Atown’s Bradley Ley­don all set to row

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

New Zealand rower Bradley Ley­don reck­ons it’s ‘‘pretty cool’’ com­ing from a small town and be­ing se­lected to row for your coun­try.

The 17-year-old for­mer Ar­row­town School pupil will con­test the sin­gle sculls at the Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onships in Lithua­nia in Au­gust after smash­ing the ta­lent at the Maadi Cup in March.

Ley­don was named in the team last week and is due to head to Cam­bridge next month where he’ll spend three months pre­par­ing. Not bad for a fel­low who only took up the sport just over three years ago.

‘‘It’s pretty sur­real,’’ the fi­nal year John McGlashan pupil said.

‘‘Mum [Jill Ley­don] is pretty over-the-moon. She’s pretty ex­cited and stoked that I will be wear­ing the Sil­ver Fern.’’

Fol­low­ing a rugby in­jury, Ley­don ’’thought I bet­ter do some­thing else’’ and took up row­ing.

It was only in 2016 when he man­aged bronze in the under-17 sin­gle sculls at the Maadi Cup that he knew he had some ta­lent in the sport.

‘‘The first two sea­sons were a bit of a bat­tle. I sort of didn’t get any­where too flash.

‘‘It wasn’t un­til re­ally the under-17 sea­sons that I re­alised I could do this bet­ter if I ac­tu­ally com­mit­ted.

‘‘I guess this was when I re­ally knuck­led down and gave it a good crack.’’

Knuckle down he did, beat­ing his near­est ri­val at the Maadi Cup at Lake Kara­piro by al­most four sec­onds.

‘‘Ear­lier in the week I was put­ting out the fastest times [at Maadi].

‘‘Go­ing into the fi­nals I was um­ming and ar­ring about whether I was go­ing to do it or not.

‘‘It’’s pretty cool to be from a small town [and win]. Those big Auck­land schools and that, they have the money and the boats and then to go and beat them is a pretty good feel­ing.’’

Since then Ley­don has had of­fers from the United States but for now he’s fo­cussed on the World Champs.

The Euro­pean row­ers will be the tough­est, he said.

‘‘I’ve been look­ing at their times and they are pretty rea­son­able but it’s a whole other level.’’

Look­ing fur­ther ahead, Ley­don wants to study mar­ket­ing or busi­ness at univer­sity and is happy to keep train­ing six days a week to go as far as he can with the sport.

SUP­PLIED

Bradley Ley­don with Prime Min­is­ter Bill English fol­low­ing his win at the Maadi Cup in March.

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