Moffatt, Royle take top honours
3 November 2013
TRIATHLON: Australian duo Emma Moffatt and Aaron Royle turned dominant run legs into victories at the Noosa Triathlon on Sunday.
Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Moffatt outpaced defending Noosa champion and close friend Ashleigh Gentle on the concluding run to win the women's race in one hour 58 minutes and 41 seconds.
Gentle was second in 1:59:02 and two time half-ironman world champion Melissa Hauschildt was third in 2:01:42.
Royle, the under-23 world champion, broke through for his first major victory in the senior ranks.
He was part of a lead pack of seven entering the run leg before breaking away to win in 1:46:11 ahead of countrymen Dan Wilson (1:46:52) and Ryan Bailie (1:46:59) in the 31st edition of the iconic Olympic-distance event.
Both Moffatt and Royle have already qualified for next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with the remaining four vacancies on the Australian squad to be decided early next year.
Moffatt looking forward to Glasgow Games
With her spot on the Australian team for next year's Commonwealth Games already assured, triathlete Emma Moffatt can start planning her campaign for Glasgow gold in earnest.
Moffatt claimed the first of three vacancies for the Glasgow Games with her impressive third-placed finish at September's ITU world grand final in London - burying the ghost of her 2012 Olympic crash on the same course in the process.
And the 29-year-old has held her form and fitness through until early November, giving her a great chance on Sunday to add a first Noosa Triathlon title to a glittering resume in her final race of 2013.
In her only previous senior outing in Noosa, Moffatt finished second to countrywoman Emma Snowsill in 2008 - a couple of months after claiming bronze behind gold medallist Snowsill at the Beijing Olympics.
"Beijing is still definitely the highlight of my career," Moffatt said on Friday.
"I just have amazing memories from '08, sharing it with Snowy who got the gold.
"It was pretty incredible and I don't think any amount of world championships will beat an Olympic medal."
Two years earlier, Moffatt was in the crowd watching another of Snowsill's triumphs at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
The sport was dropped from the program for the 2010 Games in New Delhi before being resurrected for Glasgow.
"It is definitely not one of those Commonwealth events where you're just going to turn up and get a medal," said Moffatt.
"You've got to work really hard because the other countries who are there are also very strong countries in triathlon.
"Unlike the other Australian girls I don't have to peak in March and April and fight it out for the last two spots so it's a massive weight off my shoulders.
"It's something you have to use in your favour."
Moffatt made Noosa a priority early this year when she decided to contest more non-drafting events.