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Albion triathlete Tim's biggest test; WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Hawthorns osteopath in Surfer's Paradise event.

Byline: Chris Henwood

THE Coca-Cola Championship is renowned for being a gruelling campaign - but even Baggies players are sparing a thought for club osteopath Tim Pepper.

The 46-year-old is an established nationallevel triathlete and has qualified to represent Great Britain at this year's World Championships.

Pepper, from Burntwood, has flown out to Australia for the competition, which was taking place in Surfer's Paradise, Queensland, today. He was competing in the over-45 category and faced a gruelling one-mile sea swim, 25-mile bike ride and six-mile run - with no rest breaks.

Pepper, a private practitioner who tends to the players' back and pelvis problems, said: "I was honoured to make the team and was looking forward to coming to Australia and competing."

Pepper's preparations for the World Championships were hampered by a groin problem earlier this year. But he thanked his colleagues on the club's medical staff for overseeing his recovery in time for the qualifiers - and said he was in great shape. "I had surgery for a sportsman's groin - a common problem with many footballers - back in March," Pepper added. "But the club's medical team were fantastic and helped me back to full fitness in no time.

"Without the help of physios Richie Rawlins and Steve Wright, plus doctor Kevin Conod, I doubt I would have recovered to make the qualifying races."

Midfielder Chris Brunt said the whole squad would be rooting for Pepper today. "They say a football season is only a marathon - so we've got nothing on Tim the triathlete," the Northern Ireland international said.

CAPTION(S):

Off and running: West Bromwich Albions osteopath Tim Pepper gets in some training with Albion star Chris Brunt. Picture: Iain Findlay
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 12, 2009
Words:279
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