By LUCY WORMALD
History was made last weekend when Invercargill held its first-ever roller derby tournament.
Skaters from across the South Island rolled into the city for the event, with Queenstown represented by Kate ‘Miss Jellyfish Stings’ Robinson and Neha ‘Bombay Sassphire’ Gosalia.
While numbers fell a bit short for Queenstown Roller Derby to take a full team down to the event, Robinson and Gosalia slotted into other regional teams.
Robinson says she is super-proud of Invercargill’s Southernmost Skaters for organising the event.
‘‘It’s massive, for Invercargill because it was the first one ever, and then for roller derby in general because it’s not a sport that’s publicised in the mainstream.’’
Seeing roller derby get air time was amazing because it’s one of the most inclusive sports on the planet, she says.
‘‘It’s open to everybody … it doesn’t matter who you, where you are from, what you look like, how fit you are … you can still come and play roller derby.’’
Robinson, who didn’t start playing until she was 37, says the adrenalin rush is like nothing else.
‘‘You’re pushing your body beyond what you thought you could ever push it, but it’s the camaraderie as well … the team that you’re playing against, it’s not like they’re
your rivals, they’re actually your mates.’’
Although the Queenstown league sometimes struggles with numbers, partly due to the transient nature of the resort, recruitment is always on the agenda.
Robinson says they offer full training and social skate sessions, and often opt to play short track derby.
‘‘It’s the same idea but the rules are slightly different and there’s less people, [which] means smaller teams can play it … it’s a really good way for us to still play roller derby and still get the thrill and the fun.’’