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Donaldsons 1906Ashburton twins Hugh (left) and George Donaldson are off to the world under-21 water skiing championships in Canada. Photo Erin TaskerIf Hugh and George Donaldson can make a final when they take to the water at the world under-21 water skiing champs in Canada that will be a win in their books.

The 19-year-old Ashburton twins boarded a plane this week bound for Florida where they’ll get back on the water and acclimatise to the warmer conditions before heading north to Edmonton in Canada for their latest tilt at a world title.

They know that they’ll be up against it, because when it comes to world water skiing New Zealand is a small fish in a big pond, and to make a final they’ll need to be top 12 after their single qualifying runs in slalom, tricks and jump.

New Zealand’s team for the world under-21s consists of four young men, and for one of them to podium would be a massive feat. New Zealand has only once before claimed a medal at the worlds, but interestingly, it came at the same site in Canada where this year’s under-21 worlds are being held.

It would be nice to continue their country’s good run in Canada, but realistically, it would take something super special to do it against the best skiers from the other 21 countries taking part. So Hugh and George are both focused more on beating their personal bests, and helping New Zealand to a top 10 finish in terms of team scores.

Mum and dad Janeen and Neil will be there, taking in the action on the ski lane, as they have been for almost every tournament Hugh and George, and their older siblings Rachel, Lana and Karl before them, have been in.

They’re a family with a rich water skiing history and the twins have been the top two in their age group in New Zealand since they were under-9s. They’ve never had a shortage of incentive, because there’s always been a brother, a sister or a dad to beat, and that’s helped to make them the skiers they are today.

Being twins, there’s always been a friendly rivalry between them, and there’s never been much separating them. At the moment there’s just one buoy between them in slalom, 10cm between them in the jump and both have similar tricks runs.

Both Hugh and George rate jump as their favourite, and their best of the three events, and both have their sights on distances in excess of 50 metres in Canada. The current world under-21 record for jump is 66.9 metres.

They know that anything can happen on the day though.

“There’s a small gap between a good jump and a bad one,” Hugh said. At the nationals at Easter, Hugh finished second in the overall men’s section, while George was fourth, and with the worlds in mind they were still on the water at Lake Crichton until Queen’s Birthday weekend.

Since then they’ve been to Australia for four days of full-on coaching, and during the stop-off in Florida on the way to Canada they’ll refine their skills with the help of a top Kiwi who is now a successful coach in the US, Kyle Ede. When they return to New Zealand it will be back to polytech in Christchurch, where Hugh is studying architecture technology and George is studying quantity surveying, and back to the gym to ensure they’re at their best for their next big challenge – the open worlds in Malaysia in August.

The world under-21s in Canada is the first and last time the Donaldson twins will compete at that level. The under-21s are held every two years and they were selected for the event in the Ukraine two years ago, but did not end up making the trip, and now – at 19 – this is the last year they’ll be eligible.

Hugh was a reserve for the New Zealand team for the world opens last time, but ended up being called in, while for George the trip to Malaysia in August will be his first open worlds.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 20 June 2019

190619 SN 0060Denielle De Leon creative webAshburton College Year 12 students Denielle De Leon (left) and Vhal Mamuad creating artwork on containers that will form the new reuse shop at the Ashburton Resource Recovery Park. Photo Sue NewmanThe creative work of a group of Ashburton College students will soon be brightening the landscape at the Ashburton Resource Recovery Park.

The park’s reuse shop will shortly move into a new, albeit temporary, home, in several shipping containers and each container will be covered in works of art created by students.

Teacher Milly Brown has worked with her Year 12 art students to create a series of designs that are now close to completion.

It’s been an inspirational project for the students, she said, and one that is exciting to watch unfold as each panel is completed.

Student Jane Cribb said the students had worked in groups on design work. Each container has four artworks – one each on its two long sides and one at each end.

“We planned it out on paper first, then coloured the designs in so they could be sent to the district council to be approved,” she said.

With design work ticked off, the students ‘went for it’, Cribb said.

While most of the work is carried out in class time, several students have been working overtime to ensure their designs are completed by the end of June when the containers will be transported to the resource recovery park.

Paint for the project was donated by Bunnings and Mitre 10 and while that paint was suited to outdoor work, students were having to deal with the impact of rain or frost, Brown said.

The artworks attracted plenty of attention on campus, with several Year 11 and 13 students also volunteering to be part of the project.

By Sue Newman © The Ashburton Guardian - 20 June 2019

Shooters Shania Harrison Lee webAmong Mid Canterbury’s top young talent battling it out at the weekend were (back row from left) Amelia Swan, Charlotte McKenzie, Jack Jones, (front row from left) Shania Harrison-Lee, Madison Tourle and Jack McIntosh. Photo Heather MackenzieThe Coronation Target Shooting Club’s annual open championship on Sunday attracted a top field from around the South Island, but it was a young local who ended up shooting to the top.

The competition attracted 50 competitors from as far away as Oamaru and Nelson and Marlborough, and it was shot within grades – master, A, B, C and D – with each competitor completing three 10 shot matches for a possible total of 300.30.

Shania Harrison-Lee may have been one of the younger competitors, but that didn’t hold her back, with the young local finishing the day as the master grade champion and the overall top 10 champion.

She was one of 18 Target Shooting Mid Canterbury members – which encompassed the Coronation and Phoenix clubs – taking part in the competition, including six first-season competitors who all performed well.

All up, 13 Target Shooting Mid Canterbury members were placed in the top six in their respective grades.

In the D grade, Mid Canterbury juniors were in fine form, with Charlotte McKenzie winning the D grade title, with Jack McIntosh second, Amelia Swan third, Madison Tourle fifth and Jack Jones sixth.

Coronation’s open championship took place in the heat of the South Island qualifying season, with the South Island selectors set to name their teams for the annual national shoot – the North versus South shoot which would this year be held in Wellington in August – in just over two weeks.

That competition will double as the New Zealand team selection match and a number of Target Shooting Mid Canterbury members were currently in a position to earn national honours.

Harrison-Lee is no stranger to representative honours in the indoor version of the sport, but she had also recently been named in the New Zealand women’s 50m prone team to compete at the Oceania Games in Australia in November.

She was also one of a number of Mid Canterbury shooters who claimed a top six finish at the Canterbury Championships on Saturday.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 19 June 2019