Matt Hauser and Ashleigh Gentle have taken out the Australian Standard Distance Championships in emphatic style at the Mooloolaba Triathlon this morning.
In just his fourth major Olympic distance event, Hauser outran the likes of Jake Birtwhistle and Aaron Royle to take home his second Australian title in as many weeks.
Speaking on his win, Hauser said that he was thrilled to be able to secure the title in front of family and friends in Mooloolaba.
“It was really good to take out the win and prove my form over the 10k run,” Hauser said.
“It came down to the final [kilometre] or so on the run and luckily I was able to have the legs to push up over that hill and put in a bit of a surge and the boys couldn’t stick with me.”
With Tokyo selections continuing to play out in the background, Hauser said his performance today was just another opportunity to showcase his talent to selectors in his bid for a place on the Olympic team.
“Today’s just another step forward and another stamp on my name to the selectors.”
“Hopefully they’ll see this and see how my form’s progressing and it’s all I can do, keep putting in performances like this.”
Hauser’s intentions of a strong race were clear right from the start, with the Gold Coast based athlete leading out of the water alongside Royle, Max Stapley, and Brandon Copeland. Holding an early break on the bike, it wasn’t long before they were caught by a large chasing pack featuring the likes of Jake Birtwhistle, Matt Roberts and Luke Schofield. With the group staying together on the bike, it all came down to the 10km run.
Hauser, Birtwhistle, Copeland and Royle made the first moves on the run, stretching away from the rest of the field, with Hauser finding an extra gear late in the run to break away and take the win in both the Elite and U23 categories. Copeland held on for a commendable second place in the Elite field, with Birtwhistle in third. While L Schofield and Troy Whittington completed the U23 podium with second and third, respectively.
Ashleigh Gentle looked comfortable and in control as she powered to victory in the Elite Women’s field.
Putting together a smart and controlled race, Gentle said that she was thrilled to get the result in Mooloolaba today as she begins to look towards Tokyo.
“It was a great race and I really enjoyed it. I guess I’m at the very start of my prep for Tokyo, so I’m pretty happy with the race today. Obviously, you learn so much from just racing so I’ll take a lot away from today,” Gentle said.
Playing out in a similar fashion to the Men’s event, trio Jaz Hedgeland, Lotte Wilms and Kelly-Ann Perkins got an early break on the bike thanks to stellar swims. With Gentle, Barbara Riveros and Kira Hedgeland chasing, it was never going to be long before a lead group of six formed on the ride. Working cohesively together throughout the bike, it all came down to the run.
Gentle took off out of transition, establishing herself a comfortable lead that she held right through to the finish line. J Hedgeland worked hard to keep away from a chasing Riveros and take home second. Riveros and Wilms pushed on to finish in third and fourth, however were ineligible for the Australian title as international athletes. Kira Hedgeland rounded out the Elite Championship podium while simultaneously claiming the U23 title. Romy Wolstencroft and Matilda Offord put together good performances to take out second and third, respectively.
The Mooloolaba Triathlon also saw over 4,000 Age Group athletes take to the field of play to compete for the Australian Age Group Standard Distance Championships.
Leigh Anderson-Voigt took out the Open Men’s title, while Amelia Watkinson was victorious in the Open Women’s field.
In a change of pace mimicking the scheduling of events at Tokyo, Australia’s elite triathletes will now turn their focus to the Gold Coast’s Mixed Relay Invitational on Thursday.
With just four days to recover and refocus, the Invitational will provide athletes yet another opportunity to practice and execute their race preparation and relay performance ahead of the format’s Olympic debut in Tokyo later this year.
Mooloolaba Triathlon - Australian Standard Distance Championships
1st – Matt Hauser
2nd – Brandon Copeland
3rd – Jake Birtwhistle
1st – Matt Hauser
2nd – Luke Schofield
3rd – Troy Whittington
1st – Ashleigh Gentle
2nd – Jaz Hedgeland
3rd –Kira Hedgeland
1st – Kira Hedgeland
2nd – Romy Wolstencroft
3rd – Matilda Offord
Photo Credit: Delly Carr