Emma Jackson has put together one of her strongest performances to date to take her maiden World Triathlon title in Edmonton this morning.
Overcoming several years of injury, Jackson hung tough against an in-form Summer Rappaport (USA) and Australian teammate Ashleigh Gentle through the final stages of the run to claim her first ever WTS gold medal.
Fellow Olympian Aaron Royle (Maitland Tri Club) acknowledged Jackson’s performance and the resilience it has taken to return to race-winning form.
“Was so good to see Emma back on top,” Royle told Triathlon NSW after the elite men’s final. “She’s had a rough few years and now fought her way back to the top.”
Speaking to ITU Media, Jackson said that winning her inaugural title was an emotional experience, coming back from years of injury to claim her first WTS podium finish since 2014.
"I haven’t been on a WTS podium since 2014, so yeah it’s quite emotional now actually winning my first WTS,” Jackson said.
“I’ve known I’ve had some good runs in Montreal and Hamburg, but unfortunately it’s been the chase pack on the bike, so I haven’t really been able to show what I’m capable of.”
In a race that saw the Australian squad dominate from start to finish, Gentle returned to form to join Jackson on the podium with bronze and her first medal finish of the 2019 season. Rising stars Jaz Hedgeland (QLD) and Kelly-Ann Perkins (QLD) also secured spots inside the Top 10.
On the men’s side, it was a disappointing day for Triathlon NSW members Royle and Brandon Copeland (Tweed Valley Tri Club), who finished 24th and 26th respectively. Both of whom were hoping to build off previous results, including back-to-back near misses inside the top 10 for Royle and podium form that garnered Copeland a Moreton Bay OTU Oceania Championship victory and a runner-up at the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup earlier this year.
“Felt pretty flat today from the start and struggled to get going,” said the 29-year-old Royle. “One of those days where it struggled to get going. Pulled up well from the race and hopefully have a chance to put a good performance together in relay.”
Was out of the running after a poor swim this afternoon at #wtsedmonton but managed to ride and run well, putting together my best run at this level finishing 26th. Things are moving in the right direction, 5 weeks to world champs! Congrats to the @triaustralia crew ripping performances all round especially squad mates @jazzyyh and @matt_hauser world class!! 📸 @tzaferes
Copeland echoed similar sentiments following the race.
“Was out of the running after a poor swim this afternoon at #wtsedmonton but managed to ride and run well, putting together my best run at this level finishing 26th. Things are moving in the right direction, five weeks to world champs,” posted the 22-year-old Gold Coast resident on is official Instagram account, also alluding to his recent selection to the Australian team’s Under-23 squad for the ITU World Championships next month in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Queenslander Matt Hauser put together a solid performance in the swim and on the bike to finish in 11th.
Coming out of the swim in fourth, Hauser formed a breakaway on the bike with Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), Marten Van Riel (BEL), Ben Kanute (USA) and Vincent Luis (FRA) to maintain position and head onto the run strong.
Giving himself every chance to get on the podium, Hauser fought hard right to the finish line. However, a formidable Mario Mola (ESP) and an impressive Hayden Wilde (NZL) proved far too strong for the Queenslander, with Hauser finishing in 11th.
Western Australia’s Ryan Bailie finished in 32nd, while Tasmanian Jake Birtwhistle withdrew on the fourth lap of the bike.
Mario Mola (ESP) put together the performance of the race, coming from 10th place off the bike to chase down the leaders and finish just five seconds behind eventual winner, Brownlee.
ITU WORLD TRIATHLON EDMONTON
1st Emma Jackson (QLD)
3rd Ashleigh Gentle (QLD)
7th Jaz Hedgeland (QLD)
10th Kelly-Ann Perkins (QLD)
33rd Charlotte McShane (VIC)
11th Matt Hauser (QLD)
24th Aaron Royle (NSW)
26th Brandon Copeland (NSW)
32nd Ryan Bailie (WA)
DNF Jake Birtwhistle (TAS)