20 December 2022
Five years ago, Hibiscus Coast Village resident Jay Newton had never picked up a pétanque boule. Now, the ambitious athlete holds the New Zealand Women’s Triples Championship title and proudly represents New Zealand internationally in the growing sport.
When Jay first attended her husband’s pétanque game in 2017, she didn’t expect to take a shine to the sport. After trying her hand at a few games, Jay was scouted to play in an inter-club team by the then President of the Hibiscus Coast Pétanque Club.
“It all took off from there. I love the thrill of a competition and I have a lot of drive and ambition, so I put a lot of effort into the sport.”
No stranger to competitive play, Jay has always had a keen interest in sport and has previously represented New Zealand in Masters Badminton.
“I love the comradeship that sport provides. My husband and I are both participants in Dementia Prevention Research, so we understand the importance of keeping your brain active, being social, and staying physically fit and healthy.”
“Pétanque in particular is not just a game of prowess, it’s mental too. A game can be won or lost in your head.”
Backed by a number of top coaches and her peers, Jay has dedicated much of 2022 to training for her biggest competition yet, the Oceania Championship which was held in Tahiti in September.
“Representing New Zealand on an international stage was an amazing experience. The pétanque piste was like nothing I’ve ever played on before. An unsealed road, huge rocks and troughs is not the normal terrain I’m used to, so it was huge learning curve.”
Despite the challenges that came with playing in an unfamiliar environment, Jay and her doubles partner put in an outstanding performance, finishing the competition in the semi-finals.
And with no intention of slowing down anytime soon, it’s straight back into training for Jay in the lead up to the Trans-Tasman Competition in March 2023.
“I’m so grateful for all the support I have had which enables me to pursue my love for the sport. The staff and residents at Hibiscus Coast Village have been my biggest fans. People I don’t even know are right behind me. It’s so lovely.”