Moffatt and Jackson to lead debutants to Glasgow17 April 2014
TRIATHLON: Olympians Emma Moffatt and Emma Jackson and a new breed of men will spearhead a six-strong triathlon team announced on the Gold Coast Friday by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association for the XXth Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Early nominations, dual Olympian Moffatt (QLD) and former Under 23 World Champion Aaron Royle (NSW) will be joined by London Olympian and former ITU Under 23 world champion Emma Jackson (QLD) and former ITU World Junior champion Ashleigh Gentle (QLD) in the women’s team. “Mr Persistence” Dan Wilson (QLD) and rising star Ryan Bailie (NSW) round out the men’s team.
Moffatt, 29, is very much the elder stateswoman of Australian triathlon, having won bronze in the 2008 Olympics and followed that with two ITU World Championships in 2009 and 2010.
She put her Commonwealth Games cards on the table in London last year with her stirring bronze medal performance to earn an early nomination onto her first Commonwealth Games team.
And she will again be the face of an exciting team that will represent the sport of triathlon for only the third time in the Commonwealth Games (previously contested in 2002 and 2006). In 2014 the standard Olympic distance will be raced and the four-person (two male and two female) Mixed Teams Relay, that will be show-cased at a Multi-Sport Games for the first time.
The Commonwealth Games will be Gold Coaster Moffatt’s main priority for her 2014 season.
“Making the Commonwealth Games has always been a dream and being in the crowd in Melbourne and watching Emma Snowsill and Brad (Kahlefeldt) win gold for Australia was such a great day,” said Moffatt.
“We have a wonderful tradition when it comes to Games triathlon and to be part of this Australian team with all the other sports will be such fun – I can’t wait.”
Joining Moffatt will be fellow 2012 Olympian, 22-year-old Jackson, who was 8th in London and who backed up to finish sixth in the 2013 ITU Grand Final in London and sixth overall in the World Triathlon Series (WTS).
After a stop-start beginning to 2014, Jackson finished 11th in the opening WTS round in Auckland recently which saw Moffatt seventh and Australia’s third Games representative Ashleigh Gentle 20th, after climbing back on to her bike after being left at the bottom of a spectacular bike crash.
For Gentle it will be a reward for her persistence in overcoming a nagging foot injury which has curtailed her performances over the past 12 months.
Australia’s men’s team showed their true colours in Auckland at the opening round of the ITU WTS Championships with top ranked male, 24-year-old Royle grabbing his first ever podium ahead of fellow Games representatives, 28-year Dan Wilson who was fourth and 23-year-old South African-born Bailie who was fifth.
For Royle and Bailie it is a reward for the work they have done together under innovative coach Jamie Turner with the growing Wollongong Wizards international group in the Illawarra.
Royle, Wilson and Bailie were also Australia’s best performed athletes at last year’s ITU World Championships in London – with Royle’s seventh gaining his automatic nomination; Wilson 18th and Bailie 28th.
Australia’s Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti spoke for the team when he said:
“Everyone on the Australian team is delighted to see triathlon back on the schedule for Glasgow 2014, particularly after our results in Manchester in 2002 and Melbourne in 2006 when both Emma Snowsill and Brad Kahlefeldt won the gold.
“Australia has been a world leader in the sport of triathlon since its inception and it is exciting to see a new group of future stars on this team for Glasgow. Triathlon’s return will be one of the major highlights of these Games.
“We are also delighted to have the Triathlon Teams Relay on this program which will be a first for a major Multi-Sport event.
“It is also great to be able to show-case Currumbin Beach for today’s announcement, one of the jewels in the Gold Coast crown, in the lead-up to the City’s 2018 Commonwealth Games.”