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Two-time Olympic triathlon medallist Bevan Docherty has set himself a new mission this year: to challenge others.
The former world champion has started a new initiative, called "The Docherty Dares programme", aimed at supporting Kiwis to achieve goals they previously never thought possible.
The programme was inspired when Bevan saw Christchurch man Scott Kotoul cross the finish line at the Round Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Near exhaustion after only doing half the distance (80km), Kotoul said he was only going to do 40km next year. But Docherty dared Kotoul to enter the entire 160km next year. He accepted the challenge.
Docherty this year hopes to help five Kiwis in a similar vein. "It's open to anybody who wants to get out there and push their limits. If there's a desire there, I'm here to take away the excuses," he said.
What are your goals for 2009?
There's a new World Cup series and, basically, in the past it used to be a one-off World Champs, now there's a world series. It's an eight-race series throughout the world. The first race starts at the beginning of May in Singapore and, in order to be world champion this year, you have to do well in all those races so that's my goal, to be world champion.
What inspired you to embark on a career in sport?
I come from a running background and I've always enjoyed sport but, to be honest, I never considered it as a profession. But I guess at university, I was kind of crossed between two paths - being an engineer and drinking a lot of beer or living a healthy lifestyle and pursuing my dreams as an athlete.
When you were 13 were there any other sports you fancied yourself as a future star in?
When I was 13, I was a runner. I was pretty good at cross-country and I couldn't swim to save myself. In fact, the first triathlon I entered I was last. I was actually second to last, but my Dad was last and he pulled out, so I was officially last out of the water.
Describe your job
Originally being a full-time athlete was 35 hours training a week, watching a lot of TV and sleeping a lot. Now it is 35 hours training a week, plus another 35 hours of sponsorship commitments, and trying to fit in as much sleep in there as possible.
Best thing about your job?
The best thing would certainly be the endless summer. I haven't spent a full winter anywhere for about 12 years.
And the worst?
The worst thing I guess is the constant fatigue. When you're training 30-35 hours a week at a high intensity there's very little energy and it just becomes this constant drain which slowly gets to you.
Do you feel your sport gets the amount of public attention it deserves?
It's slowly getting that way, obviously after the Olympics in 2004 our profile was lifted considerably, before that we got bugger all.
Proudest achievement of your sporting life?
My proudest achievement was definitely being [along with Hamish Carter] part of the gold-silver Kiwi finish in Athens. A lot of people come up to me and say that was one of the greatest moments in New Zealand sporting history and to be part of that is a huge honour. It probably would have been better to be the other way around: I would have preferred gold.
What is the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire?
Obviously Olympic gold is the only box I haven't ticked off as a professional triathlete. But having not achieved that at this point in time is probably a good thing because it's keeping me very motivated.
If you weren't a sportsperson, what would you be doing?
If I weren't a triathlete, I would like to be a professional car driver of some sort, but at school I was crossed between university and triathlon, so I would probably be an engineer somewhere.
Who was your childhood hero?
Certainly when I was coming up through the ranks of triathlon I looked up to the likes of Rick Wells and Hamish Carter. But I guess someone that inspired me was Burt Munro who I think was just your great inspiring Kiwi, who didn't let obstacles stop him from doing what he wanted and had a good old Kiwi can-do attitude.
To find out more on Docherty's new initiative or to apply for a place on the programme go to "Docherty Dares" at www.docherty.co.nz