Hooper going for glory
TEENAGE Mountain Creek triathlete Michael Hooper is hoping to put his name on the map with a podium finish at the World Triathlon Championship grand final in New Zealand later in the year.
Hooper, 18, has earned a berth in the 18-19 year age division for the October 22 event.
Since taking up the sport three-and-a-half years ago Hooper has gone from strength to strength.
He has completed five Olympic distance events and hopes to break through one day to the upper echelons of the sport.
While triathletes do not traditionally start showing their potential until at least their mid-20s, Hooper would like nothing more than to get a big result under his belt in Auckland.
"I guess I'm just really looking to get my name out there," he said.
"I'd love to get on the podium and that's going to be my aim."
Hooper came to the sport with a background in cross country running and said he was still coming along as a swimmer.
He trains under Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy coach Toby Coote and splits his time between training multiple sessions a day and studying sports and exercise science at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
He achieved his best result at this year's Mooloolaba Triathlon, where he finished third in the 15-19 category with a time of 2:01.34, just 17 seconds behind division winner Thomas Miller.
One of the biggest obstacles at the World Triathlon Championships will be the water temperature, which is expected to be about 15C and 10C cooler than what Hooper is used to racing in.
"I'll go over early to try to acclimatise.
"There's an aquathon on before the championships and I'll do that," he said.
"I'll also have a few easy sessions to try to get used to the conditions."
Hooper's trip will be self-funded and he is on the lookout for sponsors.
Anyone interested in helping him out should contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.