Victorian Brendan Sexton, inspired by Craig Mottram’s 5000m win in Melbourne last week, has produced a win of his own in Devonport today that could well see him join his hero on the London Olympic team.
Sexton ran away from the field to win the OUT Oceania Triathlon Championship leaving New Zealand’s Beijing Olympian Kris Gemmell second and emerging young Australian Aaron Royle third in a race that was never part of his original Olympic planning.
The 22-year-old had to withdraw from the Australian Sprint Championship in Geelong a fortnight ago after his bike seat worked its way loose so he needed to find a race “Devonport opened its doors and Sexton waltzed straight through them in a very impressive performance.
But his win has not only played a part in helping Australia take another step towards securing an all-important third spot on the team for London in the Oceania selection process but also kept his name very much up in lights.
Sexton’s win was all-important and as a nation it sees Australia move from seventh to fourth on the National teams pointrscore although there will still be some anxious moments. The Australian men will still have to fight tooth and nail to ensure they stay in the top eight on team points to lock away a third spot, with Gemmell (second) and Tony Dodds (fourth) keeping the Kiwis in the pointscore mix.
Australia’s Beijing Olympian Courtney Atkinson looked good in the first half of the run but faded to finish fifth.
It was also a major success for the Newcastle Academy which produced both Sexton and Royle, who would well be the next youngster to break through. He was second to Gemmell last year.
But it was Sexton, in his hot pink Nike runners, who stole the day in a performance that could well set himself up for an exciting season after two successful high altitude training stints at Falls Creek and hopefully a ticket to London.
“I needed to go into the ITU World Cup and the ITU World Championship round in Sydney with a full race under my belt and after what happened in Geelong I added Devonport to my schedule and now I’m glad I did,” said Sexton, who has emerged as Australia’s boy most likely over the past two years.
“But there is no doubt my win today was a team effort. The Australians worked well together to ensure that it came down to the run and I was just lucky enough to get across the line ahead of the Kiwis. We knew we had to work to our strengths and that was the last 10km.
“I felt good and it was important to have as much petrol in the tank as I could when I got off the bike and I knew when Courtney (Atkinson) and Kris (Gemmell) took off I had to go with them and after the first lap I felt great and just kept going.”
Sexton was at Lakeside Stadium last weekend and was inspired by Mottram’s Olympian effort to gatecrash his way onto a fourth Olympic team.
“It was the best, so inspiring to see ‘Buster’ produce that performance. I just hope that I can join him. That would be special,” said Sexton, who will now set himself for Mooloolaba and Sydney.
“Sydney is the race. That’s where I will have to perform but I guess my performance here today will certainly keep me on the radar.”
TOP FIVE MEN:
B Sexton (Aus) 1:48.51
K Gemmell (NZ) 1:49.32
A Royle (Aus) 1:50.07
T Dodds (NZ) 1:50.38
C Atkinson (Aus) 1:50.40
TOP FIVE WOMEN
E Jackson (Aus) 2:02.47
A Gentle (Aus) 2:03.37
E Densham (Aus) 2:03.53
D Tanner (NZ) 2:04.07
N Samuels (NZ) 2:04.33