Locals set to shine
SURF LIFE Saving Queensland Wide Bay Capricorn regional manager Craig Holden is expecting many locals to shine in the 2011 North Australian Championships this weekend.
About 750 competitors from clubs from Hervey Bay north, including a contingent from Darwin, will battle it out from tomorrow to Sunday.
Holden said Elliott Heads club IRB rescue teams, featuring Jeff, Toni and Trent Heaton and Ricky Wootton, would be "super competitive" in their events.
"And they should ensure that our first medals of the weekend are brought home on day one," Holden said.
"Also in with great chances of medalling on the first day will be Bundaberg club competitors in the champion lifesaver and first aid events - Wendy, Brodie and Abigail Johnston, Teisha Towner, Erin Gibson, Hayley Bowman, Jill Cremer, Abby Dunkley, Emma Finnis and Jack Lester."
Brodie Johnston claimed the under-15 champion lifesaver bronze medal at the Australian championships earlier this year, while his mother Wendy picked up a state bronze medal in the event.
The pool rescue events will be held tomorrow afternoon and evening and Holden said they would be fast and furious.
"Local members of the Queensland Country High Performance Pool Rescue Squad - Bonnie Stehbens, Brodie Johnston, Finnis and Moore Park brothers Matthew and Benjamin Davis - are expected to feature prominently," he said.
"But other locals such as Jacob O'Shea, Joshua Finnis, Corey Findlay, all of the Bundaberg club, and Elliott Heads' Christopher Blanchard will also be in medal contention.
"Turning attention to the weekend's events, our beach competitors, namely Braydon and Riley Batt, Christopher Powell, Daniel Crook and Maddison Masterman-Smith, of Elliott Heads, and Bundaberg's Annelise Wesley and Garry Ryan, will be keen to dominate.
"And I am looking forward to the duel between clubmates Powell and Braydon Batt in both the under-17 and open male beach events in particular.
"Our masters, headed by Moore Park's Julie and John Davis and Jo Tolvanen, Elliott Heads' Toni and Jeff Heaton and Russell Blanchard, and Bundaberg's Wendy Johnston and Garry Ryan, will also be looking to grab their share of the medals and I am confident they will do so.
"In the water events, we have a plethora of outstanding local talents who will be expected to perform well, including Matthew and Benjamin Davis and Calida Felton, of Moore Park, and Elliott Heads' Ryan Bennett and Christopher Blanchard.
"From Bundaberg, Jacob O'Shea, Joshua Finnis, Corey Findlay, Bonnie Stehbens, Emma Finnis, Brodie Johnston and Toby Sheppard will also be in the thick of things.
"All in all, it is shaping as being a great weekend of competition, and I wish all good luck."