Charlotte Derbyshire is under no illusions as to the fire power in this year’s Under 23 Women’s field in what will be a big week of World Championship action in Pontevedra, Spain.
For the 22-year-old Gold Coast-based South Aussie, it will not only be a proud moment but also an honour to be back on the World Championship start line after a four year lay-off.
“I have learnt to never take selections on teams for granted. My last opportunity to race at the World Championships was in 2019,” said Derbyshire this week as she put the finishing touches to her preparation under coach Dan Atkins.
“I had no idea back then that Covid and injuries would see me not get the chance to experience racing in the Grand Final again for the next four years.
“So, I plan on enjoying the moment and making the most of the opportunity.”
Derbyshire will be joined in the women’s field by Gold Coast training partner Tara Sosinskiand, Queensland-based Victorian Jess Ewart-McTigue and Brisbane’s Ellie Hoitink while Queenslanders Brad Course and Lachlan Jones, and Brisbane-based Victorian Oscar Dart will line up in the men’s field.
“The Under 23 World Championships this year is a very tough start list with many competitors already in the top 100 World Triathlon Championship Series rankings,” says Derbyshire.
“Plenty of these girls have already raced in the Elite races at and WTCS World Cup level and have proven track records and results.
“But, like the other girls, I am looking forward to the challenge of racing the best in the world who are in my age range, and I intend to give it everything I can.
“I don’t have a prediction of where I will finish, but with another year in this age group in 2024 I hope to post improving results if I get the opportunity.”
Derbyshire’s preparation began when she targeted two domestic races, the Oceania Sprint Championships in Devonport, and the Oceania Standard Distance Championships in Port Douglas.
She gained automatic selection from the Port Douglas race and getting on the podium outright, not just in the Under 23’s which she won but also in the Elite category as well, where she finished third.
Since then, Derbyshire has combined her training in Banyoles in Spain and on the Gold Coast with a World Cup race in Yeong-do in Korea where she finished with a satisfying seventh place.
Ewart-McTigue will be making her World Championship debut but is certainly in the best of hands after moving to join experienced Queensland coach Warwick Dalziel, who is celebrating 20 years of placing Elite and Under 23 athletes on Australian and international teams.
Dalziel also has Luke Willian (Elite Men) and Dart (Under 23s) in his group with Ewart-McTigue and Dart based in Vitoria Gasteiz in Spain since late June, racing the European season in local Basque events, French Grand Prixs and World Triathlon Series events.
“This is my first Under 23s Worlds selection, so I feel incredibly lucky to be able to represent my country on the world stage,” said Ewart-McTigue.
“I’m really excited to take on the opportunity and get the best out myself in the green and gold.”
It will be Dart’s second opportunity to race at Under 23 Worlds Championships and his third time on the Australia team.
“Oscar has progressed across the year to multiple ‘Conti Cup’ podiums and top-tens in World Cups with a top 60 World Triathlon ranking,” said Dalziel.
“He will be looking to be at the front of the race and put the progression of the year into a performance.
“Jess is very excited to have this opportunity to race for Australia on her first team and she is keen to take everything on board and make every post a winner.”
While Oceania Elite and Under 23s champion Course, who raced the World Juniors in Hamburg will now step up to the Under 23s.
Course’s coach Dan Akins says the teenager will head into the weekend’s race without any pressure.
“Brad is certainly on track and training alongside the likes of Matt Hauser and Brandon Copeland is always a positive and does wonders for his confidence,” says Atkins.
“He’s had a good warm up race in France and will be on the start line without any pressure and he’ll go out there and give it everything he’s got like he did in Port Douglas.
“And you never know he just might sneak into the top 10.”
2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals U23 Men
Saturday 23 September – 10:20PM AEST
U23 Men Start List
2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals U23 Women
Sunday 24 September – 10:00PM
U23 Women Start List