London Olympic hopeful Emma Jackson has given her Games selection chances an encouraging boost with an impressive win in the OTU Oceania Triathlon Championships in Devonport.
Jackson’s win ensures Australia can field a maximum three places for the London Olympics with the two vacant spots likely to be filled after the ITU World Championship Series opener in Sydney on April 14.
And 20-year-old Jackson, fourth in last year’s ITU World Championships, is hoping her performance today will see her join Australia’s pre-nominated selection “Beijing bronze medallist Emma Moffatt on the team.
Jackson put together an almost faultless display to win by 50 seconds in a day which saw an Australian trifecta with fellow Queenslander and former World Junior Champion Ashleigh Gentle coming from the chase pack on the bike to run into second with Victoria’s Beijing Olympian Erin Densham third.
It was Jackson who emerged from the swim with New Zealanders Nicky Samuels and Teresa Adam with Densham producing a vastly improved performance in the water after being well back in Geelong a fortnight ago at the Australian Sprint Championships.
Jackson, Densham, Samuel and Adam shared the workload in the lead pack with Gentle, and another young Australian Natalie van Coevorden and four other New Zealanders forming a well-organised chase pack.
Samuel, the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup winner from last year stole a march on Jackson, Densham and Adam on the final lap of the 40km bike course to open up a 40 second lead going into the 10km run.
But it wasn’t long before the determined Jackson swallowed her up on the picturesque Devonport foreshores course and as hard as the other Australian girls tried they could not peg Jackson back.
“I was determined to come to Devonport and put together my best race possible and to try and seal that place for Australia and I knew that if I did that then I would certainly do my own selection chances no harm either “that was the plan,” Jackson said.
“And I gave it absolutely everything I had “my swim was good, I tried to relax on the bike and work with the girls and I knew it would come down to run which is always my strong point.
“But running into the wind wasn’t easy and I was glad to see the finish line.”
Jackson will now by-pass the ITU World Cup in Mooloolaba and return alongside the other two Emmas “Moffatt and Olympic champion Emma Snowsill (who is training in South Africa) for the Sydney ITU round.