GETTING “hammered” in training by one of the country’s best triathletes may sound rough but a young Gisborne up-and-comer sees that as a win.

A 2019 Eastland Port sponsorship recipient, Josiah Ney recently signed on with Tauranga-based coach Craig Kirkwood.

And as part of that he got to undergo six days of training with World-ranked triathlete Hayden Wilde.

“The swim has always been my strength but he absolutely hammered me in the run and that’s really beneficial for me,” he says. “Hayden is such a great athlete that training with him was just too good an opportunity to pass up.”

Aside from the fact that he’s naturally powerful in the water, Josiah’s running has been weaker than his swim as, for the last couple of years, he’s suffered from shin splints.

“But I really feel like I’m on the other side of that now and am looking forward to pushing my running and cycling. While training in Tauranga I managed to clock up 63 kilometres of running with no pain at all, so it’s looking really good.”

Josiah will have a little while to build on those strengths: He turns 19 in March, which means he has the rest of the year to compete in the under-19 categories.

Meanwhile, that same month there’s another milestone to mark . . . to be held in Tasmania (Australia), the 2019 Triathlon Oceania Championships will be an important qualifier that will determine Josiah’s event schedule for the coming months.

If he does well, he’ll win selection into the New Zealand Triathlon Elite Junior Team, catapulting him straight to the International Triathlon Union Age Group World Championships, to be held in Switzerland in late August.

“Because of that the Oceania event is really important to me, and the Eastland Port sponsorship is going to help me get there,” he says. “Support like that is amazing as it helps get you another step closer to your goal.”

Josiah’s ultimate goal is to stand on an Olympic podium so his university study – which starts this year – is structured around that.

The emerging star has enrolled at the University of Waikato, but it’s not just the institution’s reputation for sports medicine and science that has attracted him.

“The Avanti Velodrome high-performance centre is just down the road, in Cambridge, and the facilities there are so good that most of top-achieving athletes in the country are based there.”

Josiah’s open-water training will be different . . . he’ll be using the nearby Lake Karapiro rather than the ocean, but he’s happy to take that in his stride.

And having both Sir Edmund Hillary and Prime Minister’s scholarships under his belt, once he’s met his academic commitments he’s free to devote around 25 hours a week to training.

“Training so much can be hard on your social life and that’s one of the reasons why I’m really looking forward to having Cambridge as a base,” he says.

“A lot of the people there will have the same focus so we’ll all be in the same boat together.”

Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum says Josiah Ney has a promising future and he applauds his commitment to his sport whilst maintaining a gruelling study regimen. “It’s obvious to us that Josiah is a well-rounded man whose identity does not rest entirely on his sporting prowess. We’re thrilled to be supporting him in his goals.”