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2018 ITU Multisport World Championships
6-14 July 2018

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New look triathlon team unveiled for 2018 Commonwealth Games

New look triathlon team unveiled for 2018 Commonwealth Games

A new look Australian Commonwealth Games triathlon team has been unveiled on the Gold Coast today – heralding an exciting era for the sport that made its Games debut in Manchester in 2002.
Joining automatic nominations Jake Birtwhistle (Tasmania), Ashleigh Gentle (Queensland) and Charlotte McShane (NSW) in the six-strong team will be discretionary selections, Queensland trio Luke Willian, Matt Hauser and Gillian Backhouse.
Hauser, who won the ITU World Junior Championship in Rotterdam this year, is the youngest on the team at 19 while McShane – a former ITU World Under 23 world champion is the oldest at 27.
Rio Olympian, Gentle, 26, is the sole survivor from the 2014 Commonwealth Games team from Glasgow and the only survivor from the 2016 Olympic team.
Gentle, who is racing this weekend in the Bahamas, was the only face missing from today’s official announcement of the first Australian team announced to contest next year’s Gold Coast Games.
The women and then the men will race for the first medals of the Games on April 5 before the Mixed Teams Relay and Paratriathlon on April 7.
The full paratriathlon team, which already includes automatic nominees Bill Chaffey (NSW) and Emily Tapp (Queensland) wont be finalised until the New Year.
The average age of the men’s team is 21 with the overall age of the women’s team at 26 in what is a classic blend of youth and experience.
In what has been a breakthrough year for triathlon in Australia – the foursome of Birtwhistle, Hauser, Gentle and McShane produced a barnstorming victory to win the gold medal in the World Mixed Teams Relay in Hamburg.
They followed up that performance and some stand out results during the World Triathlon Series (WTS) season with strong results at the ITU World Championships in Rotterdam.
Triathlon Australia’s Performance Director Justin Drew is excited about what is a new look team for these Games.
“The men’s team features a young, fast trio led by Jake Birtwhistle, who although is only 22 has shown just how talented he is – Jake has an enormous future,” said Drew.
“And with Luke Willian and Matt Hauser you have two athletes coming off the upswing of outstanding international seasons – Matt winning the Junior World title and as part of the World Championship winning Mixed Relay team, and Luke’s sixth place in the Gold Coast WTS race and his bronze medal in the Under 23 Worlds.
“It just goes to show the depth in the men’s program and to have these athletes and our other elite males pushing each other over the next three years in the countdown to Tokyo makes it very exciting indeed.
“Our women’s team could not be in better hands following the breakthrough year from Ashleigh Gentle who has taken on all-comers in a stellar season, earning automatic nomination on the Gold Coast WTS race earlier in the year.
“Charlotte McShane brings further experience and talent to the team across both the individual and Mixed Relay formats. She is determined to push through to the top step of the podium, and there would no better place to do that then the Gold Coast in April.
“The addition of Gillian follows a strong international season which saw her achieve multiple top 10 WTS results and demonstrate her strength with an ‘off the front’ World Cup win.”
Australia has won six medals contested over three Games in Manchester (2002), Melbourne (2006) and Glasgow (2014) – two of them gold to Emma Snowsill and Brad Kahlefeldt in 2006.
England has the most gold medals with three – all won in Glasgow to Alistair Brownlee, Jodie Stimpson and the Mixed Teams Relay.
Birtwhistle has taken the triathlon world by storm with an outstanding season, relishing the Sprint Distance events – knowing he has a run leg that can match the best in the world.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will feature some of the best triathlon countries in the world – including England, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
And apart from Spain in the men and the USA in the women both races will be chock full of the best triathletes on the circuit – including reigning women’s world champion Flora Duffy from Bermuda and England’s Brownlee brothers Jonathan and Alistair.
But Birtwhistle is unfazed by a men’s field that could potentially see the Rio podium of both Brownlees and bronze medallist from South Africa Henri Schoeman and his teammate, the ever-present Richard Murray.
“I’m really looking forward to the Games – in fact I can’t wait,” said Birtwhistle.

2018 Commonwealth Games