A SPORTS-mad dad is set to represent his country when heads to the Netherlands to take part in a triathlon.

Phil Wallis, from Highwoods, Colchester, will wear a Great Britain top with pride when he takes on an Olympic length triathlon at Weert in Holland in June.

The 41-year-old, who works in the leisure centre business, has qualified for the 2019 European Triathlon Championships.

It will see him take on a 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run.

Phil took up the sport six years ago after a knee injury forced him to stop playing football.

He said: “I got into it about six years ago and took it up with my brother and some friends for a bit of a laugh.

“I got a bit more serious and joined a club in January 2017.”

Three weeks ago he got an email to say he had qualified to represent GB.

“It had been something I had wanted to achieve since I got into the sport,” he said.

“It was my goal and it had taken a lot of hard work but it was incredible to qualify.”

Phil said he was inspired to succeed in the competition by his wife, Fiona, and five-year-old twins.

“There is a lot of training and I work full time,” he said.

“My family have been incredibly supportive.

“I’ve been getting up at 5am in the morning to train and doing long bike rides so I can spend the weekend with them.”

Phil said the fitness needed to take on a triathlon is incredible.

He said: “I had played a lot of football and thought I was quite fit but after the first triathlon I thought maybe I wasn’t as fit.

“It is three fairly basic skills - swimming, cycling and running - but when you put them together it is much more challenging.”

Phil, who is a member at the Tri-Spoke Triathlon Club in Colchester, will spend the next six months training in preparation for the event.

He will compete in the 40 to 44-year-old age group category at the event in June.