Young woman with killer throw favourite in Queenstown dodgeball

There were winners and losers in a brutal Queenstown dodgeball competition on Friday, but a clear favourite of the tournament was a young woman who alone made more hits than some entire teams.

Queenstown's annual Winter Festival kicked off on Thursday, and the Old Mout Dodgeball Championships have become an iconic fixture of the event.

A big crowd gathers to watch the iconic event.
A big crowd gathers to watch the iconic event. Photo credit: Newshub.

Keen young men and women in elaborate team uniforms - prison stripes, hi-vis and with many wigs - braved the 7degC air on the town's lakefront, one brave team of guys even played topless. Unfortunately, it didn't enhance their ball-dodging abilities.

But the most memorable moments of the games were the swift and striking throws from the arm of Ellie Lewis in Team Wendy, who deservedly won the unofficial 'hero of the tournament' title from the commentators, and much loud applause from the crowd of ousted players and onlookers.

Ellie Lewis prepares for another forceful throw.
Ellie Lewis prepares for another forceful throw. Photo credit: Newshub.

It was very nice to get so much support, she says.

"You're in the zone and you don't really think about it and then suddenly it's all over," says Lewis.

"The crowd are amazing, it really pumps you up."

"And the commentators are wicked, really funny," teammate and Queenstown local Amy Friedman says.

Lewis, a young traveller originally from the UK, is only in Queenstown for five days, but had enough mates here for the four-player squad.

Ellie Lewis' team sadly didn't make the finals.
Ellie Lewis' team sadly didn't make the finals. Photo credit: Newshub.

Sadly, they didn't make it to the finals, after a couple of quick hits in the semis.

"It was great team play in there, the girls came out big for us, we all had our individual moments," says Spencer Wombwell-Wright, one of the two guys in the team.

The festival's Dodgeball Championships attract an array of competitors, mostly in their 20s, who are travelling, working locally, or who've come up from Otago University.

Mr Wright says they saw the tournament advertised online.

"We were just going to go for the fireworks," he says.

The tournament came down to teams Balls in the Face and Team Reespect. In the end, Balls in the Face caught too many balls in the face, and Team Reespect went home with the prize of a UE Boom 2 for each member.


Matthew Hutching was a guest of the Queenstown Winter Festival & Air New Zealand.