Kayak medal winner

Ten-year-old slalom sensation Gage Laughton

Ten-year-old Wellsford kayak star Gage Laughton has taken home three bronze medals at the Secondary Schools Champs and New Zealand Slalom Nationals.

As the youngest competitor in both competitions held in Kawerau, Gage showed age was no barrier by beating older students to the podium.

In the midst of Cyclone Cook, father Lee Laughton said Gage was “thrilled” with his results even though the weather conditions lead to events being cancelled on the final day.

”He was a bit annoyed he missed out by 0.6 of a second to claim a silver at the secondary schools’ competition and was gutted that the Boater cross event which he was a favourite for was cancelled due to the weather.”

Sister Darcie also competed in the schools’ competition and placed in the top 10 of the U16 Women’s K1 event.

In the New Zealand Slalom Nationals Gage competed on a course designed at a higher grade for adults. After ploughing his way through to the U12 K1 finals, Gage was awarded with another bronze medal to add to his growing collection.

“He is now third in New Zealand for U12s and one of the youngest in the country doing what he does,” said Lee.

At nationals Gage and Darcie also met two of their New Zealand canoe heroes, Mike Dawson and Olympic silver medalist Luuka Jones.

Gage and Darcie will spend winter training for next season focussing on waterfalls and general river running in preparation.


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