Aotearoa's power couple in elite sports

By Te Ao - Māori News

Tyla Nathan-Wong and Tupuria King.

Have you ever wondered what it's like for two elite athletes to be in a relationship and living under the same roof?

Black Ferns Sevens star Tyla Nathan-Wong and waka ama champion Tupuria King give an insight into their sporting lives. 

King says he and Nathan-Wong have similar work ethics and bounce off each other when it comes to training.

"We both get out there and do our own thing but at times we motivate each other to train hard behind closed doors."

He says it may not seem like they don't have a competitive nature toward each other but that's far from the truth.

"We can get quite competitive when it comes to training, whether we're going for a light run or going for a paddle. I think that's what it takes to be an elite sports person. It does come out some times but it's a good thing at the same time."

 Nathan-Wong says it works because they are in different sports.

"When we go home, I love hearing all his stories about his training, when he's out paddling - especially the long-distance races. I don't actually get to see the whole thing. I only see the start and finish. So to hear how it went throughout the race is really cool to hear."


Looking ahead to the Tokyo Olympics, Nathan-Wong is determined to push for gold after the Black Ferm 7s won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics against the Australians.

"That has been the motivation for all of us to work so hard this year, to come together and go one better."

Although waka ama is only an official sport in the Paralympics, King has switched up codes to also try tocompete at the Olympics.

"Now that I've made the transition to K1 and surf ski, there is hope and a potential future to maybe look at representing New Zealand at the Olympics."

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled for July 23 until August 8.