By Jim Birchall
Howick local Ainsley Thorpe has picked up gold and bronze medals in Europe and Canada as part of the New Zealand Triathlon team.
The 20-year-old is born and bred in east Auckland and has been competing in triathlons for almost five years. She competed in her first local triathlon when she was 16.
She was recently involved as part of a New Zealand relay team at an International Triathlon Union (ITU) event in Edmonton on July 22.
The team, comprising Ainsley, Tayler Reid, Nicole Van der Kay, Hayden Wilde, won gold, giving Ainsley her first win on the international stage. She repeated the alchemy again in Lausanne on September 2 as part of a different relay team.
To cap it off she also won an individual bronze in Antwerp on June 24.
Ainsley became involved with the endurance sport after following her brother.
“When starting triathlon I didn’t know much about the sport I really only got into it because of my brother and always copied what he did. I always wanted to go to the Olympics from a young age and I loved watching Valerie Adams and seeing her win gold”
“Obviously I knew I wasn’t built for shot-put but it was the gold medal that inspired me.”
The lure of the Tokyo is omnipresent for Ainsley, “my main focus for next year is getting selected for the Olympics, a few World Series and a few World Cup races at the beginning of the year will be crucial to put myself in the best possible position (for selection).”