Whanganui to celebrate Olympic athletes

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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SWEET SILVER: Rebecca Scown (right) and Genevieve Behrent with their silver medals at the Rio Olympics.
SWEET SILVER: Rebecca Scown (right) and Genevieve Behrent with their silver medals at the Rio Olympics.

Whanganui's Olympic athletes will be formally celebrated with an event in the city on Saturday.

The public will get a chance to meet rowers Rebecca Scown and Chris Harris. Ms Scown, partnered by Genevieve Behrent in the coxless pair, won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics last month; while Mr Harris made the men's double sculls semifinals with Robbie Manson.

Two other Olympic athletes from Whanganui, Lucy Oliver (athletics) and Kerri Gowler (rowing), are unable to attend because of other commitments.

At 12 noon on October 1, people are welcome to join the athletes and local students on a "walking bus", from the Whanganui River Traders Market to Majestic Square.

From 12.15pm Ms Scown and Mr Harris will be doing a meet and greet at Majestic Square. Everyone is welcome to have a chat them and have a go on the rowing machines. There will also be a sausage sizzle.

The last event is at 2.15pm at Cooks Garden, when there will be a special presentation made to Ms Scown and Mr Harris.

This will be followed by the Steelform Wanganui versus Thames Valley Heartland Rugby match at 2.30pm.

Ms Scown, who is based in Cambridge, said she was looking forward to the event.

"I'm pretty excited to be coming back and celebrating with Whanganui."

Ms Scown said she had been "pretty busy" since the Olympics. She was last in Whanganui a couple of weeks ago as part of a nationwide tour of schools on behalf of the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

And she's been training to take part in the New York marathon. She's running for the Catwalk Trust, which was set up to help find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

"It's a bit of a different challenge for me," Ms Scown said.

Whanganui Mayor Annette Main said Saturday's event was a "wonderful opportunity" for the community to meet Whanganui's great sporting ambassadors.

"Rebecca and Chris are great role models and what better way to show them how proud they made us than to turn out in force and enjoy this day with them," Ms Main said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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