The World Masters Games under way in Auckland caters for athletes of various abilities from the age of 30 to past 100 in a truly unique sporting occasion.

Most are here just to enjoy the camaraderie of 26,000 other athletes with competing more important than winning.

But one sport where total commitment and performing to your best is demanded is road cycling. It is never an event for the faint-hearted.

Tauranga Para-cyclist Fraser Sharp epitomises that to the core.


The 41-year-old from Tauranga has lived by the adage of "anything is possible" since he suffered a near-fatal head injury in 1993 while out riding.

This week he triumphed in the 20km time trial along Auckland's Tamaki Drive, racing at an impressive 30km/h average to easily win the Para 40+ C3 category in a strong time of 26.17mins.

He was also second overall in able-bodied athletes in his age group.

"It was more importantly to me my performance in how I rated with everyone else," Sharp said.

"The ride was extremely good. I am pretty chuffed on the inside. There was a bit of a headwind going out to St Heliers and a bit of a tailwind coming home."

Sharp is in a good place mentally and physically after a challenging 2016 when he went on an emotional rollercoaster before the Rio Paralympics.

Sharp was confident he would gain selection in the New Zealand team after performing well at crucial qualifying events but when the team was announced his name was missing.

Weeks of soul-searching followed, with plenty of anger added to the mix, before the banning of Russia gave him a late call-up.

He had little time to prepare, but Sharp took his opportunity. He finished eighth in the C3 time trial and 11th in the C3 road race despite the lack of preparation time.

Did he have something to prove to the selectors who left him out initially? You bet he did.

But he said the episode had made him an even stronger character and better road cyclist.

"It has helped. I didn't have much time to prepare for Rio. It was wham-bam, and I did prove my point that I should have been there in the first place but that it is in the past."

Sharp has some major events coming up this year with the next Olympics in Tokyo a distant goal.

"This year I have three World Cup events, and then I have the world champs in South Africa at the end of August. I am going to Europe on May 8th, and I've got nationals before then from 5th to 7th of May.

"I have had some great support from Sport Bay of Plenty, Tauranga Road Cycling Club and Bayleys Real Estate.

"I am still trying to raise money to get to Europe but where the mind goes the body follows, so I will get there somehow."