Australia’s junior triathletes have made a significant impact internationally throughout 2014 thanks largely to funding made available from the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.
In summing up the past 12 months and looking towards 2015 and beyond, Triathlon Australia’s National Manager High Performance Pathways, Craig Redman is excited with the talent that has emerged and their performances on the world stage.
“Looking back over 2014 and looking towards the future, Australia can be proud that it has started to again make inroads into what has become one of the most competitive of sports on the world stage,” said Redman.
“Triathlon is truly a major international sport and Australia must continue to nurture its youth if we are going to be competitive in future Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
“To have the support from organisations such as the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) gives sports such as triathlon and our younger athletes access to what is so often their first overseas experience.
“We were lucky enough to showcase our next crop of future stars on various tours this year from the generous funding from the ACGA that I'm sure we will look back on when some of our young stars are named on the 2016 and 2018 Games teams.
“Triathlon Australia and the ACGA continue to have a strong relationship and the opportunities afforded our athletes from this key funding will go a long way towards building their international careers.”
Redman said athletes like Jaz and Kira Hedgeland, Sophie Malowiecki, Brittany Dutton, Jacob Birtwhistle, Calvin Quirk, Dan Coleman and Matthew Roberts all benefited from extensive training and competition tours to Japan and North America; the French Grand Prix Series, the Chengdu World Cup and European Cup races in the lead up to the ITU World Championships in Edmonton and for Dutton the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, where she won gold.
Birtwhistle and Quirk won silver and bronze respectively in the ITU World Junior Championships while Birtwhistle and Dutton played key roles in Australia’s thrilling silver medal in the Under 23/Junior Teams Relay event.
Coleman was fifth in the Asian Cup in Osaka while the Australian girls all finished inside the top 10 with Jaz Hedgeland fourth, Kira Hedgeland fifth, Dutton fifth and Malowiecki 10th.
The ITU Pan American Cup in Kelowna, Canada saw Quirk and Coleman produce outstanding run times to signal their arrival internationally, finishing second and third in the lead up to Edmonton where Quirk again produced an outstanding run to secure his bronze.
Redman said he is excited about the future, saying: “It is now a case of onwards and upwards as we get set to launch our 2015 campaign which will see many of these names continue to build on their international careers which will see them aiming for selection on the Australian team for the 2015 ITU World Championships in Chicago.”
The cream of Australia’s junior triathletes will again kick-start their busy summer of racing at the opening event of the Australian Junior Triathlon Series the Super Sprint Race Weekend on the Gold Coast from December 12-14.
The 2014 Australian Junior Commonwealth Games Squad Triathlon Program Athletes:
Male: Jacob Birtwhistle (Launceston, TAS), Daniel Coleman (Gold Coast, QLD), Calvin Quirk (Gold Coast, QLD), Matthew Roberts (Brisbane, QLD); Female: Jaz Hedgeland (Perth, WA), Kira Hedgeland (Perth, WA), Sophie Malowiecki (Brisbane, QLD), Brittany Dutton (Brisbane, QLD).