2012 Olympic hopeful Emma Jackson will make her race debut for the year at the Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro Triathlon on Sunday February 5, in what is shaping up as the biggest year of her young career as she embarks on her path to securing a place in the Australian team to contest the London Games in August. 20-year old Jackson finished the 2011 season as our highest ranked female, finishing fourth in the World Series.
“This will be a great event to kick start my 2012 racing season, I am doing the race so I can get a good hit out before my major races start later in March and to see where I am at with my training.
“I am hoping to have a solid performance at Caloundra in the different but tough short Enduro format,” she said.
Brisbane based Jackson is taking nothing for granted despite her outstanding 2011 season and knows there is still a lot of work to be done to be considered for selection to join Emma Moffatt on the team, the only female nominated for early selection. Olympic champion Emma Snowsill will return from her South African training base in early March to contest the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup and opening round of the ITU World Championship Series in Sydney to press for selection.
For Jackson the Oceania Championships in Devonport (9/10 March) will be her first international race but Sydney is the race she is peaking for.
“My major focus will be the Sydney World Championship Series race for Olympic Games selection.
“I would love to represent Australia at the London Olympic Games later in the year and to do this I will have to ensure I have a good race in Sydney and prove I am worthy of one of the two remaining spots on the team,” said Jackson.
Joining Jackson in the women’s field of the Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro Tri is Liz Blatchford (GBR) and local young-gun Chloe Turner, both will be vying for the title and a slice of the $8000 prize purse.
Blatchford is sure to be at the top of the field as she uses this race as preparation for the upcoming international season that gets underway at Geelong ITU Oceania Cup, the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup and the season opener Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship in Sydney.
“I really enjoyed the fast exciting pace of last year’s race and found it was a great way to access some speed and skills leading into some of my more major events. Last year saw a small but high quality field and I surprised myself, finding some long buried speed to take out 2nd place,” said Blatchford.
“After Caloundra I plan on racing Geelong Sprint Champs, Mooloolaba World Cup and Sydney World Series with Sydney being important to my Olympic Selection. So the Caloundra Enduro race will help blow out those cobwebs and get me race ready,” she added.
Buderim’s Chloe Turner, who is focussing on making the Australian Under 23 team, is looking forward to joining the big names in the unique sprint event.
“I am particularly looking forward to racing at Caloundra this year, I’ve watched the pro’s go around for the past couple of years and realize how short and sharp this type of racing will be. It is going to be a great hit-out before the ITU Triathlon Oceania Cup in Geelong mid February,” said Turner.
“Anyone who gets on that start line will have a chance. I am sure there will be some other fast elite girls enter before the start, and the race will be very exciting as all the professionals have different strengths and weaknesses,” she added.
The men’s event will also be hotly contested with Sandgate’s Dan Wilson up against the Sunshine Coast’s Ben Shaw who is hoping his inside knowledge will play to his advantage.
After a break through win at the 2010 ITU World Cup in Tongyeong, Wilson is hoping to start his 2012 season on a high after a season riddled with injuries in 2011.
The former Australian Under 23 bronze medallist is aiming to just get back on track.
“Training is going well after a shocker of a year last year with injuries, it’s nice to have the ball rolling once again,” he said.
Wilson finished second to Courtney Atkinson on this course in 2010 and will be certain to feature in the medals.
Meanwhile, Mt Coolum’s Ben Shaw is hoping to improve on his recent bad luck, crashing on the bike twice at the Gatorade QTS Race at Robina.
“I have had a bit of a poor run lately, I crashed twice at the last Gatorade QTS Race and narrowly missed being wiped out by a car in training,” he said.
Despite this, Shaw’s training has been steady and he’s looking forward to going toe-to-toe against some of the elites.
“The field for the race this weekend will be extremely competitive with many of the guys preparing for what is essentially an Australian Olympic trial in Devonport in early March. To be a part of such a quality field will be fantastic and if I can contribute to the race in a positive way – that will be great.
“It’s not often that so many quality competitors are in the one race, and this sort of competition can only serve to benefit every athlete” Shaw said.
USM EVENTS Managing Director Geoff Meyer says come race day there will be plenty of action and new names to keep an eye on.
“The Enduro race is ideal for anyone wanting to come and catch the elites in action. The fast multi-lap course is going to offer a race that will be extremely intense, highly competitive and very spectator friendly,” said Meyer.
Aside from the Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro Tri, Sunday’s event will also serve up Race 5 of the Gatorade Queensland Tri Series with two distances for competitors aged 13 to 80+ and one category especially for kids.
Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro Tri Timetable:
9.45am Elite Female Race Start
10.40am Elite Male Race Start
Seven Sunshine Coast Enduro Race Format:
Swim 1: 400m (straight line swim; deep water start; beach exit)
Cycle 1: 7km (5 laps x 1400m course)
Run 1: 1800m (5 laps x 360m course)
Swim 2: 200m (triangle course; beach entry/exit)
Cycle 2: 7km (5 laps x 1400m course)
Run 2: 1800m (5 laps x 360m course)
Gatorade QTS Race 5 Timetable:
6.45am Kool Kids Tri Start
7.00am Fire & Rescue Recruiting QLD Enticer Tri Start
7.30am Gatorade QTS Tri Start
Gatorade QTS Race 5 Distances:
Gatorade QTS 400m swim | 15km cycle | 4km run
Fire & Rescue Recruiting QLD Enticer 200m swim | 5km cycle | 2km run
Kool Kids 100m swim | 2km cycle | 400m run
Woorim Park, Golden Beach, Caloundra