Christchurch triathlete Tom Davison continues to surprise himself, his dream of reaching the Commonwealth Games alive and well.
Davison finished a shock third in the national road race cycling championships last month and the 24-year-old backed that up by finishing fourth in the Oceania Sprint Championships at Kinloch last weekend and third in the simultaneously run New Zealand champs.
New Zealand's top two triathletes, Ryan Sissons and Tony Dodds, finished first and second.
Sissons and Dodds are all but guaranteed to represent New Zealand at the Glasgow Games, leaving Davison fighting it out for what is likely to be the last remaining spot.
The best way to impress the selectors is form and Davison has it despite sprinting being his least preferred discipline.
Davison has a big engine and endurance is his strength so to feature in the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run sprint distance shows he's on track.
"I knew I had to go hard on the bike at Kinloch and give it everything then just hold on on the run as best I could. I'd only done a week's run training so I knew I was going to struggle a bit."
After blasting away solo on the ride, Davison opened up a one minute, seven second lead over Sissons, Dodds and leading Australian Brendan Sexton, but was dragged back on the run.
"I did a 16:38 on the run I think which was better than I hoped, but Sissons and Dodds caught me at about the 3.5km mark and Sexton got me with about three of 400 metres to go I think, I had nothing left."
Impressed with his own efforts in the sprint distance, Davison hopes he can do enough to book a ticket to the Commonwealth Games this year.
His next chance to impress in on Sunday at the Pegasus Tri Series event.
The super-sprint distance again isn't Davison's preferred format, but valuable ITU ranking points are on offer and he needs as many of those as he can get to make sure he's on the startline for ITU World Triathlon Series opener in Auckland in April.
That's the best chance to push his Games claim, but he needs to get there first.
Sunday's event is run with a two heats and a final.
The top 14 athletes from each 300m swim, 10km bike and 3km run heat will progress to the final, raced over the same distances.
"The key will be just to do enough in the heats to make sure you make it through to the final because you need to conserve as much as you can for the final," Davison said.
With his ranking rising from 327 to 207, Davison is confident of featuring again on Sunday, but he will have to get past world No 14 Sissons, and No 29 Dodds.
"And there are a heap of really strong guys going to be here, I'm looking forward to it."
New Zealand's No 3 ranked woman, Nicky Samuels (world No 18) is one of six New Zealand women in the world's top 154 triathletes in Sunday's women's field.
- © Fairfax NZ News