jason christieJason Christie. Photo supplied.Ashburton-born cyclist Jason Christie has been given a lifeline ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Games.

Cycling New Zealand announced this week that Christie, who wasn’t initially named in the squad to head to the Gold Coast, had been called in as a replacement for Alex Frame and will compete at the Games.

It came off the back of a tumultuous couple of months, in which Christie appealed his non-selection with the New Zealand Sports Tribunal.

The Sports Tribunal earlier this month dismissed Christie’s appeal against the decision not to be selected by Cycling New Zealand, which chose five other riders ahead of him, including a substitute when one became unavailable.

Christie appealed on the grounds that CNZ’s nomination criteria had not been properly implemented or followed, that he was not afforded a reasonable opportunity to satisfy the applicable criteria and that there was no material on which the nomination decision could reasonably be based.

Based on results and his performance, he believed that he should have been selected ahead of five of the other riders.

Christie won the National road race championship in controversial fashion in early January, when he appeared to be showing a “middle-finger salute” to riders who finished just behind him in the sprint.

He later claimed the two fingers were to celebrate his second win of the title and no malice was intended, although he issued a statement, saying, “I want to publicly apologise for this image of myself that I’m deeply ashamed of.

“I know there is no excuse for this and I promise to do better next time.”

Christie, who is in Tasmania preparing for the Oceania Championships this weekend posted to his social media accounts yesterday, announcing the news to his followers.

“What can I say, never give up, don’t stop believing,” he said.

“Super excited to be heading to the Gold Coast to race the Commonwealth Games Road Race.”

Christie was back in his old stomping ground earlier this year and showed everyone his class with a comprehensive win in the Ride the Rakaia.

A non-professional cyclist, with no ties to a team or sponsor, Christie now races for Tasman.

By Matt Markham © The Ashburton Guardian - 23 March 2018

Emma Stagg RowingEmma Stagg. Image supplied.Ashburton College rowers continued their progress into the national secondary school Maadi rowing regatta yesterday with crews topping many heats.

A widespread power outage disrupted proceedings for some time yesterday morning and meant that no time was available for the winning crew in the under-18 coxed quad.

There was no doubt that Veronica Wall, Mollie Gibson, Emma Stagg, Lara Biggs and cox Harriet Leverton were first over the line though.

Haxby Hefford and Harrison are through to the semi-finals of the under 18 doubles after coming second in their heat.

Gibson and Stagg are through to the quarter-finals of the under-17 doubles after finishing third in their heat and will be joined by Lara Biggs and Aidan Elvines, who also make it through to the quarter-finals with a fourth placing.

Other crews were attempting to progress yesterday afternoon via the repechage races.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 21 March 2018

Canterbury Junior Rowing Regatta Veronica WallVeronica Wall was back in one of her favourite stomping grounds and doing what she does best yesterday. Photo Tetsuro MitomoIt’s game on for Ashburton College on Lake Ruataniwha after a productive first day on the water in the 2018 Maadi Cup.

If the weight of expectation was holding down the shoulder of the AshColl contingent after a red-letter year at the annual event in 2017 it never showed yesterday, as rowers picked up four heat wins across the day’s racing.

Rowing’s golden girl Veronica Wall played a part in two of those victories as she continues an incredible record in single sculls events at the Maadi Cup.

She breezed through her heat of the under-18 girls’ single sculls to record the fastest time in the round of heats – cementing her favouritism for another gold medal in one of the premier events of the competition by the end of the week.

Earlier in the day she teamed up with Mollie Gibson to again finish the fastest qualifying time in the heats of the under-18 girls’ double sculls.

Gibson wasn’t quite able to repeat the pattern when she took to the water for the under-17 girls’ single sculls.

She finished third, with her time the 13th fastest across the field of rowers.

Gibson did grab another success too though.

She, Emma Stagg, Lara Biggs, Aidan Elvines and Harriet Leverton won their heat of the under-17 girls’ coxed quad sculls.

AshColl’s fourth victory came late in the day when Haxby Hefford powered his way to victory in his heat of the boys’ under-18 single sculls to earn a ticket straight to the quarter-finals.

Harrison Davies also produced a strong result in the same round of the heats, finishing second with a time that would see him ranked inside the top six of the age group.

Rowers will be back on the water this morning with some strong prospects in action.

The girls’ under-18 coxed quad sculls team of Wall, Gibson, Stagg, Biggs and Leverton will have all eyes on them while Hefford and Davies are combining to make a strong under-18 double sculls combination.

Racing continues throughout the week before finals kick in late in proceedings.

By Matt Markham © The Ashburton Guardian - 19 March 2018