The story of the Anzac Landings at Gallipoli resonates with many Australians, and Kieran Roche is no exception.
The 22-year-old Australian triathlete has been selected to represent his country at next month’s inaugural Gallipoli Games, where he’ll compete against university athletes from six other countries.
“To say I am proud to represent Australia at such a significant event is an understatement,” says Kieran.
“I couldn't believe it when I got the phone call. This is without question the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Kieran has been racing professionally for three years since qualifying in the Australian International Triathlon Union junior training team in 2011.
He is studying civil engineering at the University of Technology in Sydney, where he is part of the triathlon team, which has won three successive Australian University Triathlon Championships.
Kieran initially started his sporting career as a swimmer, but quickly realized he also enjoyed running.
“My dad suggested triathlon and so we both signed up to our local triathlon club - even though dad wasn't a very strong swimmer,” he says.
“Triathlon for us was going to be a sport we could share and spend some quality father-son time.”
“Triathlon is a release for me, it helps to clear my head and it's a sport I'm really passionate about.”
Kieran will be part of the 70-athlete delegation heading over to Gallipoli from Australia.
“I expect Gallipoli to be a very overwhelming experience,” he says.
“To think that 100 years ago, boys younger than myself fought and died for their country on that same land is beyond surreal. Back then, boys were sent to Gallipoli to fight. Now I am heading over there to compete at an international sporting event.”
“It’s a big credit to the organizers of this event. It really demonstrates how peace and friendship has triumphed over the years,” he says.
“I've read that many books and watched that many movies about Gallipoli. Racing a triathlon around Gallipoli will be unbelievable!”