Southerner in winning form

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Under 19 New Zealand rowing team Eva Hofmans (left, 18), Beckie Leigh, Shakira Mirfin (both 17), and Phoebe Trolove (18), took the title home for the women's quad race at the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships in Tokyo earlier this month. Photo: Supplied

USUALLY nervous before a big race, 17-year-old Shakira Mirfin felt calm and prepared to take on the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships, but winning was “pretty insane”.

“We’d done so much preparation in our boat so we all felt in control and focused.

“We weren’t sort of worried about what was going to happen because we knew if we just trusted ourselves and put everything on the line, it was going to be enough.”

The young Southlander competed in the Tokyo World Championships women’s quad race from August 7-11, with three other New Zealand crew members.

While she knew her crew would be “in the mix” of winners, she did not expect to win, she said.

Up against 12 other crews from around the world, the teenagers placed first in the final, with teams from Germany and Romania close behind.

The Invercargill Rowing Club member made the team after beating a qualifying race time at the 2019 Aon Maadi Cup in March and a week-long trial.

With an ergometer and bike set-up in the shed at her home, Mirfin trained herself, she said.

For two full-on months following, she trained alongside her crew members in Cambridge ahead of the trip to Japan, she said.

“We were all given programmes by our coaches, it was hard by myself but you just sort of had to get through it I guess.”

Once the team arrived in Japan, they spent a week being the “guinea pigs” for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics, she said.

“We tested out all the training spots where the elites go and where people would stay, everything was brand new.”

Mirfin planned to try out for the team again next year. She said it would not have been possible without the help of Academy Southland, her coach Hannah Starnes, and her parents.

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