By Kent Gray/
Nicole van der Kaay is “focusing on every little detail” in training to ensure she produces a Paris Olympics performance to be proud of.

The Taupo 28-year-old, named early Monday alongside Ainsley Thorpe, Hayden Wilde and debutant Dylan McCullough for the XXXIII Olympiad, is determined to eclipse her 29th placing at the Tokyo Games three years ago.

She’s currently training at altitude out of the Font Romeu ski resort in southern France to achieve her individual goals on July 31, as well as help Team NZL better their 12th place in Tokyo when Paris hosts the mixed relay on August 5.

Van der Kaay will come down from the thin Pyrénées air to race World Triathlon Championships Series (WTCS) Hamburg on July 13-14 before returning to Banyoles, Tri NZ’s European summer base in Spain, to taper for Paris.

The sprint race and mixed relay in Hamburg are a chance for van der Kaay’s to bank a confidence boost for Paris.

Photo: Delly Carr

She met the secondary Olympic Games qualifying criteria last year courtesy of two top 8s at World Triathlon Championship level, in Hamburg and Sunderland. That and van der Kaay’s globally respected running prowess mesh into high expectations.

Her results at WTCS level this season – 41st in Yokohama and 27th in Cagliari – haven’t reflected the effort van der Kaay has put into the first half of 2024.

It’s included temporarily relocating to Portugal at the beginning of the year to train under a new coach, Estonian Paulo Sousa. There’s been a strong focus on her swimming which van der Kaay hopes will pay dividends in Hamburg and Paris.

“I’m fully dedicated and committed to doing everything possible to be in peak form for Paris,” van der Kaay said.

“Training at high altitudes has been challenging, pushing my limits and leaving me feeling a whole new level of fatigue. But I’m focusing on every detail of my preparation, all in pursuit of excellence.

“I am determined to make New Zealand, my friends and family, and myself proud. With every stroke, every pedal, and every step, I am striving to reach Paris in the best shape of my life.”

Van der Kaay is looking forward to a pandemic free Games.

“I am incredibly honoured and proud to have been chosen to represent New Zealand at my second Olympic Games. I will carry the fern with pride and give my all to make my country proud.”

Comments are closed.