Heavyweight boxer David Nyika has been named to the New Zealand Team for the Tokyo Olympic Games, fulfilling a dream almost two decades in the making.
“This has been on my bucket list since I was five years old” said Nyika.
“To get this recognition and to be selected to the New Zealand Team is such an honour. Now I can’t wait to get there and put on my best performance at the Olympics.”
The 25-year-old was officially named to the team by New Zealand Team Chef de Mission Rob Waddell at Nyika’s gym in Hamilton.
The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist earned his Olympic spot after last year finishing runner-up in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Games qualifier tournament.
He will be the first male New Zealand boxer to compete at the Olympic Games since Athens 2004.
“I was a skinny kid so I originally wanted to be an Olympic marathon runner but that dream started to fade when I grew over 6-foot.
“I switched my focus to boxing when I was 14, from there it quickly became a goal to be an Olympic boxer and I’ve been working towards that ever since.”
Between now and the Olympic Games, Nyika will be largely based offshore as he gets himself in peak physical condition.
“I’ve got a lot planned in the next few months. I’ve got an Olympic camp in the US shortly and from there I’ll fly off to the UK to train with a few guys over there which is pretty exciting.”
Nyika is currently seeded #2 at the Olympic Games tournament in his Heavyweight division and recently made his pro debut in a fight which he won by TKO after just 29 seconds.
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to Nyika.
“Although this is his first Olympic Games David has been a valued part of the New Zealand Team since his Commonwealth Games debut in 2014,” said Smith.
“We’re thrilled to name him to our team and we can’t wait to see him wear the fern and compete with pride and passion in Tokyo.”
Waddell presented Nyika with a silver fern as he was named to the team. The silver fern is the symbol of the New Zealand Team and every athlete named to the team receives a fern at selection announcements. The athletes will be encouraged to plant the ferns at a place of significance for them or their team and reflect upon their Olympic journey as it grows.
The selection takes the total number of New Zealand athletes named to the team for Tokyo to 30.