Young bowler has world at his hands
25 May 2017
The Year 13 student continues to go from strength to strength in a sport probably not best associated with teenage boys.
Indoor bowls is in the Zittersteijn blood, though, with his father John an accomplished rep while his mother Sandra knows her around the green as well.
Zittersteijn junior is the current New Zealand secondary schools champion, has already represented North Taranaki in the Paterson Trophy and was the youngest member of the team who won the Welch Trophy - the epitome of the sport in New Zealand.
The 17-year-old, who has been bowling for eight years, is also on the cusp of going to the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast if the Cook Islands ratify his selection.
He credits his parents for getting him into the sport and he loves it.
"You get to meet so many people," he said. "It also helps me with communication."
While he was a nervous starter, he said he was driven to do the best he could.
That's reflected that he plays four times a week while there are plenty of hours when he simply practices and practices.
"It pushes me to be as good as I can," he added.
But it's not just the confines of an indoor bowling centre where you find him. He also loves the outdoor version of the sport and getting involved with his Vogeltown club.
As for his opinion on his best achievement? No, it's not the national secondary schools title or his former national junior title but that Welch Trophy win in Christchurch that tops everything to date.
"Both times I've been in the team we've won it, so that's special."
A man who has had a bit to do with Zittersteijn at his school is Phil Gayton who knows how committed his student is to his sport.
"He is an extremely humble young man who treats every win and loss the same," Gayton wrote when nominating Zittersteijn for the Taranaki Sportsperson of the Year.
"Aidan is a very mature athlete who competes with and against adult bowlers. He is also a very respectful young man who always exhibits the highest kind of sportsmanship."
Those attributes have obviously won him a fair share of admirers in what can be a more than competitive sport.
As for his immediate future, Zittersteijn is working hard training for the nationals in Taupo in June where he hopes to add another title or two to his resume.
"I really want to win the fours with my dad and Mark and Sean Ridley. Hopefully we do well."
The eight day tournament will be "really fun" as he catches up with his closest rivals in the junior ranks.
As for the surname and how to pronounce it? The j is silent.