University of Waikato law student and Hillary Scholar Ally Wollaston has returned to New Zealand with three gold medals from the UCI Nations Cup track competition in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The 22-year-old professional track and road cyclist won gold in the women’s elimination competition, the four-event omnium and the women’s 4000m team pursuit alongside Waikato student Bryony Botha.
“The week of racing in Jakarta exceeded my expectations,” Ally says. “To come away with three golds was pretty amazing and I am beyond proud of our team's pursuit where we broke a national record.”
The New Zealand team, including Waikato University communication student Ellesse Andrews, finished with six medals, boosting their points tally and their chances of qualifying for the world championships and Paris Olympics.
Originally from Auckland, Ally lives in Cambridge and is a part-time Bachelor of Laws student at the University of Waikato.
“Cycling is not a long-term career and is exceptionally high-risk, so having the chance to study at the same time is important to me.
“I chose Waikato as they offered an excellent law programme and it seemed like a perfect fit when I left St Peter’s College.”
Ally received the University’s most prestigious student scholarship, the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship, which supports students to pursue their passion while completing a qualification.
“Without the support from the scholarship I wouldn’t have been able to be where I am with both academics and sport. It often gets stressful, especially around exam time, however, with the University's support I can make it work.”
Ally, who spends eight months a year overseas, says she is still able to study part-time while cycling.
“Cycling takes up a huge portion of my time so extensions and special consideration for assessments are required from time to time.”
The University’s High-Performance Student Scholarship Manager Greg O’Carroll says Ally works hard on the bike and in her studies and it’s great to see her succeeding on the international stage.
“After suffering a wrist injury in a crash at the Tour d France Femmes and being forced to withdraw from last year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Ally has been strong and determined,” Greg says.
Ally began racing professionally on the road for NXTG Racing in August 2021. By January 2022, she won the National criterium championships before joining her team in Europe and winning her first gold with a team at the Grand Prix du Morbihan in May 2022.
Ally was also part of the New Zealand team that won the team pursuit in Hong Kong as part of the 2019-20 UCI Track Cycling World Cup and also won gold in the individual pursuit at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships.
This week Ally travels to Cairo, Egypt for the second Nations Cup before heading to Spain for the remainder of the year while finishing off her law degree.
“Success isn’t the product of one person’s actions,” Ally says. “All of my success in university and sport are the outcome of a whole tribe of people.
“I value the relationships I have made on my journey more than anything else and look forward to making new ones and celebrating success with everyone else involved in my journey.”