IN October 2017, Josiah Ney marked a year since the accident that could have scuppered his career, breaking his collarbone and scapula in a high-speed cycling crash.
He spent three days in hospital and it was three months before he could get back into proper training.
But just a month after that, he made a comeback at the New Zealand sprint triathlon championships in Kinloch, where he beat more than 125 rivals (including his coach Stephen Sheldrake) to come first in the sprint individual category, as well as winning the 16-to-19-year men’s age-group.
And right now, Josiah is in Adelaide at the ITU 2018 Oceania Cup racing world renowned athletes.
“It was a pretty dramatic accident and I had a lot of metal-wear holding my shoulder together,” the Gisborne Boys’ High School student says, “so it was an awesome feeling to win my first race back from the injury.”
The recipient of Eastland Port sponsorship, Josiah (17) says he is using the grant to help fund his current overseas race, and the ever-present demands for the pricey gear required for top-level competition.
“It can get pretty expensive and because my two younger brothers race as well, that’s a big financial commitment for my family,” he says. “So if I am going to take it to the next level, support like the Eastland Port sponsorship is vital.”
It’s not just Josiah’s siblings who are into the sport. Mum Kate is a keen multi-sporter too.
“When I was eight or nine I was into heaps of sports but watching (Canadian triathlete) Simon Whitfield at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games inspired me to roll them all into one.”
The family were living in Canada when dad Patrick – a medical doctor, like Josiah hopes to be – brought the family to Gisborne for a working holiday. They all loved it so much they wanted to make it home.
He says moving to New Zealand has been great for his development.
“The level of competition is much higher. Here, there are so many people that could win on any given day so it pushes you to be a better athlete.”
Former Olympic Triathlete Stephen Sheldrake reckons he has what it takes to make it on the world stage, and so does Triathlon Regional Youth Academy coach John Scott.
“Josiah has the drive, physical ability and mental strength to become an athlete representing New Zealand at the highest levels,” says John.
Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum has been impressed with Josiah right from the start. “This is a young man who wants to succeed. From the minute he approached me his enthusiasm for triathlon was obvious and as I learned more about his training schedule I could only think ‘Canada’s loss is New Zealand’s gain’”.
“That drive and enthusiasm is what we are looking for when we select young athletes for sponsorship.”
Josiah has his eyes on the future and is aiming to cross the ditch again for the Junior World Triathlon Championships in September. Here at home, there’s the New Zealand Secondary School champs in Nelson, and the New Zealand Junior Championships in New Plymouth, both being held in March.
And for the long term?
“I think if you ask that of any serious athlete they’re going to say that standing on the podium at the Olympic Games is always the goal,” he says. “So that is what I am shooting for.”
JOSIAH’S TOP FIVE:
1 – Being selected for the 2017 Pathway To Podium programme.
2 — Becoming the National Duathlon Champion in 2017.
3 – Competing in the 18th Oceania triathlon champs in 2016.
4 – Coming second in the 2016 Triathlon Nationals.
5 – Making the National Triathlon OTR squad.
Image: Eastland Port sponsored triathlete Josiah Ney. Image by Kevin Weatherley.