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Waipa welcomes Olympians

Waipa welcomes Olympians

New Zealand’s Olympians will be welcomed back from Rio on Saturday with a family-focused celebration in Cambridge.

At least four Olympic medallists have already promised to be at the event with others expected to confirm over coming days.

Coxless pair silver medallist Genevieve Behrent plus track cycling silver medallists Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell will be there along with other members of New Zealand’s track cycling team. They’ve promised to bring their Olympics medals and join Waipa families in an old-fashioned party complete with family activities, a tug-of-war and plenty of opportunities for photos.

The athletes will meet Waipa mayor Jim Mylchreest at the Cambridge Town Hall at 12.30 before walking through the crowd to a stage in Victoria Square. After a short welcome, radio hosts from The Breeze will have a quick chat to the athletes about their Olympic experience in Rio before letting them loose into the crowd.

Waipa District Council has organised the event and arranged for an autograph tent and other activities. Sport Waikato will have plenty to keep children entertained, including a four-way tug-of-war competition. Activities at Victoria Square are scheduled to finish around 2pm.

Council’s communications manager Natalie Palmer said the party was a chance for the Waipa community to celebrate its reputation as the Home of Champions and for families to get up close to their Olympic athletes and heroes.

“Waipa people are used to Olympians and world champions… our district is awash with them and with world-class coaches and support staff,” she said.

“But that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate them. We all feel a burst of pride when any New Zealander competes at the Olympics and it’s fantastic that we can celebrate with them personally when they come home.”

Palmer said council events staff were working directly with national sporting bodies to get as many athletes as possible to the event, but some were now travelling or had other commitments.
Waipa’s Home of Champions facebook page (www.facebook.com/WaipaHomeofChampions) would carry updates of who was coming as soon as they were confirmed, she said.

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