Young champion enjoys the ride

Matt Smith at the World Duathlon Championship in Adelaide last month.
Matt Smith at the World Duathlon Championship in Adelaide last month.

ABOUT three years ago, a mate of The Vines resident Matt Smith convinced him to give triathlon training a go.

Now 19-year-old Smith is weighing up his options on whether to pursue a professional career and make a tilt at Olympic representation.

Just last month, Smith won the World Duathlon Championship in Adelaide in the 16- to 19-year-old sprints category, which involves 5km of running, 20km of riding followed by another 3km run.

The annual event attracts 1400 athletes from around the world and Smith is now the back-to-back national 16-19 duathlon champion.

“It hasn’t really set in yet. It’s incredible, you can’t really describe it,” Smith said about his win.

Next June, he will head to the Duathlon World Championships in Aviles, Spain to defend his title.

“I’ll start training for that pretty soon,” he said.

From there, Smith has several options he is considering for his career.

“I can either try to get my (professional) licence and try to go to the Olympics in triathlon or I could go into the long-course triathlons like the ironman and make a career that way.”

“My other option is to drop the triathlon and try to get to the Olympics in marathon.

“I’m just enjoying it as it goes along.”

On an average week, Smith will spend about 17 hours training, including running about 80km and riding up to 300km.

Smith said his motivation to keep going was the thrill of a good result.

“I find in training and racing you’ve got to be really mentally focused to be able to push through significant amounts of pain,” he said.

When he is not competing or training, Smith is studying a double major degree in sport and health science and science movement at Murdoch University.

Next year, he has invitations to compete in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the London Duathlon, but study commitments will dictate which ones he can accept.