FORMER national long distance champion Bimlesh Kumar departed Fiji on Tuesday to compete in the Oceania Masters Championship in Australia which will be held next week.
The Jet Runners Club official/athlete will represent the country in an international event after a lapse of 12 years.
Club president Abinesh Kumar said they were proud of Bimlesh for paying for his own air fares for the trip.
"He last ran for Fiji in the 2001 Mini South Pacific Games where he won a bronze medal in the 10,000 metres event," Kumar said.
"At the age of 38, he will once again fly the flag for the country and he even paid $5000 for the trip all by himself."
The head of the PEMAC department at Korovuto College in Nadi will compete in the 1500m, 5000m, 8000m and cross country races.
"He will be competing against the best runners of the Pacific and other parts of the world.
"The former Fiji long distance rep has set a platform to encourage people of his age and motivate the young generation of our club and country. We would like to wish him all the best in the competition."
Meanwhile, Kumar says the club will host its new year's 5km race this Saturday at the U Save Supermarket in Votualevu.
"Registration begins at 6.30am and the race will begin at 7.30am."