With their bright red shirts and mega-watt grins, three friends from Germany were greeted by thunderous applause when they received their medals today at the wrap-up of the 2nd Pacific Outgames tennis tournament in Wellington.
Petra Werny and Corinna Sprafke won silver in the women’s doubles, while Inta Grass – along with New Zealander Jacqui Collins – took out the bronze.
The Hanoverian trio, affectionately referred to as “the campervan girls” by a fellow participant, said they had no need for a hotel – they’d simply parked their campervan outside the tennis court and slept there between the two days of competition.
Their New Zealand soujourn began in Auckland and they visited Cape Reinga and the Bay of Islands in their campervan before making their way down the east coast to Wellington.
“Next we’re going to Taupo – and we’re all going to bungy!” Petra giggled, while Corinna shook her head, looking horrified.
But a big after-match party was first on the agenda, they said.
“With New Zealand beer,” Corinna added, brandishing a familiar orange can. “We love Tui!”
Tennis co-ordinator Rhys Hakkens said all the women involved in the tennis tournament were very fit and he was “very impressed” with their stamina – but many of the male participants were feeling the burn after today’s competition.
“Tennis is a sport that’s quite hard on the body,” he said. “It’s probably the most exhausting sport out of all of them. With swimming, for instance, it’s just in and out – you go hard for a few minutes and that’s it. But some of these guys played for about six hours today.”
While there were a few minor injuries – “People think they’re reliving their 18th birthdays in terms of what their bodies can handle!” – the day ran smoothly overall, Rhys said.
There were around 50 people registered and almost all of those competed in both the singles and the doubles tournaments.
| Anna Loren