World champion cyclist Corbin Strong has been welcomed home by fellow Southland Boys' High School students performing two hakas at Invercargill Airport.
Within minutes of his arrival the students swung into action to perform the hakas with family, friends and Boys' High rector Simon Coe eagerly awaiting to speak to him.
Corbin was in the New Zealand squad that won the teams pursuit at the World Junior Track Cycling Championships in Switzerland in August. After the win Corbin rode in Wales and back in Switzerland before beginning his journey back to Invercargill on Tuesday.
"I've been away for two or three months ... it's pretty good to be back home," the travel-weary 18-year-old said.
Standing on the podium wearing a gold medal and with the New Zealand national anthem being played was a moving experience for Corbin.
"It was pretty emotional."
He had achieved a long-held goal to win a world title.
Boys' High was extremely proud of Corbin, rector Simon Coe said.
"It's stunning [winning a world title], great for the region. He's an ambassador for New Zealand, not just our school."
Proud parents Alan and Raewyn Strong, of Invercargill, were delighted to reunite with their son on Thursday.
Watching internet coverage of him winning for New Zealand in the early hours of the morning (NZ time) was an occasion Corbin's family will never forget.
"It was amazing, just overwhelming," Raewyn said.
Cycling Southland general manager Mark Hotton said Corbin's success on the world stage was a credit to himself and showed what hard work and committed training brought.
"To see how he was after his accident earlier in the year and what it took to recover back to full strength was nothing short of amazing," Hotton said in reference to the injuries Corbin suffered when colliding with a car on a country road last summer.
"To wake up in the middle of the night and be able to watch him [on the internet] and his teammates win that rainbow jersey was just awesome."
Corbin joins a group of Southland cyclists to claim a junior world title, following on from Bradly Knipe, Emma Cumming and Tom Sexton in 2016.
Plans for Corbin include competing in Nelson in a fortnight, the Junior Tour of Southland (October 5-7, finished second in 2017) and Tour of Southland (October 28-November 3).
Corbin will be riding in the Tour of Southland for the first time.
Caption: Gold medal-winning cyclist Corbin Strong is welcomed home at Invercargill Airport by his parents, Raewyn and Alan Strong, on Thursday.
Photo courtesy of Robyn Edie, Article courtesy of Stuff