Date: Sunday, 13 December 2015

Southland's New Zealand under-17 junior cycling development squad rider Emily Paterson has plenty to thank her father for as she races in the Southland Track Cycling Championships this weekend.

The 14-year-old got into the sport through her father Gerald, who has been her coach and supported her for the last five years.

"My Dad used to race on the velodrome, so he got me into it on Wednesday Wheelers and then I started racing," Emily said.

Gerald was a cyclist in his own right, before focusing on coaching his daughter and other riders as the Southland under-15 coach.

"I started social, but did a few nationals," he said. 

"I was racing at the same time as trying to coach her, so I sacrificed my racing side to coach her and some of the other exciting ones that are coming up and it seemed to work."

With Emily moving up to the older under-17 age group, she will no longer be coached by her father.

"It was Dad, but now it is Sid Cumming and Dave Beadle, she said.

The James Hargest College student is riding in all events at the Southland Track Cycling Championships.

"My favourite events are 500m time trial and pursuit because it is me against the clock, I like to see what time I can get," she said. 

She has a tough act to follow at this year's event after dominating the under-15 section last year.

"At last year's Southland champs she was unbeaten and walked away with all the golds," Gerald Paterson said.

The cyclist wants to go to the top in the sport.

"In the future, I would like to one day go to the Olympics and make the NZ junior team," she said.

Her father has no doubt that his daughter can achieve her goals in the sport.

"She could go as far she wants to, her times are quick, her skills are good," he said.  

"She has got the right attitude to go as far as she wants to go in it."

"It is quite exciting for her." 

There are 151 riders from throughout the country in the Southland Track Cycling Championships at the SIT Velodrome.

The field includes many New Zealand age group cycling squad representatives, elite and masters cyclists, along with para-cyclists from Malaysia and New Zealand who are earning points towards Rio 2016 qualification.

Photo and article courtesy Stuff

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