Aussie athlete’s Wooler ties

Emma Moffatt in action.
Emma Moffatt in action.

A north Northumberland man who left the UK for Australia in 1975 will be back this weekend hoping to see his daughter win Olympic gold.

David Moffatt, who left Wooler at the age of 27 and raised a family in New South Wales, will be hoping 27-year-old Emma can build on the bronze medal she won in Beijing four years ago.

Before leaving this country, David, who attended Glendale Secondary Modern School and Berwick Grammar School, was a very fine all-round athlete and also actively involved in other sports including football, cricket and badminton, representing Wooler.

The ex-Northumbrian, now aged 64, and his wife Trish are now both retired and are actively involved in Coffs Harbour Triathlon club in Australia.

Daughter Emma, who has two sisters and a brother, got involved in the sport during high school and turned professional in 2006.

She went on to compete in the 2008 Olympics, coming third, and became world champion in 2009 and 2010 over the Olympic distance.

Emma’s weekly training involves swimming 25 kilometres, running 80 kilometres and cycling 300 kilometres.

“My training has gone really well and I won a recent race in Europe,” she said, adding that she will taper down her training the week before the race.

Of the three race legs – a 1.5-kilometre swim, a 40-kilometre cycle-ride and a 10-kilometre run – Moffatt’s favourite is the run.

“There’s a feeling of safety when you get off the bike,” she said. “The swim can be really rough and sometimes the bike is a little scary, so when you’re running it feels as though no one can harm you.

“I’d love to win a gold medal, but it’s such a hard thing to have everything go right on race day, so I’m not holding my breath.

“There are a lot of other girls who are capable of winning but I will be giving it my best shot and who knows what might happen.”

While Laura Weightman may be carrying the hopes of north Northumberland, an Aussie win on Saturday may well hold some pride for the people of Wooler.