Falling into an international career of downhill mountain biking is fast becoming a reality for Comboyne teenager, Luke Meier-Smith.
The 17-year-old has made a name for himself contesting the downhill season this year in Australia and world cups in Fort William, Leogang and Andorra, as well as world titles in Mont Sainte Anne, Crankworx Innsbruck and Whistler.
He's even taken out second place in the 2019 Australian Championships, second in the Pro Men at the 2019 Australian Pump Track Championships and first place in Garbanzo zone at the World Championships in Canada.
When he's not cranking the wheels he spends time working on the family avocado farm and training six days a week on home made practice tracks.
"I started in BMX when I was about 11 and moved into mountain biking when I was about 14, It's been a solid three or four years now," said the former Camden Haven High School student.
"I just sort of fell into it really. At a young age I was playing soccer but it was really hilly where I live and a good training ground for BMX. I loved BMX and when I moved to downhill I loved it also.
"I do a lot of training to be strong and fit, mentally and physically. I've built a bit of a track which I train pretty much every day.
"I really want to make it a career, hopefully next year I can get on a team make a living out of it. My goal next year is to win downhill world champs and the world cup overall, it's not going to be easy but I'm up to the challenge.
"I'm a driven person and this is my dream, it's the funnest thing I can do."
Luke was awarded the prestigious 2019 Wayne Richards Sporting Scholarship worth $4000 at the Port Macquarie-Hastings Sports Awards on Friday, October 25.
The award was launched in 2004 by the Mayor's Sporting Fund Sub-Committee as a tribute to former Mayor Wayne Richards after the Mayor's Sporting Fund was established in 1999.
The funding will go directly to assisting him to travel to compete in races during 2020, according to Luke.
"It's my first scholarship as such. It will probably going towards airfares next year because I am competing in all the downhill world cup and championships," he said.
"They are all over the place in Portugal, Croatia, Scotland, Austria, France, Italy, Canada and Switzerland.
"I was pretty surprised to win it actually but it means a lot to receive the award and it will definitely help next year."
Port Macquarie-Hastings Councillor Lisa Intemann, who presented the award said the entire community benefits from living a fit and active lifestyle.
"The sporting talent in our community is truly inspiring, and we are delighted to financially assist our young rising stars," she said.
"I congratulate all our nominees and award winners and their supporters on their hard work, determination and achievements, and wish them success.
"Perhaps they will add their name to the list of our sporting legends including wheelchair rugby player Ryley Batt, swimmer James Magnussen and cyclist Lauren Kitchen.
"Our Council will continue to develop high quality facilities with something for everyone from walking paths to competitive sporting venues."
For more information on the Wayne Richards Sporting Scholarship and the monthly Mayor's Sporting Fund awards visit, pmhc.nsw.gov.au/grants.
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