Bob­sled­der chas­ing dream

PAIR EVEN­TU­ALLY GET TO SPORT

Stirling Times - - Front Page -

PERTH-raised Lu­cas Mata and David Mari be­gan down dif­fer­ent ath­letic paths be­fore tak­ing up bob­sled­ding.

The two ath­letes are now pre­par­ing to com­pete in the Aus­tralian bob­sled team at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Win­ter Games, which kicked off on Fe­bru­ary 9 with the open­ing cer­e­mony.

The bob­sled com­pe­ti­tion runs from Fe­bru­ary 15 to 25.

Mata, from Scar­bor­ough, was do­ing 100m sprints and long jump dur­ing his school years and for five years af­ter.

A phone call from a friend about the al­ter­nate sport put his life on a dif­fer­ent path.

“A friend con­tacted me; he was go­ing to the Sochi Win­ter Olympics and asked me to give it a go, so I tried it out, tested well and got into the race,” he said.

“It was a whirl­wind but I fell in love with it.”

His PyeongChang team­mate Mari, from Perth, was drawn to the sport af­ter he in­jured his an­kles pur­su­ing gym­nas­tics and bas­ket­ball.

“I was play­ing in Perth for the Red­backs (in the SBL) but I was forced to stop,” he said.

“It be­came dif­fi­cult to do side-to-side move­ment but the lin­ear move­ment of bob­sled­ding was eas­ier on the an­kles.

“I ended up train­ing in the same group as Luca and was re­cruited from there.”

Aus­tralian Win­ter Olympics bob­sled team mem­bers Lach­lan Reidy, Lu­cas Mata, David Mari and Hay­den Smith.

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