Sport

Mereana paddling for gold in Rio

Mereana Patara - member of the Australian junior womens squad in outrigging.
Mereana Patara - member of the Australian junior womens squad in outrigging. Alistair Brightman

OUTRIGGER canoe paddler Te Otimi Patara won two gold medals at the 2012 World Sprint Titles in Calgary.

He also paddled for Australia in 2010 at New Caledonia.

Hervey Bay's Mereana Patara is determined to match her older brother's feats.

The 15 year old is already showing signs that her dream could become a reality especially now that she's been chosen to represent Australia at this year's World Sprint Titles in Rio de Janeiro.

The St James Lutheran College student was selected as a steerer in the under-16 girls' team that will compete in the V6 500m and 1000m races, as well as the V12 event.

"The nerves are going to kick in soon, but at the moment I'm really excited," Mereana told the Chronicle about her upcoming trip.

"Te has given us details of what the competition is like over there and what the other countries can do and what their strengths and weaknesses are."

Mereana discovered outrigger canoeing five years ago - it's an intense and exhilarating sport that is as much about your mental preparation as your physical ability.

Since watching her brother's triumph in 2012 via a live video stream from a school classroom, the Fraser Coast Outriggers member has gone about pursuing her goals with a quiet intensity.

Mereana is one of Fraser Coast's most exciting prospects, having won multiple medals at the national marathon titles and Aussie Aito regatta.

But she has yet to test her skills against the world's best young paddlers.

"I'm very competitive and I get aggressive on the water because I don't like anyone getting in my way," she said.

"We're really good at our starts, which we discovered in training at the weekend, and I reckon we're a good chance of making the final."

With the world sprint titles a month away, the Australian junior women's squad, which comprises paddlers from the Fraser Coast, Sunshine Coast, Gladstone and Rockhampton, has ramped up its training another notch.

Under the watchful eye of coach Grant Bliss, the girls trained well at Burrum Heads - the hometown of under-19 women's squad member Grace Riley - at the weekend before heading to Hervey Bay for another session yesterday.

As a steerer, Mereana must use power and precision to manoeuvre the canoe around the turning buoys.

Bliss said he was happy to have such a driven and motivated athlete at the rear of the boat.

"She is the elite steerer for her age in the country and we basically needed her in there," he said.

"She's definitely made huge gains since she came on board.

"She's trained very hard and I know fitness-wise she's doing personal bests with her weights and things like that."




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'All I heard when my baby cried was ‘you’re a terrible mum'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images of Katie Dykes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

KATIE'S battle with PND is not unlike many mothers.

'I just thought all mums got no sleep'

MELTOPIA battled PND with all four of her children.

4 survival tips for mummas heading back to work

The few reminders every working mum needs to read.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

OPINION: Who are these people? Senate parties explained

Thirty-eight parties are vying for your Senate vote. Be wise about where your preferences are going.

What you need to know about the Senate parties you've never heard of

No prison time for Coast man after hacking

Hacker receives no jail time

TV channels change their stations today

Television and remote Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

TV programs and free-to-air channels are changing

Latest deals and offers

Joel Seeney defies the odds and collects second place in the Max's muscle up challenge

Beating the odds with a point to prove - Maryborough Fitness Health and Bodyworks'...

Dry July on the Fraser Coast

Dry July - Vera Van De Velde (clinical nurse - Alcohol & Other Drugs Support Service) asking drinkers to abstain for the month of July.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Dry July is a chance to abstain from alcohol for the month of July to raise money...

Maryborough mural poject

Maryborough artist Craig Winter dedicates his Kent Street mural to the story of the Bauer Nurses. Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Craig Winter is creating the latest Maryborough Mural Project artwork.

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward