A born-and-bred Queenstowner is the latest addition to New Zealand’s Olympic Games squad.
Sprint canoeist Teneale Hatton, who’ll compete in the women’s K1 500 metres, says in an email from her training base in Italy, she considers herself a true Queenstowner.
Hatton, 22, traces her interest in paddling to growing up in Queenstown’s Sunshine Bay – she shifted to Auckland with her family in 1995 when aged five.
“Growing up next to water certainly got me interested at an early age.”
Hatton – a top surf lifesaver who only took up kayaking at the age of 18 – says she misses Queenstown, especially the winters.
“It’s where I first learnt to ski so it’s a pretty special place for me.”
Her parents Jim and Patricia still have quite a few friends in Queenstown that they keep in touch with, she says.
Coached by kayaker Ian Ferguson, who won four Olympic gold medals, Hatton qualified for the Games in London after strong World Cup performances in Poland and Germany.
Hatton is ranked 12th and has beaten five of the top 16 athletes in her discipline at least once this season.
Asked if she’ll be competing for Queenstown as well as NZ in London, Hatton says: “You bet! I can’t forget my roots and I hold Queenstown close to my heart.”