Hockey great Mark Knowles has used a visit to Mount Isa to say kids should not be afraid to follow their sporting dreams, despite Mount Isa's remote location.
The 35-year-old Knowles is the captain of the Kookaburras national team and is an Olympic hockey gold medal winner from the Athens Olympics in 2004 so knows a thing or two about how to achieve dreams.
He was in Mount Isa as a Glencore Great Western Games ambassador and also to give hockey clinics to junior players.
Knowles spoke at the Games opening ceremony which was hosted by Mount Isa Hockey and the Rockhampon-born player had the good humour to laugh when accidentally introduced as "one of Mount Isa's own".
"I am one of Mount Isa's own this weekend," Knowles said.
"I have to be careful when I say I grew up in a small country town, Rockhampton,
"It's got 90,000 people so it's not that small when I'm out here."
However Knowles said he felt at home in Mount Isa.
"I'm a hockey player, I've played my whole life and for the hockey people here now, I grew up playing on grass," he said.
"I played on grass until I was 13 years old and I went on to play for Australia at four Olympic Games, four Commonwealth Games and become the third highest capped player of all time."
And he had a message to the youngsters present.
"To young regional-based athletes, I want you all to understand, you can absolutely do it," he said.
"Don't let anyone tell you you can't achieve something that's pretty amazing.
Knowles said the message was true for all other sports.
"I'm a passionate sports lover. I'm all about healthy and active lifestyle and getting out in the bush. Enjoy what you do and have discipline and respect for those around you".
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