Wheels are turning …

Te Awamutu siblings Devon and Zara Howells are set on success – and at the speed of this sport, it won’t take either long to get there.

The pair are training for this weekend’s 2024 Banked Track Speed Skating Championships at Melville Park’s Hamilton Roller Skating Club, where they are members.

It is the first time either have competed, and 12-year-old Devon – a Te Awamutu Intermediate School student – and Zara, 10, who attends Pokuru School, are Te Awamutu’s only competitors.

Zara, 10, and Devon, 12, Howells are training for this weekend’s Banked Track Speed Skating Championships. Photo: Kim Howells

They are among 15 representing their Hamilton club, and about 100 speed skaters nationwide expected at the championships.

The siblings got their first pair of inline skates in 2020 and  learned to speed skate in early 2022.

They played inline hockey – on inline skates – which involved frequent travel to Whanganui to take part in competitions, then switched to speed skating after being approached by Hamilton Roller Skating Club stalwart Kathy Moody.

In preparation for this weekend, the siblings have been completing skate training three times a week.

Devon will compete in the cadet age group for 12-14-year-olds in a 200m, 500m, 1000m, and a 5km points elimination race – in which lapped competitors are eliminated.

Zara will compete in the juvenile category for 10 and 11-year-olds, with a 200m, 500m, a 1000m and a 3000m race in her sights.

Mum Kim said the championships will provide somewhat of a litmus test as to how far they then want to take speed skating.

Speed skating beginners start out on inline skates, and progress to other types of skates. Skates come with different numbers of wheels and wheel sizes.

Devon uses four-wheel skates with 100mm wheels, the largest he can skate with until progressing to 110mm wheels at 15. Zara qualified for next month’s nationals while still skating in inline skates.

She moved up to using speed skates six months ago – and now uses three-wheeled skates with 90mm wheels.

Kim would like to  see speed skating grow at school level in Te Awamutu.

More Recent Sports

Shield has fans fizzing

The Rams and their supporters are said to be champing at the bit ahead of King Country’s Ranfurly Shield game against Hawkes Bay next Wednesday (June 26). King Country has made 19 challenges for the Ranfurly Shield…

Praise for coaching ‘legend’

There was one person mentioned repeatedly after Te Awamutu Intermediate came third at the Waikato Intermediate and Middle Schools hockey tournament this month – coach Sally Davies. “Sally lives and breathes hockey and her energy,…

Te Awamutu hang on for draw

Honours were shared in the Battle of Waipā between Cambridge and Te Awamutu in the Waikato division one women’s senior reserve match at John Kerkhof Park in Cambridge on Sunday. But the joy on the…

McGovern’s life of racing

Tony McGovern was 16 when he first became involved in racing, but the King Country-born industry stalwart was born into it. His family have long ties with the racing industry – uncle Rory was a…