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Some Thames Gymsports members who live in Eastern Coromandel face no competitions or weekly trainings. File Photo: SUPPLIED

Highway closures affect Thames clubs

Members of some Thames sports clubs have discontinued training and competing since the Kōpū-Hikuai Road closure in late January.
Thames Gymsports administrator Michelle Lange told The Profile between 20 and 30 existing and incoming members who reside on the eastern side of the peninsula had discontinued their sport.

“We have quite a strong group of gymnasts that have been coming to us for quite some time, all the way from preschoolers up to college age, who just can’t make it anymore,” she said.
“We also had a lot of people wanting to join up and they were all set to join over the Christmas holidays until disaster struck… everyone is disappointed.
“Some of those older girls were part of our competitors crew and they’re going to miss out on the competition season this year and not be able to meet up with their friends on that weekly basis.”
Michelle said the club had explored options to keep affected members involved in gymsports, including sending coaches and equipment to their households, and opening the Kōpū gym once a month for extended periods of time to make travel worthwhile.
“But now with the [Hikuai to Opoutere Rd damaged] as well, we’re struggling to try and put plans in place to help be connected,” she said.
Meanwhile, Thames squash players who need to travel long distances to reach the eastern Coromandel for work have also put down their racquets.
“Our season’s just starting but there’s probably less enthusiasm to be playing and travelling at night when you’ve already done a big day of travelling,” club president Leigh Robcke said.
“It’s taking quite a lot of the tradies, in particular, an extra hour-and-a-half each day to travel to, say, Pauanui, so some of them are not as keen to be playing competition squash after [work] hours.”
Leigh said the Kōpū-Hikuai closure had also interrupted interclub events.
“Mercury Bay usually puts in a couple of interclub teams for Tuesday and Wednesday night squash… but because of the road closure they’re not actually going to be doing that this year.”