Young sportsmen punch far above their own weight

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Three young Wakatipu High sportsmen have been honoured for their achievements with awards normally reserved for senior students. 

Year 9 swimmer Patrick Harris and Year 10 pupils Callum Burns and Takashi Goda – who play ice hockey and golf respectively – were last Friday given prestigious blues awards at a glitzy school ceremony. 

The youngsters have been acknowledged because they’re performing well above their age level and to a standard of Year 11-13 pupils. 

Patrick, 14, is New Zealand’s third-best 200m backstroke swimmer for his age after winning a bronze medal at the National Age Group Champs this year. During that race he also broke a long-standing Otago record. 

He also won five gold medals at the Otago Championships and earned podium places at several other events. 

Callum, 14, won a national ice hockey skills challenge and will next year travel to Austria to represent NZ in a similar challenge at the Youth Olympic Games. He has also been named to play in the NZ under-18 team to travel to Bulgaria next March. 

Takashi, 15, is recognised as one of Otago’s best junior golfers. Playing off a projected handicap of 2.9,  Takashi has this year been selected to represent Otago in the under-16 team. He recently achieved the best net score – their total after handicap strokes are deducted – in the NZ under-17 Eagles Tournament. 

The boys say they didn’t expect to receive the honours that are normally given to older students. 

Sports coordinator Jenna Harton says it’s great that the three teens have been recognised among about 100 seniors who also got sporting or cultural blues at the ceremony. 

“Senior blues for Year 9 and 10 students are very limited – they have to have done exceptionally well.” 

“It just shows their true sporting potential. They’re future sports stars of NZ,” Harton says.