Ruwhiu back on track

Nepia Ruwhiu competes in Cycling New Zealand's Subway Series event at the SIT Velodrome in Invercargill. Photo: Dianne Manson/Cycling NZ

TALK about talented.

Seventeen-year-old Southlander Nepia Ruwhiu is just as comfortable plucking the strings on his bass guitar as he is lighting up the wooden boards at the SIT Velodrome in Invercargill.

To add to it all, the James Hargest College deputy head boy also features prominently on the stage.

At the moment he is preparing to play the lead role in the school’s production of Evita.

That’s in between performing gigs as bass guitarist in the band The Dense, which last year competed at the national Smokefree Rockquest finals, and on the sporting front training as part of Cycling New Zealand’s Southern Performance Hub programme based in Invercargill.

“I’m good at overbooking myself,” Ruwhiu joked.

During the weekend his cycling prospects received a big boost when he starred in the Subway Series event held in Invercargill.

The event was introduced to provide New Zealand’s top under-17, under-19 and under-23 riders with a competition to focus on after the national championships.

Ruwhiu was the top male sprint rider for the weekend, in a field which included riders who will compete at the junior world track cycling championships in Switzerland in August.

“I was little bit surprised how I went. Just because of a lack of training, I suppose, going into it.”

Don’t be mistaken by the “lack of training” comment, though. Training six days a week is often his workload.

“It’s got me excited about my sport again and given me a bit of a spark,” Ruwhiu said about his success at the weekend.

The talented teenager wasn’t making any bold predictions where he might end up in cycling.

“I just want to see how far it takes me really.”

Ruwhiu is in his final year at James Hargest College and already has his next three years mapped out, in terms of study.

He plans to head to Christchurch to study broadcasting. He has already taken tentative steps into the broadcasting industry by spending one day a week at MediaWorks in Invercargill learning the ins and outs of what happens in radio.

The plan is to continue with his cycling development when he gets to Christchurch, although Ruwhiu won’t have the comforts of an indoor velodrome to ride on as he currently does in Invercargill.

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