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Congrats to Reid and Dixon

Opinion Piece

Out of a weekend of disappointment for sports fans, two new world champions, Scott Dixon and Tayler Reid, have emerged to show again how this small country continues to punch well above its weight on the world sporting scene.

The lead-up to their wins could not have been bleaker with the All Blacks and Silver Ferns losing and New Zealand recording its worst performance for 15 years at the world championships.

Enter two men at the opposite ends of their career to completely reverse the mood.

Reid actually won his title a few days ago winning the men’s under 23 championship at the ITU world triathlon championships on the Gold Coast.

Watched by his supportive family, Reid made his move in the 10km run to power away to the title.

Completing the Gisborne connection, he is coached by former iron man professional Stephen Sheldrake.

The two sat down seven years ago to write down a plan up to 2024 that had him medalling as an under-23 athlete which he has achieved a year earlier than planned. There can be few more demanding events than the triathlon with its demand for three totally different skills and the whole district will be justly proud of him.

Dixon of course is at the other end of his remarkable career, taking out his fifth IndyCar title at Sonoma.

It was a performance typical of the ice man, holding his nerve to finish second but most importantly ahead of his main rival the brilliant American Alexander Rossi.

He is only the second person to win five titles, 51 years after the legendary AJ Foyt did so.

Dixon is the kind of sporting hero New Zealanders love, modest and unassuming but fiercely competitive behind that calm exterior, a kind of Richie McCaw on wheels.

The obvious delight of his wife Emma and their young daughters Poppy and Tilly just added to the whole feelgood experience for kiwis.

Many sports followers feel that he has not received the recognition he deserves in this country, something that could be put right when the 2018 Halberg Awards are announced next February in Auckland.