Southlander Matt King is working with two of the world's best triathletes - English brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.
Alistair, 26, is the current Olympic, world and Commonwealth Games champion, while Jonathan, 24, was the 2012 world champion and a silver medallist the following year.
Alistair claimed the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Glasgow a week ago, with Jonathan winning silver. The pair combined in the England team to also win the teams gold medal.
King, a talented triathlete himself, has been training with the Brownlee brothers since moving to the United Kingdom two years ago to pursue his own sporting career.
"I became very good friends with them, riding with both of them daily and giving them some advice and help with their bikes for free. They both thought after a few months I should be getting paid for this, and went to British Triathlon asking for me to be put on as a cycling coach and to help them with their bikes," the 29-year-old said.
King met Britain's triathlon bosses two months ago and has been on the staff since then.
His main role is to support the Brownlee brothers but he is also working with some of the sport's younger triathletes.
One of his charges, Gordon Benson, won the under-23 European Cup last month.
"I can't take credit there but those are the type of athletes I have been asked to help. It's a massive opportunity to further my coaching abilities for the future. My main job is to make sure Ali and Jonny are sorted."
King recently returned from a training camp in Spain as part of the preparation for this month's world championships in Edmonton, Canada.
Coaching is not something he had ever really considered before this opportunity arose, he said.
"I was just trying to train and get fit for long-distance triathlons myself. I wasn't really making the cut in Europe and just fell into the role. Racing in Europe is very hard compared to New Zealand, with there being a lot more competition," he said.
"My swimming was never up to the mark to make a good enough income to live off."
King said the Brownlee brothers were a dream to work with.
"They are just normal guys that love sport, down to earth and will speak to anyone. They are very easy to work with and listen, and are open to new ideas."
King said criticism of the New Zealand triathlon programme, which has come up short in terms of results at the Commonwealth Games, needed to be put into context.
"It's a brutal sport with the amount of time that goes into training. It doesn't always come off, either. I think New Zealand do great, and really hope they continue with their development of young athletes," he said.
"Champions aren't made overnight and athletes like Ali and Jonny don't come around every day. I can understand on paper it might not look like New Zealand have results, but they are competing against some countries with huge budgets."
- The Southland Times
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