MP Shayne Neumann.
MP Shayne Neumann.

Abbott gets a run for his money

A FITNESS battle has erupted on the treadmills of the parliamentary gym in Canberra.

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has officially called out Labor’s Member for Blair Shayne Neumann as a threat to his self-appointed status as the nation’s fittest politician.

And Mr Neumann is happy to take up the challenge, claiming he would “own” Mr Abbott in the gym and edge him out in a running event.

On the last day of Parliament for the year, Mr Abbott said his former colleague Pat Farmer used to be the fittest politician, but he now had the title.

He then went on to nominate the other contenders.

“Although I think I have some rivals in the Member for Blair, perhaps the member for Flinders and perhaps some of my younger colleagues on his side,” Mr Abbott said in his speech.

Mr Neumann said he received numerous messages from his Parliamentary friends informing him of Mr Abbott’s remark.

Every morning, the former lawyer completes an eight-kilometre run, 300 sit-ups and a rigorous strength workout.

“Everyone was calling me telling he mentioned me as a threat to his supposed fittest politician title,” Mr Neumann said.

“I have come across Tony many times in the gym, and when it comes to strength he could not compete against me,” Mr Neumann said.

“It would be close on a run of five or 10 kilometres, but I think I could get him there. He would be better at running over the longer distances.

“In a cycle or swim he would beat me though; they’re my weakest legs.”

Mr Neumann runs through the streets of Canberra nearly every morning alongside his younger Labor colleagues and is a fixture in the Parliamentary gym.

He is also an annual competitor in Ipswich’s Park to Park event in the five-kilometre run and prides himself on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“I enjoy running and try to do it as much as I can when I have the time. Keeping up your fitness is very important for people no matter your age,” Mr Neumann said.

But Mr Abbott’s fitness credentials are quite impressive.

This year, he competed in the Port Macquarie Ironman, which involved a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and a 42km run.

He also spent nine days on his bike for the annual Pollie Pedal event to raise money for indigenous health.

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