Why it matters: Six Australian Elite triathletes, including Olympians Emma Jackson, Jaz Hedgeland, and Jake Birtwhistle, gear up to compete in Sunderland’s World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS), viewed as a preparatory step towards next month’s Olympic Test Event in Paris.
Setting the pace: The Australian team is opting for WTCS Sunderland to set the pace for the forthcoming Paris Olympic Test Event. These triathletes are primarily aiming for a top-eight finish in Paris or in the WTCS Grand Final in Spain, which would secure an automatic nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee for 2024.
What they're saying
- "It will be perfect timing to reacquaint myself with WTCS racing ahead of the Paris Olympic Test Event - my key focus of the 2023 season,” Charlotte McShane.
- “Finding my groove again after a few underwhelming performances has given me confidence physically and mentally to line up against a world-class field," McShane on her preparation.
- "I believe she is improving with every week in training. Char has some real confidence for Sunderland and also wants a spot in the MTR- there is no hiding from that, Char is going to Sunderland with one thing in mind - compete with the world's best," Dan Atkins, Coach.
By the numbers
- Six: Number of Australian Elite triathletes taking part in Sunderland’s WTCS.
- Eight: Position a triathlete needs to finish in either Paris or the WTCS Grand Final in Spain to secure an automatic nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee for 2024.
- Two: Number of competitions where athletes can secure a nomination, the Paris event and the WTCS Grand Final.
Between transition: While some team members like Matt Hauser, Natalie Van Coevorden, and Sophie Linn will bypass Sunderland, it is nonetheless seen as a crucial part of the road to the Olympics for the participating athletes.
Through Time: McShane's recent performances, including a fourth-place finish in the Huatulco World Cup in Mexico and a tenth-place finish in the Tiszaujvaros World Cup in Hungary, indicate a resurgence in form that she will hope to carry into the Sunderland race.
The bottom line: The Sunderland event will serve as a vital test for Australia's Elite triathletes. Their performance could secure a top-eight finish, ensuring automatic nomination for the 2024 Olympics, making the competition a key stepping stone to the grandest stage of all.