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Another NZ title to comeback kid Ney

JUST a couple of weeks after becoming the New Zealand schools under-20 duathlon champion, Gisborne’s Josiah Ney is going under the knife.

Surgery to remove a metal plate and screws from his shoulder will be one of the final acts of a nine-month treatment, recovery and comeback process for the Gisborne Boys’ High School student.

And what a comeback it has been from a high-speed cycling accident in October last year that put him in hospital for three days with a broken collarbone, scapula and ribs.

Following surgery and a lengthy recovery, Ney won his age group at the New Zealand sprint triathlon championships in Kinloch in March.

Last weekend he added the New Zealand u20 schoolboys’ duathlon crown to the tri title.

Ney and younger brother Caleb flew the Gisborne Boys’ High flag at the duathlon champs held at Pukekohe Park Raceway.

The roar of engines gave way to pedal and leg power on a hard and fast track where the speed may have been significantly less but the intensity level was arguably as high.

Ney went toe to toe (a 4.5-kilometre run), wheel to wheel (17km cycle), then toe to toe (2.5km run) again around inner and outer tracks on the raceway.

Winning moveA non-drafting rule meant the cycle was more a time trial and that was where Ney made his decisive and ultimately winning move.

He crossed the finish line in 49 minutes 10 seconds — 32 seconds ahead of St Kentigern College student Daniel Whiturn (49:42), with Adam Martin (Palmerston North Boys’ High) third in 49:49.

Only a second separated Ney and Whitburn after the first run but Ney went hell for leather on the cycle, covering the distance in 26:31 at an average speed of 40 kilometres an hour to build a handy lead.

From there the Tairawhiti Rising Legends squad member and Pathway to Podium talent development programme athlete concentrated on protecting his advantage.

Ney was rapt, considering the long road he has travelled since October.

“It’s nice to feel I’m getting back to my peak fitness and condition,” he said.

He was also impressed by the performance of brother Caleb in the u16 division at the duathlon.

Caleb, 14, was sixth overall for the 2.25km run, 14km cycle and 2.25km run in a time of 44:05 — two minutes behind winner Luke Scott (Palmerston North).

“He was stoked, as he was the youngest in his age group,” Ney said.

“He had a good race. He ran well in the first leg, and had a solid cycle and a fast last run.”

Ney’s focus after his August 24 surgery will return to triathlon.

“I’m hoping to be back on a stationery bike after a week or so and back in the pool after two weeks.”

Ney admitted there was a time when he thought he might not get back to the level he was at before his accident.

But the national sprint triathlon win and this latest duathlon success have boosted his confidence.

The contributions of triathlon coach Steve Sheldrake, swimming coach Matt Martin and Dynamic Rehab have been a vital part of that.

Josiah Ney. File picture
Ney back home with the spoils of his win. Picture by Paul Rickard