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Keegan Joe grabbing his opportunities in beach volleyball

Keegan Joe grabbing his opportunities in beach volleyball

If you thought beach volleyball sounds like an exciting sport to be good at, you’d be right.

Sunshine, opportunities for travel, and a busy schedule of tournaments.

But like any sport it also involves a lot of hard work and dedication, and many hours of training and practice in all conditions. 

“We normally tough it out and train outside, even in cold, miserable weather. We have an outdoor beach court area at our school so we head out and train there in all conditions,” says beach volleyballer Keegan Joe who is preparing to represent New Zealand at the Youth Olympics in October.

“I’m also busy at the moment juggling all my schoolwork around volleyball training and I’m doing a mix of NCEA Level 2 and Level 3 subjects,” adds Keegan who is year 12 at Spotswood College.

Over the past year, Keegan has competed at three major junior beach volleyball tournaments, ahead of the Youth Olympics in Argentina.

Keegan will be teaming up with a familiar player. “My partner at the Youth Olympics is David Jeffrey, who is an ex-Spotswood College student.”

A third Taranaki player will also be going to the Youth Olympics, with Maya Dickson who is currently at New Plymouth Girls’ High School teaming up with Westlake Girls High School’s Tamara Otene in the women’s competition.

Keegan finished fifth at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas last July with Tyan Gillespie from Rotorua - which is a highlight so far.

“Not only our result at the Youth Commonwealth Games, but also being part of a multisport event. I see that as kind of reflecting what the Youth Olympics will be like, only way bigger and lots of opportunity to do well.

“The Youth Commonwealth Games had about 1000 athletes, the Youth Olympics is meant to have about 4,000 and more sports, so being part of such a big youth sporting event and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is going to be great, and wearing the New Zealand fern is a big thing for me.”

Keegan (right) with Ryan Gunn at the recent U19 World Champs. PHOTO: NZ Volleyball.
​This year he has had two trips overseas, earning qualification for the Youth Olympics in the process.

The first was to Australia to the Oceania U19 Beach Championships. Keegan and Olympic partner David finished second at that tournament in Canberra.

The second was to Nanjing, China in the middle of July for the World Youth Beach Volleyball Championships. Keegan teamed up with Ryan Gunn from Rangitoto College to finish 17th equal.

“The recent trip to China was a great experience. The competition was tough because there are so many great beach volleyball countries around the world, but competing at the highest youth level was pretty cool.”

Back home last summer, Keegan and David won gold at the New Zealand U19 Beach Volleyball Championships in Mt Maunganui.  Keegan and David followed that up by winning the qualifiers for the New Zealand team for the Oceania Champs.

Keegan also teamed up with year 12 schoolmate Meli Naborisi to finish second to Rangitoto’s Ryan Gunn and Sam Andersen at the NZSS Beach Volleyball Championships at Mt Maunganui.

Of note, Spotswood College pair Libby Houghton and Hikaru Han successfully defended their NZSS Girls title in the same tournament. 

Keegan Joe at the recent World U19 Championships in China. PHOTO: NZ Volleyball.
As well as on the sand, Keegan plays indoor volleyball for the Spotswood College team that won the Division 2 title for the second consecutive year at the NZSS Indoor Senior Boys tournament in April.

In winning Division 2, Spotswood beat Otago Boys’ High School 3-0 in their quarterfinal, Rongotai College 3-0 in their semi-final and then One Tree Hill College 3-0 in their final.

Prior to the tournament splitting up into the two divisions, Spotswood was drawn in a tough pool which also included Western Heights High School, Nayland College and One Tree Hill College. Western Heights went on and won Division 1, Nayland College finished fifth in Division 1 and One Tree Hill College were the team they met again in the Division 2 final.

Keegan says most of the team will be back next year so they will be hoping to make Division 1. The nucleus of this Spotswood team finished third at the North Island Junior Championships in 2016.

The Spotswood College team is coached by Keegan’s father, Anthony Joe. He is also Keegan and David’s coach at the Youth Olympics.

