RIGHT AT HOME: Tom Hazell in his backyard ninja set-up.
RIGHT AT HOME: Tom Hazell in his backyard ninja set-up. Marc Stapelberg

Northern Rivers truckie takes on Ninja Warrior Grand Final

TRUCKIE turned Australian Ninja Warrior grand finalist Tom Hazell spent three years preparing for the grand final tonight - on a home made course in his backyard.

The elite obstacle racing dad has used "whatever I can get my hands on" to create his own ninja training course in a shed that takes up 90% of his East Lismore yard.

"I had a bit of it set up before I went on the show because I had it for obstacle racing," he said.

"After being on the show I've expanded it a little bit."

The course includes a peg board, salmon ladder, monkey bars and a 3m vertical wall.

"I got pool balls and drilled holes in them and fastened hooks in them and hung them up so I hang around on those to practise my grip. Grip strength is 90% of the show."

A fan of rock climbing, CrossFit and dirt biking, Hazell, 31, said his "hippy" mum introduced him and sister Jacinda, 28, to obstacle racing when they were kids.

"We grew up living in the bush - Kyogle and Mullumbimby," he said.

"We moved around a lot.

"It was bloody good living in the bush with no neighbours.

"We were always outside."

He said in some ways, the ninja challenges had been easier to navigate than an obstacle course.

"In obstacle racing you have a lot of running and terrains to deal with," he said.

"In ninja you have obstacles to overcome but no mud or weather. You can concentrate more.

"I'm not the best runner, so more obstacles and less racing suits me."

Hazell is one of 21 ninjas through to tonight's grand final of the maiden series of Australian Ninja Warrior.


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