Triathlon Australia has named a mixture of â€˜old heads’ and exciting new talent in its nine-strong Elite Team for next month’s ITU World Championship Triathlon Grand Final in Beijing.
The women’s team will be led by 30-year-old Olympic champion, three-time World Champion Emma Snowsill and two-time and defending World Champion Emma Moffatt, at 26
The world’s best triathletes converge on the 2008 Olympic city for a week-long festival of triathlon sports that will culminate with the major elite events on September 9, 10 and 11.
Snowsill and Moffatt, who have wonderful memories of their gold and bronze medal winning performances in Beijing three years ago, will be joined on the Australian women’s team by the third member of â€œTeam Emmaâ€ â€“ fellow Queenslander Emma Jackson, at 20 and triathlon’s two Felicity’s â€“ Felicity Abram, 25 and Felicity Sheedy-Ryan at 26
The men’s team sees the return of 38-year-old former two-time world champion and Ironman king Chris McCormack to his eighth Australian team â€“ his first since 2002.
Joining McCormack in the experienced men’s team will be 32-year-old Beijing Olympians, Courtney Atkinson, who will line up in his ninth Australian team and Brad Kahlefeldt, who like â€œMaccaâ€ will represent on his eighth World Championship team.
Bringing down the age average is emerging 26-year-old Victorian Brendan Sexton, who has barnstormed his way into Olympic contention this year, with his breakthrough performances.
Triathlon Australia has also named a four-strong Under 23 team, with Queensland’s 2010 Junior World Champion Ashleigh Gentle joined by three exciting young men in Aaron Royle (NSW) Peter Kerr (Victoria) and Mitch Robins (NSW).
They will join the previously named Australian junior team of, Scott Llewellyn (NSW), Jack Hickey (NSW), Matt Brown (QLD), Natalie Van Coevorden (NSW), Ashlee Bailie (WA) and Tamsyn Moana-Veale (NSW) and over 170 Age Group representatives who will contest Olympic distance, sprint distance and Aquathon World Championships throughout the week.
Australia will also send a team of three for the increasingly popular Para-Triathlon World Championships â€“ including six-time Paralympian and six-time Paralympic gold medallist Michael Milton from the ACT, who will be joined by Tasmania’s wheelchair triathlete Bill Chaffey and Melbourne’s wheelie Matt Brumby.
Para-Triathlon will be included in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Australia’s National Head Coach Shaun Stephens is excited by the prospects of continuing Australia’s winning ways.
â€œOur women’s team have a terrific history at World Championships and with four of them currently sitting inside the top 15 on World Rankings (6 in the top 25), we are looking for the team to continue the tradition of winning,â€ said
â€œEmma Jackson has been going from strength to strength this year and is riding a wave of confidence heading into Beijing after three top five finishes in WCS races.
â€œShe is extremely excited about competing in her first Senior World Championship Grand Final after winning Gold at last year’s U23 World Championships.
â€œWhile Emma Snowsill and Emma Moffatt have had inconsistent years they are both big race performers and have shown glimpses of their previous dominating style of racing in the past two months.
â€œAfter a slow start to the year, Felicity Abram is also gaining fitness and consistency in her racing and the Beijing course will suit her style of racing, while Felicity Sheedy-Ryan has been racing consistently all season.â€
Stephens said he welcomed the re-call of McCormack onto the Australian team.
â€œIt is terrific to have Chris McCormack back representing Australia in the Olympic distance,â€ Stephens said.
â€œHe is an extremely professional and motivated athlete and his enthusiasm for competing is infectious.
â€œAfter a set-back with a hamstring tear, Chris has been rebuilding his run fitness and will be looking to consolidate on the solid performance he posted in Hamburg prior to the injury.
â€œEight-time representative Courtney Atkinson is joined by experienced big race performer in Kahlefeldt, who has represented Australia on seven previous occasions with three-time representative Sexton.â€
Stephens said the senior team would be missing one up and coming female talent in Ashleigh Gentle who will be racing in the U23 division.
â€œAfter winning gold at last year’s Junior World Championships, Ashleigh has gone on to place in the top 10 at the last two WCS races and will be a real contender for the U23 Title,â€ Stephens said.
The Australian Triathlon Team has been remarkably successful at previous World Championships and they are working hard to uphold Australia’s standing.
â€œWith the sport becoming increasing global and many countries throwing large amounts of money into the sport, sustaining success is becoming more and more of a challenge,â€ said Stephens.
â€œThe rise of athletes such as Emma Jackson and Ashleigh Gentle are proving Australia will remain very much at the forefront of the sport.
â€œWe still have work to do on the men’s side but we are implementing development programs in our States that will assist identifying and developing future stars.â€
Australian Team, 2011 ITU World Triathlon Championships, Beijing (August 9,10,11):
- Brad Kahlefeldt (NSW)
- Brendan Sexton (VIC)
- Courtney Atkinson (QLD)
- Chris McCormack (NSW)
- Emma Moffatt (QLD)
- Emma Snowsill (QLD)
- Emma Jackson (QLD)
- Felicity Abram (QLD)
- Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (WA)
- Aaron Royle (NSW)
- Peter Kerr (VIC)
- Mitch Robins (NSW)
- Ashleigh Gentle (QLD)
- Scott Llewellyn (NSW)
- Jack Hickey (NSW)
- Matt Brown (QLD)
- Natalie Van Coevorden (NSW)
- Ashlee Bailie (WA)
- Tamsyn Moana-Veale (NSW)
- Michael Milton (ACT)
- Matthew Brumby (VIC)
- Bill Chaffey (TAS)