Kenya for both shot-put and discus, although these have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Kaia puts her success down to training six days out of seven for strength and agility, as well as practising throwing. 

She is enjoying her home-based schooling in the current level 4 shutdown, as she can choose her own timetable for training and schoolwork, where she has also been excelling. 

Kaia was junior Dux in year 10 and top scholar in year 11.

These photos originally appeared in the 3 April 2020 edition of the Rangitoto Observer.

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