December 14, 2011:Â Christmas has come early for Australian Triathlon’s â€œfirst coupleâ€ Emma Moffatt and Brad Kahlefeldt following their early nomination by Triathlon Australia to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) for selection in the 2012 Australian Olympic Team.
Their nomination is subject to ongoing form and fitness, with their place on the 2012 Australian Olympic Team to be confirmed in June 2012.
Triathlon Australia nominated Moffatt and Kahlefeldt under the discretionary early nomination clause of the Triathlon Australia Nomination Criteria, following the pair’s outstanding results over the past three years.
Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Moffatt and fellow 2008 Olympian, boyfriend Kahlefeldt have been nominated to compete at the 2012 London Olympic Games, the fourth time the sport will be featured in the Olympic arena since its debut in Sydney in 2000.
Australia is still in contention to qualify up to six athletes, three women and three men, with more nominations expected after early races during the ITU World Championship Series which kicks off again in 2012 in Sydney (April 14 and 15).
Following several meetings of the Triathlon Australia Elite Selection Committee (TAESC) both Moffatt and Kahlefeldt received the unanimous vote of approval from the Triathlon Australia Board for early nomination to the AOC.
The TAESC were convinced the pair had fulfilled the nomination criteria, including their performances in key international events over the past three years, since January 1, 2009.
Moffatt, who finished with a bronze medal to fellow Australian, Olympic gold medallist Emma Snowsill in Beijing, was a two-time ITU World Champion in 2009 and 2010, having won five ITU World Championship Series (WCS) races, also notching up 13 ITU WCS podium finishes.
Chair of Selectors Dr Michelle Gallen said today: â€œEmma Moffatt has been the most consistent top 10 female performer during the selection period to date.
â€œEmma consistently shows the mental capability to race and perform in major ITU International races. She is a key athlete within the Triathlon Australia High Performance National Program and consistently displays team concepts.â€
â€œDuring the 2011 ITU WCS season Moffatt finished in the top 15 in seven of the ITU Series events, including three where she finished in the top five, also securing a win in Hamburg.â€
Since January 1, 2009, Kahlefeldt notched one ITU WCS race win, had four ITU WCS podium finishes and finished 3rd overall in 2010 ITU WCS.
â€œBrad has shown that he is a strong international performer who maintains an excellent, consistent performance level and plays a major leadership role in Triathlon Australia’s National Program. His current form includes four top 15 finishes in ITU WCS races, including two top five finishes and a win in Hamburg,â€ said Dr Gallen.
Moffatt said that knowing she had secured early nomination for London would make it â€œthat much easierâ€ to get out of bed every morning to go training.
â€œIt is pretty special to know you are preparing for your second Olympics and mentally that’s a big thing more than anything else,â€ said Moffatt.
â€œIt is going to be important to stay fresh, injury free and healthy in the lead up to London and if I can go to the Olympics next year and achieve another podium finish then that would be fantastic.
â€œThe Olympics will certainly be a wide open race. In recent times it has not been dominated by just one person. There are lots of girls in the running and you never know what happens on the day. I just have to make sure I’m in the best possible shape when race day arrives.
â€œThe big thing for me is getting my confidence back. After winning Olympic bronze in 2008, I went into 2009 and 2010 with my confidence sky high but I lost confidence through 2011.
â€œI need to get that back and I know it hasn’t been my best year but I am looking forward to the Olympic preparation and racing in Mooloolaba and Sydney next year.
â€œI love racing at home and that just might be the confidence booster I need.
â€œThere is no doubt that the Beijing Olympics provided the highlight of my career so far and I’m looking forward to that experience being bigger and better.â€
Kahlefeldt says he can’t wait for the â€œOlympic challenge of Londonâ€ and said the opportunity to gain early nomination was a case of going back to the old days of peaking for a big result on one day.
â€œI love a good challenge and chasing Britain’s Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan is probably the greatest challenge there is in world triathlon at the moment,â€ said Kahlefeldt.
â€œThe Brownlees have raised the bar for the rest of us but they are beatable and I know where I have to improve to put myself in the race.
â€œIt was like when I started to dominate and Javier Gomez came along â€“ now it’s the Brownlees.
â€œI’m not afraid of racing them and I am always looking for ways to improve and searching for different styles of training and those little one percenters.
â€œMy swim has improved over the past 12 months and I have felt fresh coming off the bike but I know I have to find 20 seconds or more on the run.
â€œEarly nomination and the focus on August next year was always the goal. It allows you to focus on one day next August and for me that was always the goal.
â€œThe whole Olympic experience of a multi-sport event in Beijing was incredible, mixing with so many famous athletes is not something we get to do all the time. The atmosphere is really enjoyable.â€
Kahlefeldt will continue his base training until he kick-starts his racing program at the Australian Sprint Championships in Geelong on February 13 and 14, before the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup (March 24 and 25) and the possibility of the opening ITU WCS in Sydney on April 14 and 15.
The Olympic Triathlon will be held on August 4 (Women) and August 5 (men).
Issued on behalf of Triathlon Australia.