Dream over as Matt pulls out of Duathlon World Championships due to lack of funding

Triathlete Matthew Turnbull.
Triathlete Matthew Turnbull.

A DISAPPOINTED town athlete has been forced to withdraw from the Duathlon World Championships due to a lack of funding.

But after admitting defeat in his quest to raise the cash required to fund the trip, motivated Matt Turnbull is now focusing purely on the Triathlon European Championships, which he also qualified for earlier this year.

As reported in the Mail, Matt, 36, achieved a lifelong dream by qualifying for the world championships but was then left with just 20 days to stump up the £700 required.

Matt started a fundraising effort but after launching a similar drive to raise cash to pay for the European Championships recently, he decided it was too much to ask.

“It would have been an impossible burden to put on my family to find the money to pay for that,” admitted Matt, who lives in Seaton Carew with his wife Kelly and two children, Dylan, seven, and Ben, six.

“Obviously I was sad. It was an awful feeling but I also felt a little bit of relief at the same time, to have that weight off my shoulders.”

Having to withdraw from the world championships certainly hasn’t dampened Matt’s appetite for competition.

He says he is now 100 per cent focused on the Triathlon European Championships, in Kitzbuehel, Austria, in June, for which he is still fundraising.

“It was just a case of refocusing, adjusting and looking to my next goal,” said Matt, a former action who is now a performing arts teacher.

“Although I have had to withdraw from the worlds I still have so much going on, races, fundraising, training.

“To be honest everything has happened so fast this year but it’s all experience, in the future I can make sure I am as well prepared for every possibility.

“The support I have received from my family and coaches has been absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t ask for any more from them.”

Matt believes he would have been in with a chance of a medal at the world championships and admits he is stronger at duathlon - running and cycling - than triathlon.

But he said training has been going well and he will head to Austria in June confident and in high spirits.

As Matt continues to raise the money he needs to fund the trip to the European Championships, he has organised an event, taking place at the Rovers Quoit Club, in Easington Road, in the town this coming Saturday, May 3.

Tickets are selling well for the fundraiser so anyone who wants to show their support are being urged to snap up the remaining tickets fast.

A disco, raffle and live entertainment will all feature on the night.

Tickets, priced at £4 are available from Wet, Rock and Ride, in York Road.

Any businesses who are interested in sponsoring or supporting Matt should also contact the shop.