Paratriathlete heads overseas to do Bundaberg proud

READY SET GO: Mark Urquhart is packed and ready to head off to Canada for the World Triathlon Championships. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail
READY SET GO: Mark Urquhart is packed and ready to head off to Canada for the World Triathlon Championships. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail Zach Hogg BUN200814MRK4

PARATRIATHLETE Mark Urquhart is as excited as a kid at Christmas as he sits and tears open the box containing a new set of shiny wheels.

"These are super quick wheels that will make me go faster," he says with a big grin.

It is these new wheels that are going to take the disabled ex-serviceman to a whole new level in his athletic career as he prepares to fly out of the country tomorrow to compete at the World Triathlon Championships in Canada, next month.

"I'm feeling very nervous with this being my first international event," he said.

Mr Urquhart's dream almost didn't become a reality back in June, following a financial sponsorship debacle with the Bundaberg RSL.

But the RSL Sub Branch came to the rescue, as did a number of community organisations and individuals, to get Mr Urquhart to Canada.

"There are not enough words to thank everyone in Bundaberg for their support," he said.

"Without everyone helping me, I wouldn't be going."

While Urquhart admits to feelings of nervousness, the athlete said he was as prepared as he could be for his race on September 1.

"I always get to the point where I think have I done everything, did I do enough training, am I crazy?" he said.

"I can't wait to get there and see what the course is like.

"Apparently they've got some big hills for us - that's going to be interesting considering there's no hills around Bundaberg to train on."

RSL Sub Branch President Paul Tramacchi said it was pleasing to see Mr Urquhart's dream finally coming true.

"We consider it a privilege to be one of the instruments to give him his dream," he said.

"His dream was to go to the World Championships but that looked like falling right down a couple of months ago.

"We wish him every success not only for the world champs, but for the Invictus Games."

There will be minimal rest for Mr Urquhart following the championships, who will then board a plane bound for London to compete at the Invictus Games - an event spear-headed by Prince Harry who set up the UK-based games for people who have been injured or become ill as a result of their service.

Mr Urquhart said 14 countries would be represented at the Invictus Games, and he would be competing in more than 17 events thanks to the sponsorship by RSL Queensland's Mates for Mates project.

"Australia is taking a contingent of 30 current and ex service men and women," he said.

"That is going to be mind blowing."

Topics:  mark urquhart

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