Triathlon Australia has copped a bit of flak by some sections of the triathlon media recently over the delay in selecting the team for London 2012. Many in Australia’s triathlon community are unsure why a team has not yet been selected. Hopefully the release below from TA outlining the selection criteria will clear up a few things and spell out how the final selection of the team will play out. Like most, I would like to have seen the six (hopefully) members already selected so they can clear their heads and focus on London.
On the women’s side there is no doubt that Erin Densham will join Emma Moffatt on the team based on her recent results and return to form. The differences of opinion between the selection team and the TA board most likely surround Emma Jackson and Emma Snowsill with Ashleigh Gentle also now throwing her hat in to the ring. Jackson was the highest ranked Australian ITU athlete last year and finished 4th in the world championship series. She is a star of the future and is looking for consistent form in 2012. Snowsill must have thrown a spanner in the works at Sydney with her late charge through the field. This showed some of her form of old and that her injury issues may be behind her. TA must be thinking that Snowsill may be able to perform on the big stage and provide the medals that TA are under pressure to provide the Australian Sports Commission. One big question is whether Snowsill has been mentally on her game. Gentle has also been performing better than these two and finished ahead of them in Sydney.
On the men’s side things are murkier than the women. The big curve ball was Chris McCormack being the first Australian in Sydney. Both Brad Kahlefeldt and Brendan Sexton where non finishers. Sexton has been the better performer in the big events over the last year but has been off the pace a few times in the swim. Macca also is off the pace in the swim slightly and is expending a lot of energy getting on to the front bunch on the bike. The Australian team needs three members who can medal and not two plus a domestique. If we have a domestique then he has to be able to pull two sub 30min runners to the front of the pack. Atkinson has been off his game and hasn’t looked like threatening. Up and coming youngster Aaron Royle has shined at a few races this year and is a very strong swimmer usually. He could be a dark horse. In addition there are a number of other young ITU guys who are all capable of racing at the highest level. No doubt we will get some comments saying we have missed ‘so and so’ but these are the guys that TA is looking at.
At Sydney it was obvious who the crowd wanted in the team. Chris McCormack was by far the man the crowd wanted to see racing. The punters loved it when he started the run right at the front and every time he ran past the cheers were loudest. You could see that Macca was giving it 150% in Sydney. Macca almost took out the Australian Sprint title in Geelong earlier this year. If it wasn’t for a 15sec penalty he would now have that title.
We still have to wait to see who will wear the Green and Gold in London but below should clear up when we will know. There is no doubt that if Macca was picked it would certainly bring more attention to the sport and he would leave no questions on the training grounds in an effort to medal in London.
Triathlon Australia (TA) recently announced the appointment of TA Board member Mr Anthony Beven to the role of Chair of the TA Elite Selection Committee (TAESC). Mr Beven replaces Dr Michelle Gallen who has stepped down from the position.
TA CEO Anne Gripper has today welcomed the appointment of Mr Beven, a qualified lawyer and long-standing age group triathlete, who she says brings a highly-regarded level of expertise to the role.
“Anthony is a very astute member of the TA board who has been a keen observer of the sport all of his life and will step in as a perfect replacement given that the Nomination Criteria requires the Chair of the Selection Committee to be a member of the TA Board,” Ms Gripper said.
Ms Gripper has also confirmed Triathlon Australia’s process for nominating athletes to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) for selection in the Australian Triathlon Team for the London Olympics.
“The process is being conducted in accordance with the ‘2012 Australian Olympic Team Triathlon Australia Nomination Criteria,’ Ms Gripper said.
“No Australian athlete met the automatic nomination criteria which required them to win the ITU World Triathlon Series race in London in August in 2011 and finish in the top three positions of the ITU World Championship Series ranking as at September 12, 2012.
“This meant that all nominations to the AOC would be based on the discretion of the Triathlon Australia Elite Selection Committee (TAESC).
“A key requirement in our Nomination Criteria, upon which all athletes rely, is that Triathlon Australia must nominate its final athletes to the AOC on May 31, 2012 and advice received from our legal advisors and from the AOC is that nominations cannot be made before this date.
“This means that results from the two ITU World Triathlon Series races in San Diego and Madrid or other relevant races, which occur before May 31, 2012, may be considered by selectors.
“Of particular relevance in the Nomination Criteria during the final period of nomination is the reference to ‘current form in races run over the Olympic Distance according to ITU rules.’
“It is in the best interests of our athletes that we undertake our Olympic selection process in strict accordance with the ‘2012 Australian Olympic Team Triathlon Australia Nomination Criteria’ “which were developed in consultation with athletes and approved by both Triathlon Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee in April 2011. The Nomination Criteria has been available on our website since that time.
“We have confirmed to members of our Olympic Shadow Team that we will be nominating athletes to the AOC on 31 May, thus enabling our athletes to consider including any remaining relevant races in their race programs up until that time.”
Australia may nominate up to three male athletes and three female athletes for London, depending on the number of qualifying places achieved through the Qualification Process conducted by the International Triathlon Union (ITU).
The final number of qualifying places obtained by each country will be confirmed by the International Triathlon Union, following the World Triathlon Series race in Madrid on May 26.
The majority of the Triathlon Australia Shadow team will continue to focus on their training and preparation for the San Diego ITU World Triathlon Series race on May 12 and 13.