Meath athlete Peter Ledwidge hopes to do his nation proud when he competes at the World Triathlon championships in Auckland next October.
Ledwidge has been living in Brisbane, Australia for over two years and admits that it’s a huge honour for him to represent Ireland at the international event.
More than 4,500 triathletes – including international stars – will compete at the event.
“How I came to be in the World Championships is that I applied to Triathlon Ireland as an athlete outside of Ireland and I had to submit to them my race times and all that kind of thing,” Ledwidge told the Irish Echo.
“They came back to me and said that I had been chosen so I was delighted.
“There are two aspects. You have the elites and professionals who compete in twelve races in different countries over the course of the year and do it fulltime. Auckland is the final for them.
“And then you also have an opportunity for people who are doing competitions and training as well as working part or full time, so that’s basically amateur athletes, to compete,” he continued.
Ledwidge, 28, works for Triathlon Queensland, having left home in September 2009.
The DCU graduate had been working for a Navan based car dealership prior, but was let go due to the economic downturn.
He immediately jumped at the chance to follow his dreams and move to Australia, where he was guaranteed better weather conditions for training.
“I’ve been working for Triathlon Queensland since last January so I’m involved in the sport in terms of my job and outside of it, in that it’s my hobby.”
The ambitious athlete has chosen to use the opportunity to raise money for the ‘Tri to Fight Cancer’ programme, an initiative of the ‘Smiling for Smiddy,’ organisation.
“I wanted to do it for this cause because I think it’s such a common disease that affects so many people.
“After a bit of research I found out ‘Smiling for Smiddy’ events honour the memory of Adam Smiddy, who passed away to an aggressive cancer in 2006 aged just 26.
“When I heard about the local campaign I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in.
“As well as raising money for them, I will also be racing at the World Championships with the logo on my tri-suit to raise further awareness of the cause,” he added.
Ledwidge is hoping to raise a minimum of $4,500, with $1,500 to be spent on his travel costs and the remainder to go towards the charity.
He is offering supporters two options when it comes to donating.
For those who wish part of their donation to contribute to his travel costs go to http://peterledwidge.blogspot.com.au. Alternatively supporters can give directly to the charity at http://www.smiddyfundraising.com.au/peter_ledwidge.