They'll be a thrilling mix of talented triathletes taking the start line at this weekend's Oceania Cup and Championships in Port Douglas, from experiences elites to the fearless juniors aiming to challenge the big names.
Saturday's mens race is expected to be a real dog fight with Olympian Jake Birtwhistle and 2018 Commonwealth Games teammate Luke Willian taking the start line alongside an exciting group Australian Under 23s and Juniors up against tearaway New Zealanders Tayler Reid and Dylan McCulloch in a duelling trans-tasman men’s race.
The women’s field features Tokyo Olympian Jaz Hedgeland, who tasted success in Port Douglas en-route to her Olympic selection and two-time Commonwealth Games representative Charlotte McShane – who has run herself into some encouraging race form, against a strong Kiwi contingent led by Nicole Van Der Kaay and Ainsley Thorpe along with Ana Lindsay and a five strong team of Under 23s.
Races that will see big points on offer for the World Series and Olympic Rankings.
A number of Australia’s Elite, Under 23 and Junior triathletes have spend time at the Team Australia Performance Camp in Cairns in the lead up to Saturday’s race.
Triathlon Australia's Queensland Performance Centre Head Coach, Dan Atkins gave an insight into what he has described as a rewarding National Camp as the athletes all prepare for a rare opportunity for Juniors and Under 23s to stand on the start line with the Elites.
“Our camp has all been about a Team Australia focus with the two Performance Centres here from New South Wales and Queensland and the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) talent athletes,” said Atkins.
“It’s the first time we’ve done a camp like this together. It’s not just a general training camp; everyone is getting ready for races so there’s still that level of anxiety in the athletes faces.
“It’s nice to have everyone here and to see how others work, with the younger ones feeding off the older more experienced athletes.
“Everyone can race this. There are even Juniors racing, dipping their toes in with some of our Elites and to me, that’s the most wonderful thing about our sport.
“That Juniors can mix in with our very best. It’s not every day you get to race a Jake Birtwhistle, a Tayler Reid, a Jaz Hedgeland or a Charlotte McShane and Nicole Van Der Kaay.
“There’re not many sports that you get the chance to stand on the start line with that calibre of athlete. There is so much that you can take away from this race from the Juniors through to our Olympic hopefuls.
“Juniors who all have big ambitions of having a red-hot crack here and take down a few of the bigger names. I love that attitude and a want to win fearlessness that we try and instil in every athlete.
“I know in the men’s race, for example, young boys are just ready to go for it and I expect that the likes of Bradley Course, Jack Crome and Thomas Feldman with their solid swims that they will all be there-a-bouts.
“The 10km run might present a bit of a mystery and how they put that together because they have not done much of it.
“But our Junior boys are going to be there and what an opportunity to look up and see there’s Jake or Tayler and they say: ‘hey I’m in this’; hopefully that inspires them to stay in the sport potentially a lot longer if they weren’t racing.”
Saturday 27 May - Oceania Triathlon Cup and Championships Port Douglas
07:00 Elite Men Race Start
08:20 Elite Women Race Start
Elite Men Start List
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