Stunning performances from Richard Murray (RSA) and young Aussie Matt Hauser proved their Commonwealth Games preparations are on track for April, but it was the point to point breakthrough Mooloolaba World Cup win from Sydney’s Emma Jeffcoat that caught everyone’s imagination.
The former nationally ranked surf lifesaver and emergency care nurse from Dee Why Surf Club only made the switch to triathlon two years ago and she made good use of all her open water experience, dominating in the messy conditions of the 750 swim and setting herself up for her first World Cup win.
“I was a multiple national finalist in the surf across all three disciplines and won the 2km beach run a few times. I did a few triathlons and saw longevity and more potential for triathlon to take me on a worldwide journey and the long-term possibility to make an Olympic or Commonwealth Games team. So I made the switch.”
“I am stoked with this win and I don’t think you will have to wipe the smile off my face. I definitely wanted to race hard, attack from the front and use the surf to my advantage. There was a strong current sweeping right to left across the bank and there were waves breaking right on that bank, so it can be challenging for girls not used to racing in the surf. I was lucky I grew racing as a lifesaver so it was to my advantage.”
“I was really happy to go point to point. The wind was really strong on the bike course so on the first lap I could see that the girls were closing in and I sat up and waited to ride with the bunch. We rolled through turns and I knew it was going to be a foot race. I have been working hard on my run trying to be more efficient and racing smarter, so I really wanted to show that.”
“I am kind of new to the sport. My first ever World Cup was Mooloolaba in 2016 and I came 23rd, then I came fourth here last year and that really hurt. So on the run, I said ‘I am not coming fourth today’. It is my first ever World Cup podium, so I am thrilled to win with mum and dad and a lot of people from home here. I am stoked,” Emma said.
World number four South Africa’s Richard Murray put a tough week behind him and showed all the class he is renowned for, controlling proceedings in tough conditions and against fierce competition to set up his first ever win on the Sunshine Coast.
“I didn’t get that much sleep this week with all the jet lag and stuff but I had a good swim despite being worried about the sore shoulder from the crash in Abu Dhabi. I could feel it in the swim and couldn’t push as much as I wanted to but I still managed to come out in contention. On the bike, I managed to get myself to the front of the race by the top of the hill which was a good sign. Overall I felt really strong on the bike and all in all it was a good race.”
“I could feel the effort of last week a tiny bit on the run and Matty Hauser and they were definitely keeping me in their sights and never gave up. So I was just making sure how Matt was going, which was flat out, so I turned on the pace a little bit coming down the hill and managed to stay away from him. I probably could have squeezed a few more seconds out on the run if I really wanted to but it wasn’t an easy win. I had to work for it for sure which is what I need three weeks out from the Commonwealth Games. With my second place in 2014, a Mooloolaba win has been one of the racing hanging there, so it is good to finally win here,” Murray said.
Aussie youngster Matt Hauser kept Murray honest right to the line and with his second place win against genuine elite company confirmed his talent and showed his Commonwealth Games preparation is right on track.
“It was a very good day and I think everything went to plan. It was a tough swim with the conditions but I think I handled myself well. I stayed tight and safe in the bike pack and managed to leave something in the end for the run. On the run I knew I had to stay focused and comfortable and run my own race. I almost got Richard on the downhill but he kicked away.”
“I am really happy to come away with second. This is only my second World Cup and getting the win in Chengdu and second here is very encouraging. It is only onwards and upwards from here in 2018.”
“My grandma is here from the Sunshine Coast, my pop has come down from Burrum Heads and my parents are here as well which is great. I am very blessed to have that support and encouragement and to see them when I am on the podium is very heartwarming,” Hauser said.