Snowsill and Atkinson return for world championship race.
Finally, this weekend, after almost a year in waiting, Triathlon Australia’s high performance team can unleash its top flight arsenal of stars in a world championship event.
Saturday’s race in Seoul, Korea, the second of the 2010 Dextro Energy
Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, marks the first time Australia
has been able to field it’s leading athletes in the same event since
the first half of last year’s international season.
Beijing Olympic gold medallist Emma Snowsill will race for the first time since June last year after overcoming hip surgery and a virus, while fellow Olympian Courtney Atkinson returns having been forced to withdraw from the ITU world championship series opener in Sydney last month due to a virus that saw him suffer significant weight loss.
The decorated pair join reigning world champion Emma Moffatt and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Brad Kahlefeldt on the start line.
â€œIt’s just great to have our top four contingent back together again,â€ said Triathlon Australia’s head coach Shaun Stephens. â€œThey’re all fit, happy and healthy and that’s a big plus for us considering it has been almost a year since we’ve been able to get them all on the start line. It makes for a good feel in the squad, so the mood is positive and we’re all looking forward to the weekend.â€
Snowsill and Moffatt are at different stages in respective comebacks. Snowsill is simply looking to â€œblow out the cobwebsâ€ after an extensive lay-off, while Moffatt should be firing on all cylinders, having raced to finish a close third in Sydney despite a severely disrupted preparation courtesy of a broken shoulder less than two months out from the race.
â€œWe expect Moffat to be in strong shape,â€ Stephens said. â€œIn Sydney, given her injury, she was obviously concerned about her swim, but hopefully here she can comfortably cement herself in the front pack early and be free to concentrate on the back end of the race.
â€œSnowy is just a real racer. She’s been out for a long time and I don’t think she’s looking for a (podium) position here, but just by nature of the way she races it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her in the mix. Honestly, though, she’s just happy to be back racing â€“ that’s her job, that’s her profession and she loves it.â€
Atkinson was similarly thankful. The Queenslander picked up a debilitating virus over summer and pushed his body to the limit to race in the Mooloolaba World Cup in March, but a slow recovery meant he had no option but to miss the series opener in Sydney.
â€œSkipping Sydney was certainly the right decision for me in terms of getting some consistency back into my life and my training,â€ he said. â€œI don’t know how things will pan out here in Seoul, but I’m healthy and that’s the main thing. I’ve been back to the grind of putting in some long sessions in this early part of the season, so everything at least feels normal again!â€
DEXTRO ENERGY TRIATHLON â€“ ITU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
RACE 2: SEOUL, KOREA, SATURDAY, MAY 8
AUSTRALIAN ELITE TEAM
WOMEN: 11am AEST
Emma Moffatt (Qld)
Emma Snowsill (Qld)
Emma Jackson (Qld)
Felicity Abram (Qld)
Erin Densham (Vic)
Keira Pride (Qld)
MEN: 2pm AEST
Brad Kahlefeldt (NSW)
Courtney Atkinson (Qld)
Peter Robertson (NSW)
James Seear (Qld)
Dan Wilson (Qld)
Gareth Halverson (Vic)
David Matthews (NSW)