Date: Thursday, 15 June 2017

Southlander Tess Young took up cycling one month before competing at a national level in 2014.

Three years later and she is a national 500m team sprint title holder with her eyes on the Tokyo Olympics.

The former competitive rower moved to Waikato after loosing her love for the sport.

Looking for a new passion she tried her hand at cycling giving the new Cambridge velodrome a go. Since then she has never been far from the seat of her bike. 

This year, Young was named one of three winners in the Credit Union South Young Achiever Awards winning a scholarship of $5000.

Determined to make the New Zealand Sprint Squad and be selected for the Tokyo Olympics, the 24-year-old worked two jobs so she could move and compete in Pennsylvania, America this month. 

Being a sportswomen was expensive, she said.  

To make the New Zealand Sprint Squad, she needed to meet several bench mark times and had to improve her Union Cycliste Internationale ranking. 

The only way she could do that was by competing, and that was expensive. 

Insurance alone cost about $2000, she said. 

"Without the scholarship, I would have never made it to America.

"Half of the money went into getting a new track bike."

However, the cost was one she was more than willing to bare. 

Since she started competing in Pennsylvania her times were progressively improving.

Starting competitive cycling only three years ago, she was at a bit of a disadvantage.

"A lot of the people I'm racing started training when they were still in school."

However, Young has quickly risen through the cycling ranks competing in the National Track Cycling Championships every year since she first started cycling in 2014. Including winning the women's team sprint at the National Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill with fellow cyclist Sarah Walker and placing third in the 500m time trail and in the keirin in February this year. 

She even competed in 2016 when she while recovering from glandular fever placing 7th keirin.

Young's eyes were now firmly fixed on making the New Zealand Sprint Squad. 

"To get to the olympics I need to make the squad.

"I just want to get there."

Caption: Sarah Walker left, and Tess Young won the women's team sprint at the National Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill.

Photo and article courtesy Stuff

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