Exciting juniors Jacob Birtwhistle and Jaz Hedgeland will lead the next generation of Olympians and Commonwealth Games representatives to London for this year’s ITU Junior World Championships in September.
The 2013 Youth Olympic champions have been named in a six-strong Australian team capable of upholding Australia’s international triathlon standing.
For Tasmanian Birtwhistle it will be his second Australian team in different sports after he represented Australia in the recent IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in Poland.
He will lead a men’s team that includes Luke Willian (Queensland) and Joel Tobin-White (Victoria) while Hedgeland fronts a women’s team that includes Queensland training partners Jodie Duff and Holly Grice.
Tobin-White is the only member of the team from last year’s World Championships in Auckland.
Birtwhistle has had a break through year, winning not only the Australian Youth Olympic gold but also the SCODY Australian Junior Series and the OTU Oceania Junior Championship in Wellington and the ITU Australian Junior Championships in Devonport.
Willian shadowed Birtwhistle for most of the season, winning the AYOF test event at Penrith before his silver in the AYOF a week later and silver to Birtwhistle in the OTU Oceania Championships and a victory in the Australian Youth Championship.
Hedgeland has also had a stellar year after declaring her unavailability for last year’s World Championships due to Year 12 examinations, like Birtwhistle, winning the AYOF and the Scody Series.
She will have two outstanding team members in Duff, who like Willian, won the AYOF Trial and Grice who also represented Australia at the AYOF and was third behind Hedgeland and former ITU World Junior Champion Mikayla Nielsen (NZ) in the Australian Junior Championships.
Triathlon Australia’s National Manager Athlete Development, Craig Redman said: “This Australian Junior Triathlon Team is an exciting young team with outstanding talent.
“With the exception of Joel Tobin-White, all athletes will be competing at the ITU Junior Triathlon World Championships for the first time.
“That said, all athletes on this junior team are more than capable of standing on the podium in London in September.
“This team represents the next crop of talented athletes that will be pushing for 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and 2020 Olympic Games representation over the next 5-7 years.
“The goals for the junior team is to gain valuable international experience with racing and training, within the demands of travelling and living away from home. The opportunity for the junior athletes to race and train alongside the elite & U23 athletes in Europe will be invaluable experience in their journey to becoming elite athletes.”
The team will prepare for the London World Championships with a camp in July on the Gold Coast, and a European tour that includes Tiszaujvaros (HUN) & Eton Dorney (GBR) European Junior Cup Triathlons.
The Junior team is the first team selected by Triathlon Australia’s new Elite Selection Committee comprised of Ian Fullagar (Independent Chair); Miles Stewart (TA Board representative, World Champion and Sydney 2000 Olympian); Nicole Hackett (Sydney 2000 Olympian and World Champion); Melissa Ashton-Garrard (Lawyer and former elite athlete); Brian Hinton (Triathlon Australia Life Member). The Elite Selection Committee has also recently developed the 2014 Commonwealth Games policy, which establishes the ITU World Championships Grand Final race in London in September this year as an automatic qualification race. Up to 3 elite females and 3 elite males will represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Glasgow in July 2014.
Australian Junior Triathlon Team – 2013 ITU London World Triathlon Championships
Jodie Duff (National Talent Academy, QLD)
Holly Grice (QLD)
Jaz Hedgeland (National Talent Academy, WA)
Reserve: Sophie Malowiecki (QLD)
Jacob Birtwhistle (National Talent Academy, TAS)
Joel Tobin-White (VIS, VIC)
Luke Willian (QLD)
Reserve: Matt Baker (National Talent Academy, NSW)