FUTURE STARS: Young triathletes learning about the sport through the Ipswich City Rotary Tuffkidz series include (from left) Harrison Memory, Connor Hennessy, Jade Hennessy and Caitlin Memory, with coach and ambassador Bec Ungermann.
FUTURE STARS: Young triathletes learning about the sport through the Ipswich City Rotary Tuffkidz series include (from left) Harrison Memory, Connor Hennessy, Jade Hennessy and Caitlin Memory, with coach and ambassador Bec Ungermann. Contributed

Tuffkidz event a terrific place to try sport, help community

WHEN it comes to making a start in the sport, the regular Ipswich City Rotary Tuffkidz triathlons provide an ideal opportunity for young people.

The next event is scheduled at Ipswich State High School on March 6.

The competitors can challenge themselves and learn about triathlons by competing in a bike, swim and run leg.

Event distances depend on school grade level, with all finishers receiving a Tuffkidz medallion and eligible to win a bike and other prizes.

The Sunday morning events are from 5.30am-9am, organised by the Ipswich City Rotary Club, with assistance from the Ipswich Hospital Foundation and the Ipswich Triathlon Club.

Each stage of the triathlon is supervised by officials.

Ever-active coach and ambassador Bec Ungermann has becoming heavily involved, supporting earlier efforts by Ipswich City Rotary.

"Tuffkidz had always been about creating a community event just for kids to encourage physical activity, having fun with school friends, giving a new sport a go, the feeling of accomplishment and raising money for the community/Ipswich Hospice,'' she said.

"Tuffkidz is the only triathlon like event in the west Brisbane area. It is the only kids triathlon in Queensland which allows you to do a team.

"All money goes back to the community.''

Ungermann enjoys working with young people.

"My role is an ambassador for Tuffkidz and the sport of triathlon for juniors in the Ipswich region,'' she said.

"I have been competing in triathlons for 15 years and Ipswich Tuffkidz was my first race.

"I now coach a junior specific triathlon squad at Bundamba Swim Centre: BOSS multisport for kids aged 5-17.

"My role in the day will be to create a fun environment with warm up drills and lots of cheering and support.''

Tuffidz this year has extended its age groups to embrace more kids from prep to year 12.

"As with any sport the juniors are the future,'' Ungermann said.

"Triathlon will be big at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and triathlon is working hard to have streamline pathways for development from grassroots into junior elite.''

The Ipswich region has four athletes in the Met West team competing at the state titles this weekend at Hervey Bay.

"I would like to see Ipswich/Springfield better represented in Met West next year,'' Ungermann said.

"I look forward to the opening of all the new infrastructure and bikeways, which gives juniors a safe place to train.''

For more information about next month's Tuffkidz event, contact Ungermann (0457 868315), Peter McMahon (0409 897188) or the Ipswich Hospital Foundation on 1300 736428.



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