World champions Felicity Sheedy-Ryan, Jacob Birtwhistle and Gillian Backhouse and Olympian Emma Jackson will spearhead a 31-strong Australian team named by Triathlon Australia today for this year’s ITU World Duathlon Championships in Adelaide in October.
Birtwhistle (TAS), who won the ITU World Junior title in Ponteverde last year, will this year step up to the Elite class, skipping the under 23s and join Braeden Jones (NSW) in a small but select Elite men’s team when the South Australian capital hosts the World Championships from October 14-18.
The course is a 10km run followed by a 40km bike followed by a final 5km run and will include Elite, Under 23, Junior, Age Group and Paratriathlon duathlons and a community 5km fun run.
The high-profile Elite women’s team will be led by 2012 World Duathlon Champion Sheedy-Ryan, who won the title in Nancy in France after winning bronze in Edinburgh in 2010.
She will be joined in an all-star Elite women’s team by reigning Under 23 World Champion Backhouse, who also placed second in the Elites in Ponteverde; Olympian Jackson as well as fellow Queenslanders Sarah Crowley, Annalise Jefferies and Courtney Gillfilan.
Crowley and Jefferies finished first and second in the Triathlon Australia selection race, the ITU Oceania Championships in Adelaide last June, to clinch their spots.
Although Willian won the Elites in Adelaide he is still a junior and will be joined by 2015 ITU World Triathlon Championships team mates Calvin Quirk and Matt Roberts in a strong team of eight.
The under 23 men will be led by Sasha Bondarenko-Edwards (VIC) who was second in the Oceania Championships in a team that includes noted triathletes Kenji Nener, Daniel Coleman and Matt Brown.
Meanwhile three-time Australian Junior Triathlon Champion Jaz Hedgeland will contest the under 23s with Sarah Deuble and Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Brittany Dutton and fellow ITU World Championship Triathlon team mate Sophie Malowiecki will spearhead a six-strong Junior team.
Triathlon Australia’s National Performance Director Bernard Savage said he was excited to see so many ITU athletes racing the event.
“It is a good opportunity to represent Australia at a home World Championship,” said Savage.
“It’s not every day you get this opportunity and it’s great to see to many ITU athletes, like Emma Jackson in the team with Jacob Birtwhistle and Gillian Backhouse getting the chance to line up as reigning world champions.
“There are strong teams in the junior men and women which is really encouraging for the future and also great experience for these athletes to compete in a home worlds.”
Australian Team, ITU World Duathlon Championships, Adelaide, October 14-18:
MEN: Jacob Birtwhistle (TAS) Drew Box (QLD) Braeden Jones (NSW)
WOMEN: Gillian Backhouse (QLD) Sarah Crowley (QLD) Annalise Jefferies (QLD) Emma Jackson (QLD) Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (WA) Courtney Gillfilan (QLD)
MEN: Sascha Bonarenko-Edwards (VIC) Dylan Evans (TAS) Kenji Nener (QLD) Daniel Coleman (QLD) Matt Brown (QLD) Adam Rudgley (ACT)
WOMEN: Sarah Deuble (QLD) Jaz Hedgeland (WA)
MEN: Luke Willian (QLD) Daniel Canala (SA) Kurt Wesley (WA) Calvin Quirk (QLD) Matthew Roberts (QLD) Christian Wilson (QLD) Nicolas Free (QLD) Ethan Woolford (SA)
WOMEN: Fern Davies (SA) Brittany Dutton (QLD) Sophie Malowiecki (QLD) Savanah Wagner (QLD) Lily Clapham (QLD) Tegan Scott (WA)
Past Australian Elite World Duathlon Champions:
1993 Greg Welch
1997 Jono Hall
2006 Leon Griffith
1992 Jenny Alcorn
1996 Jackie Gallagher
1999 Jackie Gallagher
2012 Felicity Sheedy-Ryan