Sportsman Andy Kruy is currently the third-fastest man in the country, and at just 22 years old. His achievements in athletics include medals in the 100 metres and long jump at New Zealand championship level. With no signs of slowing down (literally), he looks forward to some day becoming the fastest man in New Zealand.
Andy found his passion for sports at a young age, when his early school days were filled with playing lunchtime games with friends. It was the influence of these friends that had Andy wanting to play Saturday morning rugby for a local club. “It’s a funny story, because I remember when I was 11 years old I had to beg my Dad to let me play. I think I even cried so that he would say yes.”
Andy understands how his parents might have seen club sport as a distraction from getting a much-valued education, given what they had been through. Andy’s parents came to
New Zealand as refugees, having escaped from Cambodia during the rule of the communist Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. This devastating government cost nearly two million
Cambodians their lives during the four years that would become known as the Cambodian Genocide.
“When I was younger I was told about this, just so that I would know where I had come from and how fortunate we were to live in this land of opportunity.”
Attending Freyberg High School gave Andy plenty of opportunities, and in particular allowed him to further his interest in sports. However, Andy was also faced with his
biggest challenge during his time at high school, when his mother passed away.
“I wanted to give up sport, and I actually took a month off to go back to Cambodia.”
On returning to New Zealand, Andy found his passion for sport had not left him, and what followed was what he personally considers one of his most successful years.
While in his last year of high school, Andy managed to juggle club sports, his role as a House Captain and school work, while also gaining scholarships that would enable him to attend Massey University. He made history as House Captain by leading his house to win the House Cup for the first time in 15 years. This was also the first year that he won a national title in long jump, breaking the long jump record held by former professional rugby player Mark Ranby.
At Massey University, Andy decided to switch his sporting focus to athletics. The close proximity of the track, and support from the Academy of Sport, helped him to balance
his studies with his training.
“Some days I would have to skip training to get assignments done, but overall it was really easy. After my lectures finished for the day I could jump straight down to the
track. If it had been even five kilometres away it would have been way more difficult.”
This balancing act between sport and study paid off for Andy, when he graduated from Massey with a Bachelor of Business Studies in Sport Management and Business Management, as well as making the senior grade in athletics.
With his degree in hand Andy has gone on to work at Sport Manawatu as a Community Sports Advisor. This role involves working with sports clubs and unions around the
region to increase participation in sport, increase junior numbers, and help groups with funding opportunities – work that Andy is loving.
Realistically, I have from now until I’m maybe 30, so that’s really only eight years to live this dream.
Meanwhile Andy’s job hasn’t slowed him down at all on the track. He gained a bronze medal in the 2013 New Zealand championship men’s 100 metres, and as a member of the New
Zealand men’s relay squad he and teammates Scott Burch, Zac Topping and William Smart came second in the 2013 senior men’s national competition.
Although he has to travel north every two months to train with the rest of the relay team, Andy himself has never felt he needed to move to further his sporting career. A big reason for this is the confidence he has in his coaches.
“Anne Thomson and George McConachy have been coaching me for a good five years now and our great relationship is getting results, so why move?”
These past few years have kept Andy quite busy, and although he may not have a lot of spare time outside sports, Andy knows he won’t be competing in athletics meets all his life. “Realistically, I have from now until I’m maybe 30, so that’s really only eight years to live this dream.”