Mildura Weekly : Friday December 6 Vol 8 No 6
www.milduraweekly.com.au 80 Mildura Weekly – 06/12/13 By VINNIE RODI THE excitement and love that Mil- dura’s Ethan Zrna, 10, has for the sport of BMX is evident from the moment you meet him. A quiet kid by nature, Ethan’s eyes light up once you get him talking about his favourite past- time. “I just love racing against other people and getting to mix with other riders,” he said. “I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather be doing than riding my bike.” A talented racer, Ethan recently finished second at the 2013 Victo- rian BMX Titles – held in Frankston – where he competed against 44 of the top riders in the country. With the competition open to all licensed BMX riders in Austra- lia, Ethan had to come up against the very best in the 10 Boys cat- egory, surviving six races to take second spot. “There were a lot of interstate riders in my section, which cer- tainly made racing a bit harder,” he said. “I’ve competed at State and Australian Titles before, so I just focused on each race and doing well. “I was pretty excited to finish second.” Currently ranked Number 1 in South Australia, Number 2 in Vic- toria, and Number 5 in Australia in his age group, Ethan’s second place tops off a sensational year on the track. This year alone has seen him appear at the South Australian (which he won), Australian (where he finished fifth) and now Victo- rian Titles, while also travelling across the country to compete and securing sponsorship with Speed- line/Supercross BMX Australia. A member of the Mildura BMX Club, Ethan said he spends up to five days a week training. “I’m always on my bike,” he said. “I spend a couple of days at the Mildura track, and a couple of days at home. “Any chance I have to get on a bike I take it.” Taking up the sport at age five, Ethan has followed in the foot- steps of his father – and coach – Dean Zrna, who was a fanatic go- kart racer in his day. “Dad has always been there to help me, and pass on any tips so that I can get better,” Ethan said. Ethan said his focus would now turn to the 2014 BMX season, with the 2014 South Australian Ti- tles to be held in February in Hal- lett Cove. “I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “Hopefully I can do well, and also qualify for the 2014 Australian Titles.” While Ethan was the top place- getter out of the Sunraysia squad that competed at this year’s Vic- torian Titles, two other riders also scored themselves top 10 finishes. Teagan Cornell, in 17 Girls, raced through the pain of a broken wrist to take a Vic4 plate, while Ron Helms took an eighth place finish in 40-44 Mens Cruiser. Teagan was dicing for third place in her final when she came together with another rider and went down, breaking her wrist. Despite the injury, the gritty Sunraysia rider re-mounted to fin- ish fourth, driven by the fact that failing to finish the final would have meant disqualification. Ethan taking BMX world by storm! THERE is a new craze in Sunraysia this summer, and National Rugby League Game Development Officer Martin O’Rourke is urging everyone to “tag-a-long” for the ride. For the first time, a rugby league tag summer competi- tion is being held in the region, and Martin says the sport will offer participants plenty of non-stop action. “Rugby tag is a fast- paced game,” he said. “It has the same principles as rugby league, except instead of tackling, a player must rip a velcro tag off an opponent to stop them. “There are eight players a side, with the idea to score a try within six attempts, so it’s a very energetic game.” Martin expects rugby tag to take off in Sunraysia, and said he’s been inundated by people wanting to take up the sport. “The response has been unbelievable,” he said. “I have had people of all ages contact me to sign up for the season, so I’m confident it will become a great success. “There is a junior and senior competition, so I’m hoping to see people of all walks of life get involved.” As part of his develop- ment role, Martin has spent time teaching the funda- mentals of rugby tag to Sun- raysia students, and says the sport has become an instant sensation. “The kids love it,” he said. “Through school pro- grams I have taught tag to 700 Sunraysia students in the past two terms, and all of them have enjoyed learn- ing the skills of the game. “It’s also very appeal- ing to parents because their children are able to keep fit and healthy, without having to endure the physical ele- ments of rugby league.” Martin believes rugby tag provides many health benefits for participants, and hopes it will encourage people to lead an active life- style. “The fitness aspect of rugby tag is fantastic,” he said. “Senior players are re- quired to run continuously at high intensity for two 20 minute halves, while the ju- nior games go for 20 min- utes, so it’s a great workout. “We are introducing rugby tag as a summer sport option for people of all ages or abilities so they can keep fit and active in a safe, fun environment.” After experiencing his first season overseeing the development of rugby league in Sunraysia, Martin admits he has been “pleas- antly surprised” with the state of the game in the re- gion. “Rugby league is very popular up here,” he said. “The senior men’s compe- tition is really strong, and we are looking to grow the game even further next sea- son by introducing a senior women’s and junior compe- tition. “Hopefully the populari- ty of tag will flow into rugby league, and really boost the profile of the sport in Sun- raysia.” The rugby tag junior sea- son is played at Aero Ovals at 5pm Tuesday, with the seniors playing Thursday at 6pm. More information is available by contacting Mar- tin on 0417 229 755. Rugby tag hits Sunraysia this summer • TAGGING ALONG: Nichols Point Primary students Demi Hearne, 13, Tali Butler, 11, Ben Muster, 12, and Levi Virgona,11, and NRL Sunraysia Development Officer, Martin O’Rourke celebrate the launch of the new rugby tag summer competition. INSET – Tali and Ben Muster in action. Photos: DARREN SEILER.
Friday November 29 2013 Vol 8 No 5
Friday December 13 Vol 8 No 7