WANGANUI waterskier Lily Meade has returned from her debut world champs and is gearing up for her home tournament this weekend.
The Wanganui Water Ski club is hosting its Gold Star event at Lake Wiritoa from tomorrow , an event which has drawn a huge field. Meade competed last week at the junior world champs in Peru as part of a four-strong New Zealand team and recorded a personal best jump of 22.5 metres.
Team manager Glen Williams said the event taught Meade some valuable lessons.
"I think she learned that the world standard is pretty high so it's going to make her work harder next time," he said.
At 14, Meade is young enough to get another crack at the under-17 event in two years' time. "Lily's the best under-17 female in New Zealand," Williams said. "She knows what it takes now, she's now seen the best under-17s."
The Wanganui High School student received the junior sportswoman award at the Wanganui Secondary Schools Sports Awards last year.
Meanwhile the Wanganui Gold Star tournament has attracted 57 competitors, the biggest field for many years. It's the first New Zealand tournament of the season which counts towards world rankings.
The Wanganui Water Ski Club will also host the national champs at the end of March. "We get that every five years and that's a big deal for us," president Ron Bakker said.
"That's why entries are really high because everybody wants to come and look at the site," he said.
Bakker said the club had spent many volunteer hours getting the site ready for a "fantastic" weekend. Lily and her brother Brent, along with Nick Bakker are among the locals to watch this weekend.
The action kicks off at 7am on Saturday and Sunday.