Teen shooter snares award double

By Christine McKay

Friday was a big day for Dannevirke teenager Mitchell Dean - he gained his driver's licence and took out two awards at the Infracon Tararua Sportsperson of the Year awards.

Dean won the junior sportsperson of the year and sports personality of the year titles. The latter category was voted for by the public.

A clay target shooter, Dean was a member of the junior Mackintosh team which competed in a postal shoot alongside teams from Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Zimbabwe and South Africa this year. He also won the 2013 New Zealand points score championship for juniors with a score of 149 out of a possible 150.

Leading the winners' list was Muay Thai kickboxer Ashleigh Ahipene, who captained the New Zealand team at last year's world championships in Russia. She told the Dannevirke News she was now training towards her next New Zealand title fight.

"I'm also looking forward to the next world championships, which will be held in Malaysia."

Dennis Dougherty, the winner of the administrator/volunteer of the year award, has a passion for small-town rugby.

Mr Dougherty has been with the Eketahuna Rugby Club since 1972 and, although he took 10 years off, rugby has always been at the centre of his life.

"I was asked by Sandy Anderson to give him a hand to coach the 1996 team and I just never left," he said. "The Eketahuna community is very supportive of our club and we're proud to have four teams in the Wairarapa Bush competition - senior A, reserves, colts and our women's team, the only women's senior rugby team between Upper Hutt and Hastings."

However, Mr Dougherty acknowledged it was becoming harder to maintain top level rugby teams in his small rural community.

"We're totally reliant on sponsors and we've got to make sure they're getting a better bang for their buck," he said. Pahiatua's Sue Hobson won the official of the year title and the Eketahuna women's open triples bowls team were team of the year.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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