Long bucket list for loyal competitor

By David Ogilvie

Naomi Crowder has had a few surprises this past week - all of them pleasant.

Now she throws one at the Wanganui Games organisers. No criticism, just a surprise.

Crowder will almost certainly make this Games her last in New Zealand, after eight trips from Sheffield in Yorkshire involving four Wanganui and four Dunedin Masters.

Two main reasons - firstly, she's not getting any younger and the trip's a very long one; and secondly: "I've got a bucket list as long as both arms and I love travelling."

So, the personable Yorkshire 76-year-old will be working on something a little different from now on.

Probably. You never know what might happen in a couple of years.

But back to the surprises she's had. The first was the athletes achievers' award received on Friday night. It stunned her. Almost made her speechless and she joked that was a remarkable achievement.

The second came Monday when daughter Rachael, who a month ago was going to withdraw because of work commitments in her home city of Perth (Australia), suddenly turned up on the doorstep of Rosewood Manor, the bed and breakfast in London Street where Naomi and good friend and Games ambassador Penny Purcell were staying.

Rachael Crowder had re-organised her work schedule and telephoned Purcell as she wandered with Naomi around Pak'n Save on Saturday.

"I wondered why she [Penny] said she had to take this call and walked away," said Naomi.

"It was Rachael ringing saying she had just booked last-minute flight, but don't tell my mother, I want to surprise her.

"On Monday morning the owner [of Rosewood] was mopping the front step - they all knew she was coming - and told me to come out. I stepped out and Rachael was stuck outside the door."

Both competed Monday and Tuesday in the swimming but Rachael was struggling to make last evening's swim sessions because she didn't feel well."

It was Rachael who started her mother on the Games trail in 2006. Rachael lived in Auckland at that stage and entered herself and her mum in the Dunedin Masters as a birthday present and Wanganui makes eight Games for Naomi, and a huge bucket of age-group medals.

Up to last night's swimming Naomi had four swimming golds in the pool and one in the 70-plus tennis doubles.

Rachael has picked up two golds, a silver and a bronze despite a shoulder injury.

"She likes doing surprises," says Naomi.

In fact, she arrived from Australia into London on Christmas Day and arrived on her brother Daniel's doorstep, where mum was enjoying the day.

Daniel knew - Mum didn't.

Naomi is due to swim the open water event today but will keep an eye on the water temperature after the two cold days.

After that, there's the carnival tennis doubles on Friday, and her New Zealand Games history will be over.

She will be missed.

Footnote: Some interesting results in the indoor rowing - local man Pat Carroll, who picked up several golds, has three Fijians working for him in forestry. They had been working out occasionally on a second-hand erg, so Carroll bought them a new one. There was a catch, he said.

"I told them I had entered them in the Masters Games."

The results this week?

Joe Namily a gold, Volini Rodiki a silver, and Boro Naulu a silver and bronze.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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