26/02/2011 - Natasha Hansen pulled something special out of the bag yesterday to win gold on day one of the 2011 New Zealand track cycling championships in Invercargill – but she did it thinking about Christchurch.
Hansen is now based in Invercargill and rides for Southland but her roots are in Canterbury. Many of her family and friends were affected by this week's devastation in Christchurch.
But she delivered on her bike, winning the 250m women's time trial and beating her own record.
"My family were caught up in the devastation but they are safe and well. It's definitely affected me and I think it has affected the whole country," Hansen said. "The only thing that has got me through and got me switching on is appreciating the fact I have this opportunity. After what has happened you really start to value life."
The gold medal in the 250m sprint was her first national title in the Southland skinsuit, something she hopes is payback for all the people in Southland who, she said, had made her so welcome since shifting to Invercargill in September.
A trophy she won last year had etched on it "Natasha Hansen Canterbury". "This time it said `Natasha Hansen Southland'. It will for a few more years, I think."
Other Southland medal wins last night were: Hansen and Emma Gibb, silver in the women's 500m teams sprint; Cameron Kawowski and Tom Scully, silver in the kilo; and Matt Archibald, gold, and Sean Fox, bronze, in the 250m time trial.
Story courtesy of The Southland Times