Sponsorship fuel for Bay trio's Olympic dreams
Hands up if you dreamed about competing at the Olympic Games when you were a youngster.
Yes, there's plenty of us and numbers always grow during an Olympic Games year. Two days out from the start of the Tokyo Olympics and promising Hawke's Bay triathlete Lachie MacGregor and Hawke's Bay swimmers Mitchell Knights and Joseph Belcher (pictured above left to right with Kane Raisey second from left) are already dreaming about strutting their stuff at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
The trio is coached by Hawke's Bay's Franco October who was rapt to secure Raiseys Original Supplements as a sponsor for the potential Olympians.
"It's always inspiring to come across young 17-22-year-olds who are aspiring to achieve their dreams and Hawke's Bay has seen a trove of swimmers with a hunger for gold," October explained.
"Whether you are an elite athlete or starting out sponsors are few to find. Kane and the Raiseys team have been extremely supportive of the development of these three who have been steadfast with their intense training with the ultimate objective to achieve what they have set out to do," October added.
Seventeen-year-old St John's College Year 12 student MacGregor did his first triathlon in 2017. He has been coached by October since January last year.
Last month he won the senior boys title at the Hawke's Bay secondary schools triathlon champs which involved a 750m swim, 21km cycle and 5km run. In August last year, MacGregor finished 16th overall in the under-19 grade at the National Duathlon Championship in Pukekohe.
Back in February MacGregor finished 25th among the under-19 males at the Kinloch-hosted National Triathlon Championships. His next major event will be the November Quarter IronMaori where he will tackle a 1km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.
"The next Olympics has to be a realistic goal as we have achieved so much in the past year to be where I am now," MacGregor said.
Knights, 22, is a product of Rangitoto College in Auckland and moved to the Bay four years ago.
"I have the perfect life here," Knights said referring to his lifeguard and swimming coach work at the Clive Pool.
"Like Joseph, I have my swimming training in the mornings. have a lifeguard stint in the afternoon and conduct swimming lessons at night."
A short distance swimmer, Knights, ranked the 50m and 100m freestyle and backstroke as his specialist events.
"Franco is pushing Joseph and I to our limits with the aim of qualifying for next year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. We are very motivated and we know if we put time into it our Olympic dream will come true ... we have the work ethic to do it," Knights added.
Havelock North High School old boy Belcher, 21, is an older brother of Napier City Rovers Central League footballer Isaac Belcher. A middle distance swimmer, Belcher, listed the 200m fly and freestyle as his specialist events.
"Fly is my best one and if Mitchell and I could make Birmingham we would then be able to gauge how close we are to Olympic level. At the moment we are working hard with the National Open champs later this year our major focus," Belcher said.
"It's neat to have Raiseys on board. We have long days and use a lot of energy so those Raiseys products come in handy," Belcher added