Published Sunday 29 June 2014

The Triathlon Team for Glasgow 2014 has been announced,  Tony Dodds, Tom Davison, Ryan Sissons and Kate McIlroy talk to us about what it means to be selected to represent New Zealand.

1. How does wearing the Silver Fern give you strength?

Tony:  It's a hard one to describe, you feel a sense of achievement already to be able to wear it knowing that you have worked hard to earn it. Also coming from a small country putting on that fern makes you believe.

Tom:  Representing your country in any sport is a childhood dream for any kid. To think I will pull on the sliver fern on my race suit at a major games will give me huge strength. I wasn’t thinking about this 18 months ago, I was out of the HP environment and yet here I am now, heading to Glasgow, that has made it a hell of lot more special for sure.

Ryan: Anytime you represent your country at a major event you wear it with pride, especially at the likes of a Commonwealth Games where so few people get to go. The entire team in Glasgow will be wearing that fern that will have a meaning specific to the team and to this event, which is always special.

Kate: It is something I have worked towards my whole life, since I was 7 I wanted to go to the Commonwealth Games and Olympics. These are the pinnacle events in any NZ kids life and it makes me hugely proud to look down and see that silver fern. It is special, this is my second Commonwealth Games but in a second sport and it has taken a lot for me to get there this time around, and battling surgery, interruptions, working through rehab, and it has been a roller coaster ride. The thing that has got me through it is thinking of being on that start line wearing the silver fern and being proud of what I have achieved and knowing I can do amazing things while wearing it.

2. What does representing New Zealand mean for you?

Tony: Personally this is what we dream of, representing our country, it means I have made a path for myself to achieve something great, but this also comes with a lot of expectation, criticism, and opinions from others.

Tom:  It means heaps, sport is a huge part of my life, my dad was big into sport, my granddad represented NZ in surf lifesaving so this means a lot to me. I have been in a b ig sporting environment all my life from family to mates, this is huge to represent New Zealand in Glasgow. 

Ryan:  I love to represent my country. I wasn’t competitive in any sport as a kid in Zimbabwe, when I came to New Zealand I began competing at a high level and in triathlon. I have lived here in New Zealand for longer than Zimbabwe now and there has never been any question for me, this is my home, this is my country.

Kate: I always aim high, I have never set limits to what I can do. In my head I was always going to the Olympics and Commonwealth Games but it has taken a lot more hard work than I realized and made me appreciate the hard work you have to put in and the support and team you need around you to get there. When you put the whole puzzle together it is pretty amazing, being an elite athlete is quite complex, wanting your body to work 100% of the time but when it all clicks that makes it all special.

3. What are 3 attributes that every triathlete needs?

Tony: Consistency, persistence and determination

Tom: Dedication, motivation and the ability to hurt would be my top three. You have to hurt yourself, there is no hiding from that.

Ryan: Self-motivated, dedication, perseverance. It is an individual sport that requires you to be self-motivated to train and work hard. There is a team environment but you alone have to do the miles in the pool or go for that ride or run.

Kate: Good work ethic, Flexibility and a sense of humour! You need to be not so serious the whole time or it will drive you nuts.

4. How did you get into the sport?

Tony: I quit swimming at 17 for about 3 months, at that time the Athens Olympics was on, I was watching in my Hostel room at John McGlashan College (when I was supposed to be studying) and watched Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty claim Gold and Silver, I thought that’s where I want to be. Entered my first Triathlon Otago Champs and Won....I’ve never looked back!

Tom:  I was a rower and started tri to rehab a knee reconstruction in 2006. I was on crutches for the majority of that year, I couldn’t make the crews for Maadi Cup and started Tri for rehab and got hooked big time. I haven’t been back in a boat but have had a couple of cameos on the erg down at the gym.

Ryan: I came from a running background and through school I got a road bike as one of my friends was doing cycling and I saw an Auckland Sec Schools triathlon. I thought I could swim so gave it a go, I think I finished last but it was different and I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t run fulltime but the variety of triathlon keeps me in the sport.

Kate: It was never what I started out to do when younger, I was a runner but got injured, I had always looked at the triathletes and said that looks awesome but thought ‘I am a runner’, so I am not going to switch but a few things didn’t go my way, I switched to cycling and swimming and then went back to the running when the body came right and I checked myself on the start line and that was the beginning of my journey and it has snowballed from there.