Fin Bowie is a talented young footballer and cricketer but it is in the challenging sport of triathlon that he really excels and has already won his age category in the Long Course Weekend in Tenby.

Sadly, Fin, who hails from Whitehill, between Carew and Cresselly, is currently sidelined after damaging the ACL joint in his knee, which means he will miss this year's event, but he is determined to be back for the next triathlon series, even fitter and stronger than ever.

Fin first damaged the meniscus in the knee in February, when he was playing for Carew and went up for a high ball against Milford United and twisted his knee as he landed awkwardly.

He had that fixed but then suffered the second, more serious damage to the same knee at the  end of May as he was kicking a rugby ball with some pals at Saundersfoot Sports Ground - and knew he had dome some serious damage because of the intense pain - and was soon on his way to hospital.

"At first I had to manage on crutches before a first operation in June," explained Fin, "followed by a proposed second op in August.

"It is very painful but I've just had to get on with it - and in the meanwhile I'm determined to build up my upper body strength and conditioning in the gym - and get back in the pool when I can because it will help develop my leg strength before I can return to really serious training."

It is that sort of commitment that has helped Fin produce his high standard in the triathlon; starting out as a raw novice after receiving a new road bike for his birthday in September.

He had already proved an accomplished cross-country runner in school so he decided to give triathlon a go, despite the fact that he had no formal training in swimming.

Within a month he entered his first 'Go-Tri' event in Haverfordwest and was delighted to finish in a creditable 15th place overall.

"So I joined Tenby Aces on their weekly bike rides that take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays - and they were really supportive as I built up my confidence and my endurance on a bike.

"My father Shaun and mum Emma have been totally supportive from the outset - and mum was a useful runner and swimmer so she helped me in the pool before I started being coached by Sarah Hicks at Tenby Leisure Centre. I also joined Tenby Sailing Club Dolphins to improve my swimming in open water at the North Beach, which was much colder than I thought it would be.

"From there I entered my first triathlon at Mumbles, in the junior category where the maximum age was 16.

"I was very nervous as we set off," admitted Fin, "but I made a great start by completing the 750-metre swim in 14 minutes.

"Then I cycled the 20 miles in 50 minutes on a fairly flat course and ran five kilometres in 18 minutes to win the junior event - and came in the top 30 overall."

Even better for Fin was his debut in the 'Long Course Weekend' at Tenby after his training had gone well - although the Friday-evening swim proved to be daunting because of the bad swell.

"I was lucky that I didn't suffer too much physical contact from other swimmers because I was in the first five from the outset and that's where I stayed to go into the 45-mile cycle run on  the Saturday to take on the tough challenge  of Wiseman's Bridge and Saundersfoot hills and finish in two hours and 27 minutes.

"I had tired legs for Sunday's 10K run but really enjoyed it as I registered a time of 39 minutes - and was absolutely thrilled when I learned I had won the junior category by 15 minutes!"

Outside of his triathlon, Fin also enjoys football after starting out as a six-year old with Tenby, where he joined other useful players like Billy Lawrence, Henry Macbeth and Max Brindley, whose father Alan was a good coach, in winning loads of trophies that culminated in success in the West Wales Cup.

"We played Landore Colts in the final at Stebonheath Park in Llanelli, and we drew 2-2 after extra time to set up the dreaded penalty shoot-out, where I was due to take the fourth spot kick.

"But luckily Max, Henry and Tim Hardy-Jones all scored and our keeper, Ollie Brown, made some brilliant saves so I wasn't needed,” admitted Fin with a chuckle!

Fin has also played cricket for Carew since he was 11 and played in two Ormond Cup Finals, as well as running middle distance races at Pembrokeshire Harriers with coach Peter Freeman.

"I've competed in multiple Welsh Championships in the 1,500 metres at Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff, with a fifth place as my best result, whilst in the Welsh Inter-Regional Championships in Swansea I picked up a silver and bronze, with a personal best time of 4 minutes 25 seconds."

It was a similar story in cross country because after coming eighth in the Welsh Finals at Brecon he competed for Wales in the SIAB Championships in Bolton and ended up 30th against the top runners from all over the UK.

All of this experience was to hold Fin in good stead for his competing in triathlon and in August he took part in his first 'Half Iron man' in The Cotswolds, where he completed the 1.2-mile open- air swim  in 31 minutes and followed up with a time of 2 hours, 35 minutes for the 56-mile cycle ride.

Then he ran the 13.1-mile half-marathon in 1 hour 35 minutes to be placed 50th overall out of 800+ competitors - but had the honour of being easily the winner of the junior category, despite being the youngest competitor in the event!

Fin also did well in another Go-Tri - this time at Fishguard but then came that injury so he has to wait to return to his demanding training schedule of:

Monday: Swim 1-1.5 miles in the sea at North Beach.

Tuesday: Shorter swim in the pool alongside some gym work.

Wednesday: Running with Tenby Aces, with some sprints and up to six-mile runs around the town.

Thursday: AM - swimming; PM 20-30 mile cycle with Tenby Aces.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: Long run (7-10 miles).

Sunday: Long bike ride around Pembrokeshire with Tenby Aces (45-60 miles).

It is a challenging programme that he knows will take total commitment but Fin Bowie is eagerly anticipating the moment when he can begin to build up to full fitness - and we wish this talented, but modest, sportsman a speedy return because he really does deserve to do well!