This is how a Doncaster man went from couch potato to a triathlete representing our country
A former smoker who gave up the habit to become a triathlete is preparing to represent Great Britain for the second time.
Michael Barnett, aged 37, gave up smoking and took up triathlon training six years ago as a way of getting himself into shape.
He is being helped in his training by the Talented Athlete Support Scheme (TASS), run by Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust (DCLT).
Michael said: "I took up triathlon training in 2012 after giving up smoking and it has changed my life. I was the epitome of a couch potato and now find myself representing my country.
"I was also the face of No Smoking Day in 2014, so it's been quite a transformation."
He first competed for Great Britain as an age group athlete and the 2016 World Championships in Mexico.
Recently, he qualified for the 2018 World Championships, which will take place on the Gold Coast of Australia on September 13, where he will be competing in the 35-39 age group.
To prepare for the big event, Michael has been using the DCLT facilities to train and make sure he is in top shape to compete on the biggest stage.
He said: "TASS will allow me to supplement my training by giving me access to the gyms and pools around Doncaster. With the wide variety of sessions available, I will be able to slot this around my other life commitments."
Kraig Kelly, head of Leisure at DCLT, said: "It's fantastic to see the example Michael has set for all the people out there who want to get themselves into shape but can't
find the motivation. Push yourself and you too could be representing your nation at huge events like Michael will.
"We are delighted to be able to support him in his journey and we wish him every success on the Gold Coast in September."