Triathlete Hayden Wilde has pulled off the race of his life to win bronze in the men's Tokyo 2020 Triathlon Test Event.
The Tauranga-based 21-year-old secured a podium finish in a field stacked with the world's best triathletes, including two-time Olympic medallist Jonathan Brownlee.
"I always love to race with a bit of passion so I came into the finish line pretty excited. To do that on the Olympic course is huge, to execute that race plan, I'm absolutely fizzing about it," Wilde said.
Wilde, who was raised in Whakatāne, was roughly a minute behind race leaders following the swim but the young athlete ground out an impressive bike leg to sit in the front pack of three.
It was a lead that wouldn't be relinquished with Wilde crossing the line in third, in a time of 1:50:03.
"The last lap was every man for himself. With about 1500m to go I wanted to kick but just didn't have the legs in the end but I am absolutely stoked to get third.
"I just wanted to have a good race and finish with a good ranking. There were some massive names in that group and I am just fizzing to get that podium. The course was amazing and is my sort of course, I loved it."
Wilde finished behind 1st place Tyler Mislawchu from Canada and Casper Stornes from Norway who took silver.
The Olympic Test Events are held on the course for next year's Olympic Games and are a key part of New Zealand Team athlete preparation for Tokyo 2020.
The podium will also see Wilde gain valuable points towards his Olympic qualification ranking for Tokyo 2020.
"It's nice to have a good result on this course and I've just got to keep building on this and be consistent."
Wilde's New Zealand teammates Tayler Reid and Sam Ward were also in action. Reid finished 23rd with a time of 1:52:51, while Ward finished 29th in a time of 1:53:30. Ryan Sissons withdrew from the race.
The triathlon mixed team relay will be contested on Sunday.