A WATERFORD-born former Irish International soccer player has completed a gruelling cycling expedition across the rugged Tibetan plateau.
By doing so, Martin Dunphy - who was team leader of a six-strong group - has helped raise an impressive $60,000 for child nutrition in Tibet.
However, he also completed the 15-day 900-km journey with the handicap of a dislocated finger and sprained ankle which he picked up along the trip.
Martin, who remains a regular visitor to the city, is now managing director of a company called Marlin Capital Europe who are based in London.
Back in 1982, he was a member of the first Irish soccer team (schoolboys) - along with other local lads Anthony Kelly and Brian Foley - to win an international competition, notably the European Championship in France.
The aim of the cycling expedition, which began on July 30, was to raise money to provide five greenhouses for a minimum of five primary schools in Western Sichuan catering for at least 800 children.
The climate is far too cold to grow most vegetables in the open air but with the greenhouses - which will last at least 10 years - a generation of Tibetan children will be able to eat more nutritious food than the barley and butter-tea to which they’ve become accustomed.
“It all went extremely well and despite the injuries I picked up we completed the 900km on time and in good spirits,” said Martin Dunphy.
“Lots of Chinese media pickedup on what we were doing and ran pieces on it, including Beijing Radio. The fundraising went fantastic and the final figure looks set to exceed $60,000 (our target was $35,000) and we’ll be able to build more greenhouses as a result.”
A keen all-round sportsman, Martin Dunphy was educated at De La Salle College with whom he played an All-Ireland final in Gaelic football.
After his fantastic achievements as a schoolboy, he received an athletics scholarship to the US where he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing at George Mason University in Virginia.
In addition to being one of the founders of Marlin Capital Europe, the dad-of-three who’s married to Teri, is a founding member of Marlin Financial Services in the UK.