Hongi Laing might not be getting any younger, but he's not losing his edge on the squash court.
He's back from the Masters' Games in Whanganui with the men's 70-plus title, his second, following a win in the 65-plus age bracket a few years ago.
It was his sixth singles final at the Games in succession, and the win was all the sweeter for the fact that he overcame Trevor Collier, from Riverton, to take the title in three sets. He had encountered Collier several times and in the past, and had never beaten him.
Hongi played rugby until he was 30. In those days he was working at Winstones, managed by Terry Shaw, whose daughter Deborah and sons Grant and Aaron were very successful squash players, so it was hardly surprising that he soon found himself part of a game that was extremely well supported in Kaitaia.
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He had been feeling "really good," he said, so had decided to make the trip to Whanganui, and with athletics also part of his sporting background, albeit many years ago, elected to give the mile and 880m a go too. He had more success there, winning the bronze medal in the mile and, having honed his tactics a little, silver in the 880.
Last year Laing won his second national master's singles title (70-74 years) in Whangārei.