• August 24, 2021
Teneale Hatton. Photo: screenshot
Olympic sprint kayaker Teneale Hatton is excited to reunite with family today after two weeks in MIQ.
“It doesn’t really feel like we are home yet,” Teneale tells TWN from her MIQ hotel room.
Teneale, an AUT alumnus, was looking forward to celebrating following her release from quarantine today. But that will now be on hold, thanks to the current Covid-19 outbreak.
The 31-year-old says it’s wild that they travelled to Japan and raced at the Olympics in the middle of a global pandemic.
Tokyo 2020 hadn’t even been on her radar. The two-time Olympian took a break at the end of 2014 from the elite level.
However, throughout 2020 Teneale found herself spending more time in the kayak.
“I started to love being back in the kayak, so going back to sprint kayaking just became a focus again,” she says.
The delay of the 2020 Tokyo games gave her time to improve to a point where she could be competitive.
“It was a shorter amount of time than I expected,” she says.
Selected for the K-2 500m and K-4 500m events, Teneale says her experience in Tokyo was extremely different to London 2012.
“There was a lot of restrictions. Usually you would go out for a coffee with people you knew but this time you avoided any socialising.
“There was such a caution, and you want to respect everyone’s concerns.”
Teneale finished fourth in the Women’s Kayak Four (K-4) 500m, seated alongside gold-medal legend Lisa Carrington. In a time of 1:37.168 they were just shy of the medals.
“Finishing fourth is always bittersweet, but it is the best a NZ K4 team has ever done.
To be so close to the best in the world is a pretty amazing feeling.”
Although the celebrations with other athletes may have to wait, Teneale will return to work as a paramedic.
“It will be quite a change of scenery. I will still be paddling but it will be back to normal life and into the thick of things,” she says.
Despite lockdown, the NZ Team has been keeping the Olympic spirit going on Facebook. Teneale got involved taking the public through a live workout on Sunday.
But in true fashion, Covid made sure to disrupt this too, as Teneale raced off to get her final test.
Kalino Latu • September 14, 2021