TOUGH: Heather Atkinson will compete despite battling breast cancer.
TOUGH: Heather Atkinson will compete despite battling breast cancer. Contributed

Challenges don’t come much bigger than this

OUTRIGGING: Heather Atkinson will take on one of her greatest sporting challenges when the best in world outrigging arrive at Lake Kawana.

The 69-year-old Treasurer of the Mooloolaba Outrigger Canoe Club Committee has trained four times a week to ensure she’s in peak condition for the Va’a World Sprint Titles starting next weekend.

As challenging as outrigger canoeing may be, it’s nothing compared to what she’s faced recently.

Despite battling breast cancer for the past year, Atkinson will represent Australia in the Golden Masters Division and race solo in the Platinum (70 years and older) division.

“I was diagnosed in June last year and have undergone surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy so it has been tough going through all that and keeping up training four times a week to prepare for this,” she said.

“The love I have for this sport and the wonderful support from my local teammates and family has helped me battle through and I’m so excited to line up in a world championships here on the Sunshine Coast. I can’t wait!”

Sunshine Coast Council’s Tourism, Sport and Major Events portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray is buzzing ahead of the event which will bring more than 2500 athletes from 24 different countries.

“This is the absolute pinnacle event of the world’s outrigger canoe racing calendar and it’s an incredible honour for our region to host an event that’s making only its second appearance in Australia,” Cr O’Pray said.


Three injured as crews race to hinterland motorbike crashes

Premium Content Three injured as crews race to hinterland motorbike crashes

Busy day on Coast hinterland roads as three injured in crashes

FINAL HOURS: Top real estate agents in race for Coast’s best

Premium Content FINAL HOURS: Top real estate agents in race for Coast’s best

Vote now for the Coast’s best real estate agent

MEGA GALLERY: 150+ photos of Coast hockey deciders

Premium Content MEGA GALLERY: 150+ photos of Coast hockey deciders

See all the photos from Saturday's senior hockey grand finals