SunLive         

Boxing, squash and rugby

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian
www.sunlive.co.nz

Watching a young David Tua defeating Kali Meehan in the opening round of the Heavyweight final at the New Zealand championships in 1989, captured on video, got this sports fan thinking about the visions of youth. 

At just sixteen years of age in 1989, David Tua became the next great hope in New Zealand boxing.

The South Aucklander ripped through the amateur heavyweight ranks in New Zealand, winning three successive heavyweight crowns.

After winning Olympic and World Championship bronze medals, Tua turned to the professional ranks at just 20 years old. 

The world looked to be his oyster in as he quickly scythed through the ranks of journeymen pugilists, before turning his attention to the genuine contenders.

Fast forward to today and we can see a professional boxing career in the rear view mirror, which few could have imagined two and a half decades ago. 

Unbelievable highs of success, along with the unfulfilled dream of bringing a World Heavyweight crown back to New Zealand, were in the future when David beat Kali Meehan in the ring 28 years ago. 

Sitting on the side line of two sporting events last week got this writer thinking about the hopes and expectations of the young participants.

The World Junior Squash Championships held in the Western Bay of Plenty brought the hottest young squash talent in the world to our doorstep. 

Egypt ruled the 2017 World Squash Juniors, wining both the men and women's individual titles and the women's team event, which is held bi-annually.

Several players in the 12 strong Egyptian team are sure to go on to become the stars of the game in the future.

Others in the 150 strong field will achieve success and glory, while many will reach their mark and quietly drop out of the game or go back to the ranks of recreational players. 

Maramatanga Park on the Western Bay border attracted a large crowd of vocal rugby fans on Saturday, who came to barrack for hosts Te Puna and Te Puke Sports who fought out the Baywide Development title decider. 

With many of the players not long out of secondary school ranks, here was another group of young sportsmen with their aspirations for the future on show.

The Development final was a cracker, with the scores tied at 30 points apiece at full time, before Te Puke Sports took out the title 45-43 in 20 minutes of extra time. 

Rugby is in grand heart in our region as witnessed by the Development final and local rugby fans can look forward to the Bay Rugby youth pathway producing the Steamers of the future, who can bring success back to the Bay of Plenty. 

Sport can transpose many boundaries and gives young people the opportunity to succeed in life.

Sport can take young people from the wrong side of the tracks and head them in a new direction, giving them life skills that last forever. 

Go the Steamers

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