Seventeen-year-old triathlete Tom Stead has turned to the crowd-funding website Talent Backer to help fund his burgeoning career in the fast growing sport.

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Stead, who lives in Staploe, is one of the country’s hottest prospects in the triathlon, as well as the duathlon, aquathlon and quadrathlon, and he has been invited to perform for Great Britain at the World and European Championships at races in the Netherlands, Spain, Austria and Canada this year.

“My sport in general is very expensive,” Stead told The Hunts Post. “The addition of competing for GB on the world stage ups the ante. I have been given some fantastic support behind the scenes with coaching, sports therapy, nutrition and the like. But it surprises many that there is no funding whatsoever that I can get my hands on. Funding is all down to me.”

Stead, who is studying outdoor adventures at Shuttleworth College in Biggleswade, will move to the University of Bedfordshire in September where he will study sports science and exercise practise.

He continued: “I took up multi sport events four years ago. I am a member of the triathlon club NiceTri of St Neots and a recent team member of the race team Corley Cycles who are based in Milton Keynes.

“If I was to choose two stand out events from last year they would be the ETU European Triathlon Championships in Alanya, Turkey, and the ITU World Championships held at Hyde Park in London. The highlight of London was having the fastest bike split out of all 1,845 competitors.

“This year is packed full of events. I have a very full race diary and dotted in among these are hopefully trips to the World and European championships in the Netherlands, Spain, Austria and Canada. You have to qualify for all these events, you can’t just rock up.”

The triathlon is a tough sport. Britain boasts some of the best competitors in the world with the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Johnny, winning the Olympic gold and bronze medals at the London 2012 Games. And, in a bid to reach that level, Stead is hoping to raise his profile with an appeal on www.talentbacker.com. The website highlights athletes’ talents and encourages investment in their future. Stead’s page is at www.talentbacker.com/talents/view/tom-stead.

But the athlete isn’t resting on his laurels. “As well as training, college and racing, I recently started a small business printing names and sponsor logos onto tri suits and kits of fellow athletes,” he said.

“I found that there was a gap in the market for this service but I fear that Canada and Spain may still be out of reach.”

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