Erin steps up at Oceania championships

Marlborough speed skater Erin Green showed she is well up with the pace internationally, bringing two medals back from last week’s Oceania champs in Brisbane.

The 13-year-old, who raced in the cadet class, picked up a bronze medal in a closely-contested individual 200m time trial, ending up just 0.37sec off the pace, and a silver medal alongside two Nelson skaters in the 3000m relay.

She also competed in the 1000m event, winding up fourth and narrowly missing another podium finish, the 5000m elimination race, which was termed “a learning curve”, and the 5000m points race in which she was well-placed and had picked up points before losing a frame on her skate, which put her out of contention.

Her mother and coach, Roxanne Green, said Erin had performed better than she had anticipated and had learned plenty from the experience, especially being part of the 31-strong Kiwi team.

“It was a great experience,” said Roxanne, who was one of the NZ team managers, “all the coaches, and the other athletes were so helpful and forthcoming with information.

“She made some good friends and learned heaps.

“It has given her the incentive to carry on and do better,” with help from her new coach Jazmyn McAuley, who has moved to Blenheim from Timaru. “Jazmyn is a very good teacher with a lot of experience, having skated nationally and internationally,” said Roxanne. “She has also skated under the guidance of Cheryl and Nicole Begg, both world champions.

“Bill Begg, a former international and NZ coach, has also been a big part of Jazmyn’s learning, so we are very lucky to have her here in Blenheim.”

Further ahead for Erin, who has another year in the cadet section, is the national champs and another shot at the Oceanias, plus a possible trip to Jakarta late in the year to train and race against international-quality skaters.

On the more immediate agenda for Erin, and her fellow skaters in the Blenheim club, is the Top of the South Queen’s Birthday Weekend Tour, which will be staged at three Marlborough venues over June 1-3.

“It is a really fun event for kids and adults, wanting to have a go at racing” said Roxanne, “and everyone comes away with something.”

The national marathon champs will also be run in conjunction with the Tour, staged at the kart track on Monday, June 3.

Skater excited by chance to compete against Oceania’s elite

Marlborough speed skater Erin Green goes head-to-head with Oceania’s best in Brisbane this week.

Erin, who has just turned 13, will don the silver fern for the second time at the Oceania championships, having first represented her country at the 2018 champs in Timaru.

Last year she skated her way into two finals and is hoping to improve on that effort this time around.

Her mother and long-time coach, Roxanne Green, feels Erin can make her presence felt at the Brisbane event which ran from April 19-24.

“She is looking really good at the moment, better than she ever has thanks to the help of a young coach who has moved to Blenheim from Timaru.

“Jazmyn McAuley has helped improve Erin’s technique, which is a work in progress,” Roxanne says.

While sprint racing has been Erin’s specialty in the past, she is venturing into the endurance field. She will skate in the cadets grade in Brisbane, racing over short (300m time trial) and long (1000m) sprint distances, plus take on the 21km half marathon.

After being crowned national champion in the juvenile road and flat track class at the 2018 New Zealand champs, Erin stepped up to the junior (12-15) grade at the 2019 champs. Although she finished in the middle of the pack against older skaters, often with much more experience, it was all good preparation for Brisbane.

Roxanne said that while her daughter was nervous, she thrived on competition.

“She doesn’t get hyped about anything … she gets on the line and just does her thing.”

The Blenheim Roller Skating Club raised money to help fund Erin’s trip by staging a roller disco, funds from which paid for her racing wheels.

With about 40 members, the club has been very supportive, Erin said.

Although she relishes the friendships and the social side of racing it is whirring around a track that gives her a real sense of achievement.

“When I race, I just focus on being fast,” she added.

Erin and Roxanne, who is one of the team managers, departed alongside the 31-strong NZ team for Australia on Thursday.

For further information about the Blenheim Roller Skating Club and Erin’s progress visit facebook.com and search under the club’s name.