Matangi farmer and athlete Peter Martin has arrived in London ahead of the Paralympics and credits a team haka for firing up his competitive spirit ahead of his first event.
The Paralympic champion will represent New Zealand in shot put and javelin.
Speaking from London, he told the Waikato Times he led the team haka at a flag-raising ceremony in the athlete's village. "That got the juices going for the first time in a while in terms of thinking about competitions and things," he said.
"I think it's slowly building."
Martin has seven Paralympic medals, four of them gold, and five world records to his name.
He competed at Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004 before taking a break. He missed Beijing in 2008 but now, at 50, is back and says he is fit and ready to go after a stint as a rugby coach.
"I have always sort of had a hankering to get back into competitive sport," he said.
"I like to think I can medal, that's the primary goal, but as long as I can perform credibly I will be happy."
Working the farm had kept him reasonably active but stepping back up to a competitive athletics level had not been without its challenges, he said.
"To get back into the routine and things, that's a bit of a shock to the system," he said.
Martin set his first world record in 1994 but says he still gets nervous before competing. "[But] actually nerves are a good thing," he said.
"I can tend to be a little relaxed at times so it is good to get wound up."
Waikato has five athletes who will compete at the London Paralympics: Cyclist Phillipa Gray, swimmers Nikita Howarth and Daniel Sharp, rower Danny McBride and Martin.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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