The Triathlon team to compete at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games was named today by the NZOC at the Tri NZ National High Performance Centre in Cambridge.
Tom Davison (Christchurch), Tony Dodds (Wanaka), Andrea Hewitt (Christchurch), Kate McIlroy (Wellington) and Ryan Sissons (Auckland), were announced today by Kereyn Smith, NZOC General Secretary for the individual events and Nicky Samuels (Wanaka) was named as reserve for the Mixed Team Relay.
All will compete in their respective individual events in Glasgow with Hewitt, McIlroy, Sissons and Dodds making up the likely Mixed Team Relay as incumbent World Championship silver medallists, and the Relay on the programme for the first time at a Commonwealth Games.
Triathlon New Zealand High Performance Director Graeme Maw congratulated the five athletes on their inclusion in the team and spoke of the high expectations that are driven by the athletes in their approach to training and racing every day.
â€œWe have no illusions of the challenge we face in Glasgow, just over a week ago 4 of the 6 podium spots in the Auckland World Series were claimed by Commonwealth athletes.
â€œHowever, we are pleased to have been able to select a tight team constructed to target medals. Andrea and Ryan have shown they can be competitive, and along with Kate and Tony give us a proven combination in the Mixed Team Relay; Tom thrilled us all with his performance in Auckland, and gives us options in the increasingly common practise of team support. The selection was no easy process, and reflects the need to be smart as well as fit as the sport continues to progress.â€
Andrea Hewitt was delighted to hear her name confirmed by the NZOC and is setting tough targets personally and for the team as she contemplates a second Games appearance.
â€œWe have a great opportunity to bring home two medals in the team and individual events. It will be tough with so many great triathletes coming from the Commonwealth countries but the Commonwealth Games is my focus this season.
â€œI remember Melbourne eight years ago very well, it was the first year of my career, I have a lasting memory sprinting for bronze in front of family and friends. My parents and Aunties from England will be in Glasgow this time cheering us on.
â€œI’m really looking forward to being part of the TriNZ team in Glasgow. Racing with Kate and supporting Ryan, Doddsy, and Tom. The team racing brings an exciting dynamic which is great. Racing for each other is a great feeling; I can’t wait to be a part of it.â€
Sissons was humbled at being named to his first Commonwealth Games.
â€œIt’s a great honour to be named in the New Zealand team for Glasgow. Since London 2012 it has been my goal to make the team, it has been a lot of hard training and planning, and I am very happy to be named in the team, but the work for Glasgow has only just begun.â€
Sissons also referenced the recently restructured HP Programme and the benefits he is starting to see as a result.
â€œI love the new HP programme. I really wanted to make it happen and work not only for me but the younger generations coming through. I think TriNZ has done a great job through this transition stage and I know with a little fine tuning it’s going to only get better.â€
Kate McIlroy has endured a hard road back to racing after off-season surgery on her heels and now that dedication has its initial reward.
â€œIt’s a huge honour to be named in the New Zealand team for the Commonwealth Games. It has been a tough six months to get back on the start line and I am incredibly proud to be back racing. Glasgow has been the main driver to get me back running, so I am very happy to have the first goal ticked off my list.â€
McIlroy is also looking towards the Mixed Team Relay with huge anticipation and while selection has now been achieved, the Wellington triathlete makes it clear simply being there is not enough.
â€œI absolutely love being involved in team racing. It is the most exciting and intense racing I have ever been involved in. Winning the World Champs silver medal last year was a massive highlight and showed how good we are as a team. If we can all perform at our best on the day, we have a real chance to be standing on top of the podium.
Tony Dodds (Wanaka) is heading to his first Games and can’t wait.
â€œIt’s a huge honour making the team, it is a huge stepping stone for me, and this will be my biggest experience to date. It has been a long wait for me, I have been doing this for nearly nine years and haven’t had too much to show for it, but I have been very persistent and I hope that it will show through in Glasgow.â€
Dodds missed the recent Auckland WTS event with a fractured elbow but believes that in his best form, a medal is within reach.
â€œWe have been over the course, we know what it’s like and we know the likely make up of the other countries teams so have an idea as to the different ways the race might pan out. It’s a very tough course and should suit us well. There’s a few things I need to keep under control and tick off this year along the way to know I’m on the right track but I know I can be there and I want to have that dream race.â€
Tom Davison reflected on a huge amount of hard work that has gone in to his return to ITU racing and now a shot at the Games.
â€œIt’s a huge honour to represent your country in any race; to do it at a Commonwealth Games is unreal. A lot of work has gone into making the team.
â€œMy parents are my biggest supporters so they were obviously over the moon. To make this team for them is my biggest motivator as they have supported me through thick and thin. Dad’s response summed it up, he just shouted â€˜you have made my year, you bloody beauty’, that was a great moment, but for me now the hard work is just beginning.â€
Davison has been out of the HP Programme for just over a year but spoke of the dramatic changes in that time.
â€œHaving been away from the High Performance Programme for a year, I can see the changes. The squad has a good feel to it and the team vibe has a good feel. This group that has been selected all get along and most of us have been through the majority of our careers together. Personally I couldn’t have asked to go to a Commonwealth Games with a better team of people.â€
Triathlon Team for Glasgow Commonwealth Games
Andrea Hewitt, Christchurch,
Kate McIlroy, Wellington
Tom Davison, Christchurch
Tony Dodds, Wanaka
Ryan Sissons, Auckland
Reserve, Mixed Team Relay
Nicky Samuels, Wanaka