The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be held from October 6-18, involving over 200 countries.
- College Sport Media 
Girls' basketball team makes Taranaki history

Girls' basketball team makes Taranaki history

When Shay Haira started coaching girls' basketball at a Taranaki high school she told her team that before they finished their education they'd win a national title.

Oakura surfer and New Zealand team member Ariana Shewry finds freedom out on the ocean

Oakura surfer and New Zealand team member Ariana Shewry finds freedom out on the ocean

In October, Oakura surfer Ariana Shewry will fly to Huntington Beach in California to represent New Zealand at the world junior champs. The teenager recently took visual journalists Andy Jackson and Simon O'Connor on a few training sessions along Taranaki's Surf Highway 45 and told them about her love of the sport.

Claudia Kelly and Junior Black Fins preparing for World Champs

Claudia Kelly and Junior Black Fins preparing for World Champs

It’s an action-packed year for the Junior Black Fins team as they prepare to take on the world at the 2018 Lifesaving World Championships in Adelaide in November.

Year 12 New Plymouth Girls’ High School athlete Claudia Kelly and the team's co-captain wouldn’t have it any other way in a sport she loves.

“It’s really exciting to be training hard at the moment to represent New Zealand, for a young sportsperson it is the highest level to reach so it feels amazing to be able to do this,” said Claudia who represents the East End Surf Life Saving Club.

“This week I am at a swimming training camp near New Plymouth so it’s a big workload at the moment, we have two two-hour training sessions each day plus a gym or dry land session as well.”

Claudia is the second youngest person in the 12-strong Junior Black Fins team that features a dedicated group of current and recent school-aged surf lifesavers from around the country. The youngest is Briana Irving from Gisborne Girls’ High School.

The Lifesaving World Championships consists of 43 pool and beach lifesaving events over five days of competition, including three days of pool events and two days of beach and ocean events. Claudia is an all-rounder.

“I am a craft person, so I do board and ski but my main event is the ironwoman, and I also do some pool events as well.

The ironwoman or oceanwoman is like a surf rescue medley event. “It is sort of like a triathlon of the water, it involves a surf swim and then a board leg, and a surf ski leg with a run transition in between. It’s a full-on 15 minute race.”

Claudia has recently returned from Japan with the New Zealand Surf Life Saving High Performance team that finished second behind Australia at the annual Sanyo Cup competition.

“We did really well as a young team and we were quite close behind Australia. They won by 20 points on day one but on day two we pulled together and they finished only eight points in front of us.”

Other countries competing at the Sanyo Cup included USA, Great Britain, Netherlands, South Africa, Hong Kong and Japan. Claudia said the World Championships will be a step up in intensity and with more countries competing, but this and other recent high level competition means they know what to expect.

Future Champion Keegan Joe places 17th equal at World Championships

Future Champion Keegan Joe places 17th equal at World Championships

Sport Taranaki Future Champion & Spotswood College student Keegan Joe has just returned from the World U19 Beach Volleyball Championships in China. Keegan & his partner Ryan Gunn had a successful tournament, placing 17th equal overall, with convincing wins over Vanuatu & Bolivia.  Keegan describes the trip as "awesome" with the opportunity giving "insight into the youth world level of beach volleyball."

3 Taranaki Athletes to represent New Zealand at World Under 19 Championships in Nanjing China

3 Taranaki Athletes to represent New Zealand at World Under 19 Championships in Nanjing China

Taranaki will be well represented at the World Under 19 Beach Volleyball Championships in Nanjing China. Keegan Joe, David Jeffrey, Maya Dickson and AJ Joe (Head of Delegation and Boys coach) will be heading to China on the 5th July for the World Youth Beach Volleyball .

Sport NZ releases new participation survey

Sport NZ releases new participation survey

Sport NZ has today released the first report from its new Active NZ participation survey, providing a point-in-time snapshot of participation in sport and active recreation explored through the lenses of age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation.

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