Hiko o te Rangi Curtis (Te Arawa) has come third in the 16-17-year-old age bracket in the World CrossFit Games.
Curtis had already beaten thousands of competitors just by securing a place in the competition, and the Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai student not only qualified but also finished on the podium.
Curtis talked to Te Ao Māori News before the competition that took place in Madison, Wisconsin, saying his goal was to make the podium.
He’s delighted he has been able to come through with the result.
“Happy, proud, accomplished. Those are the three factors in me at the moment.” Te Hiko told Te Ao Māori News shortly after competing.
Curtis initially got into CrossFit years ago, telling Te Ao Māori News it was because he was "a bit chubby" but soon found he loved it.
When asked what was difficult about competing at this event, his answer hit close to home. “The main thing was leaving my whānau behind. The babies, my brothers, my sisters, leaving my whole tribe at home. But I knew they were with me. They had my back. But that was hard, real hard.”
It was also his whānau that pushed him when he needed one last lift to secure a top-three spot. “I had my headphones on. I had a song to pump me up, and it said, ‘take my people with me’ and that got me happy, that got me pumped, excited for the last workout, knowing it was 10 points between me and the person that was in front of me but I knew my people, my tupuna, were there with me."
"The funny thing is, the weight was 84kg, but I couldn’t feel anything, I felt like my tupuna were lifting it for me. Afterwards I wasn’t tired, I was happy.”
Curtis, who said sticking to a tight diet was the most difficult part of training for the competition was ready to let loose. “Right after I got the medal, there was pizza at the back. So I went to the pizza straight away, moved everybody, grabbed the pizza, ate up. I’m eating popcorn, chips, chocolate, drinks, everything pretty much!”
Te Hiko o Te RangI Curtis will also be on Te Ao Mārama at 4:30pm on the Māori Television website.