Weepu to compete in World Manu Championships
Former All Blacks halfback and 2011 Rugby World Cup winner Piri Weepu has embarked on a new venture, aligning his prowess with a cause close to his heart.
He's recently committed to competing in the upcoming Manu World Championships, not just to showcase his diving finesse but also to advocate for water safety awareness this summer.
This prestigious championship unfolds in stages across the country, featuring five regional qualifiers preceding a climactic grand finale slated for Auckland in March. Among the innovations enhancing this competition is 'ManuTech,' a cutting-edge system developed by AUT. It harnesses technology to assess and appraise each dive's intricate details. AUT's human performance professor, Patria Hume, revealed that ManuTech evaluates not just the aesthetic of the dive but also the technical aspects, measuring factors like the splash's dimensions and even the sound or "pop" created by the jumpers.
Weepu, brimming with enthusiasm, is poised to grace the Wellington qualifier in late January, setting his sights on securing a coveted spot in the Auckland showdown. "I reckon I've got a pretty slick manu," he remarked confidently. "But even if I don't snag a spot in the final, I'll be there, backing and reveling in the artistry of the manu. It's a chance to witness some serious talent in action."
Emphasising the cultural significance of water to the Māori, Weepu highlighted their deep-rooted connection, acknowledging it as a vital source of sustenance and a repository of tradition. "But we're also experts at the manu," he quipped. "The Manu World Champs are an opportunity to share that heritage and underscore the importance of safety while having a blast."
Joining forces with Weepu as an event ambassador is Rob Hewitt, a former Navy diver and a staunch advocate for water safety. Hewitt, who has his own harrowing tale of survival after being lost at sea for 75 hours, echoes the sentiment behind the Manu World Champs. "This event isn't just about showcasing our skills; it's a platform to unite and put on a breathtaking exhibition. It's about refining our craft over years of hard work and passing down knowledge through generations," Hewitt emphasized. "We've all learned the art of the manu by watching others, and now, it's time to demonstrate that expertise in promoting water safety."
With the convergence of celebrated athletes like Weepu and passionate advocates like Hewitt, the Manu World Champs promise not only a dazzling display of talent but also a powerful platform to champion the vital cause of water safety.
Registrations for qualifiers in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton are now open HERE.
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