Medallist puts hammer down

By Roger Moroney

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Double Olympic bronze-winning cyclist Westley Gough, with award winners Charlie Nash (left), Layton Begg, Oliver Kerr, Hannah Babbington and Lyrique Sheppard-Lowe.
Double Olympic bronze-winning cyclist Westley Gough, with award winners Charlie Nash (left), Layton Begg, Oliver Kerr, Hannah Babbington and Lyrique Sheppard-Lowe.

For the youngsters of Napier Central School who picked up awards for displaying great sporting values during a special Olympic Day last Wednesday, the presentation was made even more special when the presenter arrived - bearing a couple of bronze medals.

Former Olympian Westley Gough, a cousin of current fellow Central Hawke's Bay cycling ace Regan Gough, was happy to put the hammer down for a few golden moments to make the presentations.

For principal Ross McLeod it was a fine and fitting finale, as well as a chance to catch up with an old pupil.

"I used to teach Westley at Argyll School in Central Hawke's Bay," Mr McLeod said, adding he had no idea his former pupil and a star international cyclist was part of the Waipukurau Construction crew working on a classroom building project.

Mr Gough, 28, has taken up a building apprenticeship - a far cry from the decade of top international track cycling and the later shift to road cycling.

He's loving it.

"He saw me and came over and said 'Gidday'," Mr McLeod said. "I got a bit of a shock as I had no idea he was there and we had a chat and it came to me - could he help us out with our opening ceremony?"

Mr Gough said he was happy to, and his employers were equally happy to give him a spot of time off from hammering to give the youngsters a close-up taste of the Olympic Games.

Mr Gough duly arrived for the day with the bronze medals he picked up as part of the New Zealand track cycling teams pursuit squads at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London event.

"The kids were pretty wide-eyed to meet a real Olympian and they got to touch real Olympic medals."

Mr McLeod said the Olympic Day saw the youngsters don the colours of their assigned countries and compete in a range of activities.

"And we talked to them about Olympic pride and values and kept an eye on them throughout the day."

Those who excelled were rewarded with Respect Awards and were thrilled an Olympian did the presentation honours.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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