Triathlon with a tropical twist
Eight James Cook University Sport and Exercise Science students will head to the Solomon Islands this month to learn about a South Pacific-style triathlon where bikes are swapped for dugout canoes.
Sport and Exercise Science Senior Lecturer Glen Deakin said the students from the Cairns and Townsville campuses leave on November 29 for the two-week trip which includes a short stint at the Atoifi Hospital/College of Nursing before heading to the remote villages of Ambitona and Na’au on the island of Malaita.
"The students will learn how local villagers run a South Pacific-style triathlon and then conduct training sessions on swimming techniques, exercises for paddling and techniques for endurance development," he said.
"The students also will be instructing and showing the villagers skill and conditioning techniques to improve their soccer and volleyball performances, which are the two big sporting pastimes in the villages."
Dr Deakin said the idea for the trip came after the Science of Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity in the Tropics conference put on by JCU Sport and Exercise Science last November.
"Associate Professor Anthony Leicht and I attended a presentation by David MacLaren and Humpress Harrington from the Atoifi College of Nursing on 'Triathlon in the Tropics – South Pacific Style'," he said.
"The idea for the triathlon came about as a way to get local villagers interested in increasing their daily exercise levels and overall health.
"We wanted to help them in their quest to continue such a triathlon as well as help with providing other avenues for exercise and physical activity in dealing with local health related issues.
"Consequently, the trip will involve both education and activity sessions using the expertise of staff and students from JCU Sport and Exercise Science."
Dr David MacLaren from the College of Medicine and Dentistry, who has research projects in the Solomon Islands, has helped organise the trip.
"It will complement the ongoing program of public health research between JCU and Atoifi Hospital and strengthen the capacity of the Hospital to undertake research using techniques they will learn from JCU Sport and Exercise Science," he said.
Dr Deakin said Zoller Enterprises, a Cairns exporter of truck and earthmover tyres, was helping cover some of the students' travel costs and had donated hats and t-shirts for the students and villagers.
"Owner Rodney Pearce heard about the trip and was keen to help as his wife comes from the Zoller Group of Islands in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville just over the PNG - Solomon Islands border," he said.
"To assist with offsetting the remaining costs, the students have been busy conducting fundraising activities such as bake sales, raffles and banana smoothie stalls to raise funds."
Issued: November 24, 2014
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