LONON Olympic triathlon bronze medallist Erin Densham has today withdrawn from the Australian team for this month’s ITU World Triathlon Championship Grand Final in London.
Densham has struggled all season to get back into the kind of shape that saw her emerge as one of the dominant forces in women’s ITU Olympic distance racing in 2012, battling injury and illness along the way.
Triathlon Australia’s National Performance Manager Bernard Savage made the announcement in Vitoria, Spain today where Densham has been based with several other members of the Australian team.
â€œIt’s been a real battle all season for Erin to get back to where she was last year and although we were all confident, the last two weeks just haven’t been ideal,â€ said Savage.
â€œSo after much deliberation we decided it was in her long term best interests to withdraw her from the team.
â€œHer body took longer to recover from the illness she had after last year’s ITU World Championships and that curtailed her return to racing earlier in the ITU World Championship Series.
â€œShe actually wanted to race in London where she has so many great memories of last year and didn’t want to let the team down but after council from her support team and a number of conversations with me, Erin made the correct decision for her, which was to withdraw.
â€œWe want Erin Densham back to her best come the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, 2016 â€“ that’s the aim, so we will get her back to Australia for a full medical assessment and go from there.
â€œThere is no doubt she is not 100 percent and given where she’s come from medically in her career we believe it is best Erin doesn’t put herself into the pressure of a world championship decider when she’s not right.
â€œI’m sure Australia would like to see Erin Densham back to her best come the Olympics in three years time.
â€œIf she can make the team for Rio, which I am confident she can, it will be her third Olympic Games and that is something no other Australian triathlete has been able to achieve.
â€œErin Densham is a fierce competitor and withdrawing from London was not an easy decision for her but we all believe it is the right one.â€
Densham’s only major event this season saw her finish 10th in the ITU Edmonton World Cup sprint race in late June.
The 28-year-old was well up in the 750m swim and held her own on the 20km bike only to fade on the tough five km run which featured two testing hills.
It was a low key return for Densham and although pleased to see her back racing even Savage had his reservations.
â€œIt’s a start for Erin who I made quite clear to that she wasn’t to rush back into racing â€“ the next Olympics is still three years away,â€ Savage, said at the time from Edmonton.
â€œErin is among several of the leading girls who have struggled in one way or another after London.
â€œShe had an amazing year in 2012 and she doesn’t need to prove anything to anyoneâ€¦â€¦it was a matter of starting back and getting that first race under here belt to gage where she’s at.
â€œErin probably would have liked to have finished further up the ladder but she came into the race with no expectationsâ€¦â€¦.â€
Australia will still go into London with a distinguished Elite Women’s team headed by two-time Olympian, Beijing Olympic bronze medallist and two-time ITU World Champion Emma Moffatt, London Olympian Emma Jackson, World ranked number seven Ashleigh Gentle and world ranked number 10 Felicity Abram.
The Championships begin in and around the 2012 Olympic triathlon venue in Hyde Park on September 11 and run through until September 15 and will include Elite Men and Women; Under 23s; Juniors; Paratriathlon and Age Group Olympic Distance and Short Course.
MEMO MEDIA: Bernard Savage will be available for comment but as he is in Spain this week please send all inquiries to Ian Hanson (Media Manager, Triathlon Australia [email protected]; 0407 385160)
Australian Elite Triathlon Team 2013 ITU London World Triathlon Championships, London, September 11-15
Felicity Abram (QLD)
Ashleigh Gentle (QLD)
Emma Moffatt (QLD)
Emma Jackson (QLD)
Aaron Royle (NSW)
Ryan Bailie (NSW)
Cameron Good (NSW)
Dan Wilson (QLD)
Australian Under 23 Triathlon Team – 2013 ITU London World Triathlon Championships
Under 23 Women:
Natalie van Coevorden (NSW)
Charlotte McShane (NSW)
Tamsyn Moana-Veale (NSW)
Grace Musgrove (National Talent Academy, NSW)
Under 23 Men:
Declan Wilson (National Talent Academy, ACT)
Ryan Fisher (QAS, QLD)
Matt Brown (QAS, QLD)
Australian Junior Triathlon Team – 2013 ITU London World Triathlon Championships
Jodie Duff (National Talent Academy, QLD)
Holly Grice (QLD)
Jaz Hedgeland (National Talent Academy, WA)
Sophie Malowiecki (National Talent Academy QLD)
Jacob Birtwhistle (National Talent Academy, TAS)
Joel Tobin-White (VIS, VIC)
Luke Willian (QAS, QLD)
Reserve: Matt Baker (National Talent Academy, NSW)