Triathlon royalty ready to stampede streets of London12 September 2013
TRIATHLON: Just over 12 months after Erin Densham produced her awe-inspiring Olympic bronze medal around the royal triathlon course of Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park the famous pavements will again grace the world’s finest athletes.
A total of 460 of Australia’s fittest athletes will stampede through the streets of the 2012 Olympic city for the ITU World Triathlon Championships.
It will be a week long celebration of Multi-Sport that will see world champions crowned in a myriad of age groups and events and for the Elites after a rigorous eight-stop ITU World Championship Series that began in Auckland in April.
It will culminate in the two Elite finals – the Women on Saturday and the Men’s race on Sunday and for the seven Australian Elites – three women Emma Moffatt, Emma Jackson and Ashleigh Gentle and four men – Aaron Royle, Ryan Bailie, Cameron Good and Dan Wilson there is added incentive.
An automatic place on the 2014 Australian Commonwealth Games Team for Glasgow is the carrot dangled by the Triathlon Australia selectors for the first Australian in the Top Eight in the Men’s and Women’s Elite Races.
“They are up for it, that’s for sure, it is going to produce some great racing,” says Triathlon Australia’s Performance Director Bernard Savage.
“From what I have seen of these guys in their training camps in Spain and in France and during the ITU World Series there is no reason why we can’t have one automatic qualifier in each race.
“It is certainly going to add that little bit of extra spice for both races.”
The Australian Elite women’s team has lost Densham and ten-year team veteran Felicity Abram in the lead up to London but will still be well represented by “two Olympic Emmas” – Moffatt and Jackson who will carry the Emma tradition into these world championships.
Of the 24 ITU World Championships contested in the Elite women’s category – 13 have been won by Australians – and seven of those to three Emmas – Emma Carney in 1994 and 1997; Emma Snowsill in 2003, 2005 and 2006 and Emma Moffatt in 2009 and 2011.
And the most celebrated of all the Emmas – 2008 Olympic champion Snowsill, will again be centre stage when she comes into the Australian camp in Kensington (Wednesday, London time) to present the race uniforms to the 2013 Australian team.
But the tradition of these world championships has probably been best summed up by the only non-Emma in the Australian Elite women’s team – Gold Coaster Ashleigh Gentle, who says it is a privilege to be selected to represent Australia at an Elite World Championships.
“It is something which I am very proud and honoured to do. We have a rich history and I want to be a part of the new generation to continue the legacy which has been set before us,” said Gentle.
The former ITU World Junior champion has emerged as an athlete most likely to challenge the Rankings leaders after a consistent season sees her in seventh place, just ahead of the in-form Moffatt with Jackson, after a slow start, hitting her straps to be sitting in 19th.
Competition got underway Wednesday (London time) with the Aquathlon events from Elite to Age Groupers and Paratriathletes with competitors to cover a one kilometre swim and a five kilometre run in and around The Serpentine Lake.
Thursday will see the Under 23s and Juniors hit the beat with Queenslander Ryan Fisher determined to repeat the 2012 Under 23 World Championship victory of team mate and Elite team member for 2013, Aaron Royle.
“My expectation is pretty simple, I want to win,” said Fisher. “Last year I was close but so far at the same time.
“Finishing 5th (to Aaron) in the World Championships has given me the confidence and belief that with another year of preparation I could come back and win the race.
“Racing on the Olympic course will be a real privilege and I'm excited.”
Brisbane’s outstanding prospect, Sophie Malowiecki at 16 is the baby of the Australian team, receiving a last minute call up into the ITU Junior field giving Australia a team of four girls
Talented Tasmanian Jacob Birtwhistle will add another Australian tracksuit to his growing collection after representing Athletics Australia in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships earlier in the year in Poland.Birtwhistle also started 2013 with a win at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney.