Teen throws down gauntlet with dad’s guiding hand
For star Whanga¯ rei athlete Nikolas Kini, training doesn’t end when he steps off the field.
Kini, 16, is coached by his father Sa, and despite request from other coaches to be involved in Nikolas’ training, the father/son partnership seems to be working.
“It’s really cool having my dad coach me. When we’re home and eating dinner, we’ll be talking about it so there’s always something to talk about. Really nice to spend time with him,” Nikolas said.
At the Oceania Polynesian Regional Champs in Tahiti on November 24-25, Kini won the U18 shot put, discus and hammer throw events, setting an Oceania regional record for shot put. He was awarded male athlete of the meet.
“I was quite humbled when I won the events. I reached my goals and I was quite proud of myself,” he said.
“I don’t really think about winning. If I hit my personal bests, I’m happy because you’re not always going to win so to set a goal for my PBS and not just to win, I think that’s the best.”
Nikolas, who started athletics as an eight year old, said he was pleased he had beaten older opposition because it showed his commitment to succeeding.
“It’s about dedication because I don’t think about age. At some stage you’ll all be throwing the same so it’s just dedication to your training and preparation.”
Nikolas trains twice a week at Kensington Park with other athletes and uses sprinting and the gym throughout the week to maintain fitness. Working with other athletes helped him when it came to competing.
“I don’t want to separate myself too much from the other guys training here because I like socialising when I’m training. It helps because when I’m throwing, they are talking and making noise, so then you learn to block them out and throw.”
Nikolas said shot put was his favourite out of the three events because it was a good way to release anger and nerves.
“I do like shot put because when you get angry you can put more effort into it. My first throw is always when my nerves get to me but I’ve been taught to use my nerves to my advantage.”
His father said coaching his son now reminded him of when he raised his children.
“It’s like coaching them when they were young showing them how to walk.
“We spend a lot of time together when he was growing up and now he’s 16, we are still together. The thing about him is that he doesn’t give up easily, he’s got that fire inside him.”
Sa said he made sure he was honest with his son so Nikolas knew how hard he needed to train to achieve his goals.
“If you want something, you’ve got to go and get it. No one is going to give it to you. What you put in is what you get out. It’s about being humble.”
When he first got into athletics, Nikolas didn’t perform as well as he does now, but his father said this was what gave Nikolas the motivation to get better.
“When he started when he was young he would always lose but now he’s really hungry to train so maybe the losses were good for him to bring that hunger out of him.”
Sa said he was very proud of his son’s achievements and hoped his son could make a career in athletics.
“As long as he’s happy with what he’s doing, I’ll be happy. I hope he can go really high, like go to the Olympics, that’s the number one hope.”
Nikolas and father Sa have a good relationship in and outside of the athletics arena.
Nikolas Kini practises his favourite event as he looks forward to a bright career in athletics.