Mooloolaba Beach for the Queensland Under 15 Ironman. Grant Harris wins. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Mooloolaba Beach for the Queensland Under 15 Ironman. Grant Harris wins. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily john mccutcheon

Matthew Barclay name lives on through friend Grant Harris

KURRAWA young gun Grant Harris admits Matthew Barclay always had a bigger heart than him.

But there was no doubting he did his former rival and friend proud when he took home the trophy named in Matthew's memory at the Queensland Surf Life Saving Championships at Mooloolaba yesterday.

Grant looked as if he had a will of steel as he led from start to finish in the under-15 ironman final.

Surf Life Saving Queensland renamed the state under-15 ironman title the Matthew Barclay Memorial Trophy as a tribute to the Maroochydore youngster who lost his life in big surf at last year's Australian championships.

Grant dedicated his win to Matthew with whom he formed a friendship after years of crossing paths on the beach. They were fierce competitors since nippers and battled it out for ironman gold on several occasions.

When Matthew won the under-14 Junior Coolangatta Gold title in 2011, Grant was in the chasing pack.

The respect Grant held for Matthew was revealed when he was asked if his former adversary would have been nipping at his heels had he been alive to contest yesterday's race.

"He was always better than me," Grant said. "He had a bigger heart than what I had. He probably would have beaten me."

"...I did it for him today."

Matthew's father Stephen presented Grant with the trophy. He described it as a touching tribute and could not think of a more fitting winner than Grant.

Mr Barclay described his son as a focused young man who set himself goals from a tender age.

He said Matthew had four aims in surf life saving - the junior Coolangatta Gold, the state surf title and the state and Australian ironman titles. While Matthew did not live to achieve the last three, Mr Barclay said it meant a lot to his family that their son's name lived on with the under-15 ironman trophy.

"(Grant and Matthew) were competitors since they were young but we formed a good friendship with Grant's family," he said.

"We got to know them over the years because the boys always seemed to be competing against each other. They just formed that bond. Kids that are always racing against each other, that's what happens."

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