GAMES ARE ON HORIZON: Youngster strives high
SWIMMING: If all goes to plan Bundaberg's Murray MacPherson could be off to the Tokyo Olympics in less than two years time.
But he won't be representing the green and gold, instead he'll be competing for another country and making history along the way.
MacPherson, through his father, qualifies to compete for the small African nation of Malawi.
He also lived there as a child before moving to Australia and came from the same place that the famous Campbell sisters were born.
The 16-year-old recently represented the country at the youth Olympics in Argentina, competing in the 50m and 800m freestyle.
But while he finished last in the 800m and 42nd in the 50m, the results mattered in another way.
The St Luke's Anglican School student was able to break the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m Malawi record with the performance.
"It was very interesting and different, just seeing how things work at the higher level,” he said.
"I'm rather lucky in that sense that I can do things very few people can do (by representing a country).
"It's interesting and a nice way to see a few places.”
MacPherson was able to compete through rules set in place by the International Olympic Committee and the peak body for swimming.
"As a result, because they are so poor, they get assisted to do anything,” he said.
"Malawi is in the bottom nations so they can send two swimmers.”
Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world currently and is also in the bottom 15 of life expectancy among nations.
The country was able to send two swimmers at the last Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro.
MacPherson is now trying to be one of the two swimmers they send to Tokyo if it happens again.
"Pretty much, I'm not 100% certain but it is kind of similar to the Youth Olympics,” he revealed
"They'll probably end up selecting two people to go and they'll decide who goes.”
If MacPherson is selected he would become one of around 80 athletes to represent the country.
MacPherson said it was good to represent the country but revealed it was a challenge at times.
"It interesting and different to what you hear (about them),” he said.
"They don't have much support.
"I haven't competed in the national titles for a while, there are maybe 15 that compete that are semi competitive.”
MacPherson is now preparing to represent Malawi again at the African under-20 youth games in Botswana.
He leaves today for the event.
"I'm competing in the 400m, 200m, 100m and 50m freestyle, the 200m, 100m and 50m backstroke and 200m individual medley,” he said.
"I'd just like to see how I can go in an African comp.
”I'm just (going) to have a go and see what happens.”
MacPherson said he hadn't dreamed too much about going to the Olympics yet and was just striving to be better every day.
He added Fairymead's Paul Simms had helped him a lot as coach with his school St Luke's helping as well.
The games start on December 11.