Australians target Olympic spots in Yokohama

9 May 2024

Photo Credit: Con Chronis

As Yokohama gears up to host the World Triathlon Championship Series kickoff this Saturday, Australia’s top triathletes are honing in on one goal: securing a top-eight finish.

It’s their last shot at securing an automatic nomination to represent Australia at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Australia currently holds two male and two female quota spots for the Games, after securing fifth position in the Olympic Mixed Relay rankings, also guaranteeing a start in the Mixed Team Relay event.

Following Yokohama, any remaining team spots will be filled by the Elite Selection Committee via discretionary nomination, with Australia’s Olympic Triathlon team to be announced in June.

One man who has already secured his ticket to the Games is Matt Hauser, who leads the Australians in Yokohama.

He delivered one of his greatest performances at the event last year, digging deeper than ever in a sprint finish to surge to silver behind New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde. That performance came off missing a month’s training due to an energy-sapping virus.

The start of this season has echoed a disrupted 2023 for Hauser. With the cancellation of WTCS Abu Dhabi, his first race of the year was at the Oceania Triathlon Standard Championships in Taupo, which he won. However, a bout of food poisoning forced him to withdraw from the World Triathlon Cup Wollongong.

The Wollongong race was won by Luke Willian, who will join Hauser in Yokohama and head into Saturday’s event full of confidence following a remarkable return to form to start the season.

With the recent World Triathlon Cup victory under his belt, alongside strong performances at the Oceania Triathlon Sprint Championships in Devonport (3rd) and the World Triathlon Cup Hong Kong (4th), the 28-year-old steps to the start-line in Yokohama with full trust in his abilities.

“It’s given me a huge amount of confidence heading into Yokohama,” Willian said.

“It really affirms that what I am doing is working for me right now. And I’m on the right track to be in contention for selection.

“My team and I have just really focused on keeping it simple and consistently getting the work done. It’s definitely something I didn’t have last year being affect by illness and injury. Having that consistency back has made a huge difference.”

Willian described his Paris pursuit as an ‘unrelenting motivator’ after narrowly missing out on Olympic selection for Tokyo.

“It’s why I get up everyday and do what I do,” Willian said.

“It’s my dream to go to the Olympics and being so close last time and missing out really stung. It took probably a year or so to move beyond that feeling and the real driver that got me out of that was Paris.” 

Brandon Copeland, Jake Birtwhistle, and Callum McClusky round out the Australian men on the start list, each coming off strong continental seasons.

Copeland achieved top-ten finishes top-ten finishes across multiple events: eighth at the World Triathlon Cup Napier, fourth in Devonport, third in Taupo, and tenth in Wollongong.

Birtwhistle showed his strength with strong finishes: securing bronze in Devonport, followed by fourth in Taupo and sixth in Wollongong.

While McClusky also impressed with top-ten finishes: ninth in Devonport, fifth in Wollongong, and a maiden World Triathlon Cup win in Napier.

Joining the lineup are Australian women Natalie Van Coevorden, Jaz Hedgeland, Sophie Linn, and Charlotte McShane.

Australia’s top-ranked female, Van Coevorden will be hoping for a strong start to her international season after making the decision to withdraw from the recent World Triathlon Cup Wollongong, instead prioritising a dedicated training block ahead of this weekend’s race.

Jaz Hedgeland, still fresh off her win in Devonport and a fifth-place finish in Taupo, aims to rebound from her 27th place in Wollongong.

Linn makes her first appearance since her win at the World Triathlon Cup in Napier, while McShane enters Yokohama off the back of her win at last weekend’s Oceania Triathlon Super Sprint Championships on the Gold Coast.

It is a familiar course that awaits 40km south of central Tokyo, offering a pathway to Olympic selection: a two-lap 1.5km swim, followed by a fast, flat 40km bike leg, and a 10km run.

The Australian contingent in Yokohama also includes the para triathlon squad, with Australia’s Paralympic hopefuls continuing their Road to Paris at the World Triathlon Para Series.

Australia’s top-ranked para triathlete, Lauren Parker, returns to competition, her last triathlon race at February’s Oceania Triathlon Para Championships in Stockton. Last weekend the 35-year-old secured three gold medals at the para-cycling Road World Cup in Belgium as she continues her pursuit of qualifying for two sports at the Paralympics.

Joining Parker on the start list are Jack Howell (PTS5) and Anu Francis (PTS2), who took their maiden World Triathlon Para Series win in Devonport in March.

Jeremy Peacock (PTS4) secured silver in Devonport, while David Bryant (PTS5) and Nic Beveridge (PTWC) claimed bronze. All three will be looking to continue their strong season starts in Yokohama.

Glen Jarvis (PTS2), Thomas Goodman (PTS2), Justin Godfrey (PTS3), Sam Harding (PTVI), and Sally Pilbeam (PTS4) round out the team of Paralympic hopefuls looking to gain valuable points towards coveted spots in the Paralympic Qualification Rankings.

For most categories, the top nine athletes in the rankings can clinch quota spots for their nations, with Australian athletes having the opportunity to secure automatic nominations by ranking within the top five.

Six Australian athletes currently sit in the top five for their respective categories in the Paralympic Qualification Rankings (Parker 1st,  Francis 2nd, Howell 3rd, Beveridge 3rd,  Peacock 4th, Pilbeam 4th, Godfrey 5th).

As the qualification period draws to a close on July 1, 2024, this weekend marks one of three more major opportunities for others to join them, the other two being June’s World Triathlon Para Series events in Swansea and Montreal.

To view the 2024 Paris Olympic Games Nomination Criteria, click here.
To view the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games Nomination Criteria, 
click here.
To view the World Triathlon Paralympic Games Qualification Rankings, click here.

WTCS Yokohama – Elite Men
Saturday, May 11 – 1:45 pm AEST

Matt Hauser
Luke Willian
Brandon Copeland
Jake Birtwhistle
Callum McClusky

Full Start List


WTPS Yokohama
Saturday, May 11 – 7:50 am AEST

Nic Beveridge (PTWC)
Glen Jarvis (PTS2)
Thomas Goodman (PTS2)
Justin Godfrey (PTS3)
Jeremy Peacock (PTS4)
Jack Howell (PTS5)
David Bryant (PTS5)
Sam Harding (PTVI)

Lauren Parker (PTWC)
Anu Francis (PTS2)
Sally Pilbeam (PTS4)

Full Start List


WTCS Yokohama – Elite Women
Saturday, May 11 – 11:00 am AEST

Natalie Van Coevorden
Jaz Hedgeland
Sophie Linn
Charlotte McShane

Full Start List

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