Australia’s highest ranked Elite Male triathlete Matt Hauser has revealed exactly what happened when he recovered from a “rolled ankle” on lap one of the 10km run in Saturday’s World Triathlon Championship Series Grand final in Abu Dhabi.
And how a teammate from the Aussie paratriathlon team played a crucial part in getting him back on his feet.
Triathlon can throw up a host of speed bumps and Hauser has found most of them throughout a dramatic 2022 breakthrough season.
Saturday’s saturating, energy-sapping Abu Dhabi heat was no different, when travelling in a large group on the opening lap of the run, Hauser “hit the deck” – rolling his ankle.
But throwing caution to the wind and digging deep to run his way into a gallant fifth place finish in a race won by newly crowned World Champion Leo Bergere (FRA).
As the charge for the world title unfolded around him, Hauser kept his own focus throughout a grueling 10km run leg – his fifth-place finish high enough to snare him sixth overall in the non-stop competitive world that is the WTCS – his best ever overall by far.
Hauser told how he was following world championship contender and Olympic silver medallist and Commonwealth Champion Alex Yee (GBR) on the run.
“Alex took a little stumble in front of me, and I must have hit the same lip of concrete and being in a big group of runners, I rolled my ankle on it and toppled over,” Hauser said today.
“(My AUS teammate) Jeremy Peacock (a bronze medallist in the World Triathlon Para Championships a few days earlier) was right there egging me to get back up and get back into the race.
“I managed to do just that. The fall had rocked my confidence quite a bit but once I regained momentum after a lap, I knew I had the legs to start reeling in the lads up front.
“And I was also relying on the heat to do the damage for me.”
Hauser said going into the race he was just looking to consolidate a Top Ten finish.
“But I’m stoked with a sixth place overall. Being consistent over all five races on the WTCS circuit has to be one of the hardest challenges of our sport and to be able to finish off strong and secure sixth means I can rest easy in this off season, pleased with what we’ve achieved and knowing that I gave it everything,” said Hauser.
“I’m super proud of what (coach Dan Atkins and I) as a team have achieved this year with 2021 definitely a wakeup call and to know now that I can produce performances like that consistently even if the going gets tough, it’s really rewarding and exciting.”
Atkins was proud of his charge saying “all praise to Matt....but he certainly likes to keep things interesting and me on the edge!
“This year has given us such a great building block towards Paris and I’m definite that he hasn't hit his ceiling of performances at the highest level.
“We’ll go away now and have a break and planning is already under way towards the Olympic Test Event in Paris in August 2023.
“We look forward to an off-season of similar training we did this year but race later so he can have another great season next year.
“Overall, I couldn’t be more proud of his year and his commitment across all distances...fingers crossed for 2023 that he can do it with a few less crashes.”