Gunn shoots for Philip­pines glory

Multisport Mecca - - Itu Grand Final -

NOOSA’S Leigh Gunn was a pro­fes­sional soc­cer player based in Sydney for most of his young adult life.

His fam­ily is from the Philip­pines, there­fore he has al­ways felt a close con­nec­tion with the coun­try.

At the age of 18, Leigh went over to the Philip­pines to play soc­cer at a na­tional level, where he played and rep­re­sented for 11 years.

“I grew up in Sydney. My Mum is from the Philip­pines which is how I am rep­re­sent­ing the na­tional team for triathlon,” he said.

“I started play­ing soc­cer when I was five and when I turned 18, I went over to the Philip­pines and got into the na­tional soc­cer team and played with them for 11 years. It’s al­ways been about sport.”

Why triathlon?

“My par­ents used to hol­i­day in Noosa ev­ery year grow­ing up as a kid. I al­ways said I would stop soc­cer when I got se­ri­ously in­jured and that hap­pened,” Gunn said.

In­jury oc­curred and after 33 years of play­ing, Gunn passed the ball and fin­ished his soc­cer ca­reer.

“Com­ing here, to Noosa, on hol­i­day and see­ing the Noosa Triathlon tran­si­tion area set up re­ally got me think­ing about it,” Gunn said.

“I have al­ways rid­den bikes so­cially with friends at school and I have al­ways wanted to get into cy­cling. I knew I could run be­cause of soc­cer but the swim scared the hell out of me. I saw that as a chal­lenge. It scared me ev­ery time I jumped in the wa­ter.

“Straight away I felt some­thing with the sport and that in­ner drive to push as hard and as far as I can.”

New life

Now mar­ried and with a young fam­ily, Gunn packed up life in Sydney and moved to Noosa, the place he claims epit­o­mises the life­style his fam­ily loves.

“Be­ing three dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines, you can ex­cel in one and work at the oth­ers to get through. It keeps you healthy and your mind ac­tive,” Gunn said.

“When I moved here I didn’t know any­one and now every­one I know is through triathlon. All of our so­cial net­work is in­volved in the sport, it’s awe­some.

“I am su­per mo­ti­vated ahead of the Grand Fi­nal. It’s start­ing to hit home now and the train­ing is be­com­ing spe­cific to the event and it’s just down the road so I don’t need to worry about jet lag or ac­cli­ma­tis­ing.”

“I have three girls – aged five, four and four months.

“They def­i­nitely know what I am up to and some­times I drag them along to the run­ning ses­sions and they have a bit of a play. They’re get­ting into it as well, they do swim­ming. They see me get up early in the morn­ing and want to know where I am go­ing. They will be there on race day sup­port­ing and cheer­ing me on which means ev­ery­thing.

“It’s one of the high­est hon­ours to rep­re­sent your coun­try.

“To have a race plan and to stick to the plan. The hard work is done prior to that. It’s about en­joy­ing the day.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

COM­PETI­TOR: Noosa’s Leigh Gunn will race at the world cham­pi­onships.

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