Tuesday, 29 August 2023 15:55

Rugby superstar goes head-to-head with world record holding sheep shearer

Written by  Staff Reporters
Stacey Waaka (left) and Sacha Bond (right) preparing for the challenge. Stacey Waaka (left) and Sacha Bond (right) preparing for the challenge.

World champion New Zealand rugby player and Beef + Lamb Ambassador, Stacey Waaka went up against world-record-holding sheep shearer Sacha Bond in a series of athletic tests last week at Massey University’s Auckland campus.

The challenge, facilitated by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Massey University, forms part of World Iron Awareness Week which kicks off today with the theme ‘Iron to Move’ designed to showcasing the important role iron can play in keeping physically active.

Senior lecturer in sport and exercise science, Dr Claire Badenhorst says both Waaka and Bond are at the top of their game in their respective fields “but obviously are quite different physically, so these athletic tests that compared their strength, endurance and agility were extremely interesting”.

Badenhorst was impressed by the athletes, saying that both performed ‘extremely well’.

“The tests highlighted why they are such excellent performers in their chosen fields,” she says.

“Iron plays a crucial role in achieving peak performance, whether it be for sport, work or just maintaining a busy lifestyle. And with stats from the last National Nutrition Surve indicating that 12% of women (aged 30 – 51 years) are low in iron, this is an area I’m passionate in raising awareness in,” says Badenhorst.

She says that a notable number of women are experiencing the effects of low iron levels.

“I also have personal experience with the consequences of an iron deficiency, and at times found it difficult to maintain adequate iron levels,” she adds. “It can leave you feeling very tired and fatigued – making both work and exercise a real challenge.”

Waaka and Bond both say they follow a well-balanced diet rich in iron.

“I personally eat beef and lamb because I love meat,” Waaka says. “I genuinely love the taste, and enjoy cooking it when I have the time.”

“I eat beef and lamb to help my body function well from a mental, physical and spiritual perspective. What you put in foodwise is what you get out physically,” she says.

Waaka says the athletic tests were harder than expected, “but my competitiveness helped push me through those tough moments!”

Meanwhile, Bond says she found the tests fun but challenging.

“It was a great way to see where I'm at in the lead-up to my next world record attempt,” she says. “I’m really glad I ate well beforehand, as I feel this was key to my performance.”

“I enjoy eating beef and lamb not only because it is delicious, but also because it gives me the nutrients I need to feel energised throughout my day,” Bond says.

“After a hard day on the farm, I love tucking into a slow-cooked lamb shank or a rare steak with garlic butter,” she adds.

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