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Ironman TJ Hendy eager to become the best in the business

READY TO RACE: TJ Hendy at Coolum Beach.
READY TO RACE: TJ Hendy at Coolum Beach. Patrick Woods

SURF LIFESAVING: Surfers Paradise talent TJ Hendy has proclaimed his desire to follow in his father's footsteps and become the best ironman in the country, ahead of an elite series event at Coolum Beach this weekend.

The 22-year-old clinched a stunning victory at Sydney last month to signal his arrival on the big stage.

He beat a host of seasoned competitors, over a traditional course, in round one of the 2017/2018 Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman Series.

But he hopes it's just the start of big things.

"I'll put a little bit of pressure on myself just to step up," he said.

"Now that I've had a win I don't just want to shy away and enjoy that and think it was the coolest thing in the world.

"It was very special but there's more things I want to do.

"Whether I can step up for the rest of the series or not...I'm going to keep trying and if I can't do that I'll come back next year and try again."

He made no secret of his ambition to become the sport's number one - just like his father ironman icon Trevor Hendy was.

"I want to win the Nutri-Grain Series and...be the best ironman for a year or two or whether it's for five or six years," he said.

"Whether it's this year I win the series or whether it's (in) the next three or four years or if I have to wait 10 years, it doesn't matter. I'll keep trying."

He said he's receiving advice from his father, who was a force in the 1980s and 1990s.

 

ROUND ONE WINNER: TJ Hendy.
ROUND ONE WINNER: TJ Hendy. Shane Myers 2017 Ocean6

"In the past I've asked dad to be dad rather than the previous best ironman in the world (but) I've asked him to...help me out with tips and different things like that lately because I can cop it now," he said.

Hendy won a short, sharp opening round to the six-stop series in Sydney.

He's eager to prove his wares in a more gruelling format at Coolum. It's an M-shaped course with contenders eliminated after legs of the race.

"That was a 15-minute race (in Sydney) and this is going to be a bit different with a bit more fitness but I'm up to the challenge," he said.

"I've done the (long distance) Coolangatta Gold in the past and...have been training with (endurance star) Ali Day and Nathan (Gray) and the guys at Surfers Paradise. We're definitely fit.

"I'm unproven in this sort of race but I want to go out and prove myself."

Reigning series champion and surf lifesaving stalwart Matt Poole recently questioned whether the fresh faces of the sport would be able to "stand up" to the test.

"When the going gets tough and the format gets longer, we'll see if those fresh faces can stick it to the guys who have been there for the last decade."

The main race is on Sunday, with qualifying on Saturday.

The qualifying format itself is difficult, with hot fields expected.

Topics:  ironman kellogg's nutri-grain ironman series tj hendy


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