Fletcher's day at the Oceania Championship

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Oceania » French Polynesia
June 5th 2013
Published: June 26th 2017
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The third and final day of competition did not begin well. It had been announced last night that all officials were to be at the track at 8am. So I dutifully had the alarm on for 6-30 and reluctantly dragged myself down to catch the 7-30 bus. There were only four of us on it! Most of the others waited for the 8am one and then we also discovered that the first jumps event was not on until 11am. Fletcher had waited for the second bus too. Today I officiated on the Girl's U/18 Triple Jump, then the Decathlon Pole Vault and finally the Open Men's TJ. This was three in a row under very sunny skies and high humidity.

However, today belonged to Fletcher.While we were overseas he had an email which informed him that he had been awarded the highest honour in Oceania Aths Association awards, Life Membership. He was surprised but naturally delighted. Today, in front of the grandstand, he was presented with his (real) gold badge and a certificate, by Geoff Gardiner, President of OAA and Lord Sebastian Coe. The citation which was read out, was very flattering but absolutely true. I certainly had a tear in my eye even though I was on the other side of the track at the Triple Jump.

Tonight we went back to La Villa restaurant which we had so enjoyed last night. We had also spread the word to the others staying at our hotel about the great food and the value for money prices. When we got to the place there were already 18 of our crowd there so we joined four of them. When the waitress came over she recognised us from last night and I explained that her restaurant was nearly full on our recommendations. She was delighted. We had another excellent meal, I had a salmon dish which was delicious and Fletcher had a mahimahi(local fish) and salmon risotto. He said the rice was very soft and creamy and the fish, delicious. We were a little apprehensive about the others opinions but they all raved about the food. At the end of the meal the waitress brought the owner over to our table and because of our bringing so many to the place he offered us a free meal on Friday night!! We will certainly take him up on that.

Afterwards we went back to Geoff's room for a night cap. These championships were successful but tragedy struck as one of the NZ team,Lesley Cantwell, who won the 5km walk collapsed an hour afterwards, not from the event but from a brain aneurism which evidently was pre-existing. She was on life support and Yvonne and Geoff had to go to the airport and meet her family who flew in last night. She was only 26 and had a 3 year old daughter. They turned the machine off today and she died soon after. So sad.

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