Devonport Delivers: World Triathlon Para Series & Oceania Championships Steal the Show

18 Mar 2024

Photo Credit: Delly Carr

Nestled along the picturesque Mersey Bluff coastline, Devonport served as the vibrant host for a thrilling weekend of triathlon action, featuring a lineup of events including the World Triathlon Para Series, the Oceania Triathlon Sprint Championships, and the Oceania Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships.

Against the backdrop of stunning conditions, Devonport welcomed athletes from around the globe, each vying for victory and crucial Paralympic and Olympic ranking points.


World Triathlon Para Series

Stunning conditions welcomed the world’s best para triathletes on Friday, opening the World Triathlon Para Series, and a massive weekend of racing, on the picturesque Mersey Bluff coastline

80 para triathletes from 22 countries started their WTPS season in Devonport, vying for crucial ranking points and quota spots for their nations for the upcoming 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

Jack Howell (PTS5), Grace Brimelow (PTS4), and Anu Francis (PTS2) secured their first-ever gold medals at the World Triathlon Para Series, marking a remarkable milestone in their burgeoning careers.

The triumphant trio continued their remarkable winning streak into the early months of the year, following their outstanding performances at the recent Oceania Triathlon Para Championships in Stockton.

Howell initiated the surge of success in the men’s PTS5 category, triumphing over tough competition from Hungary’s Bence Mocari and Australian teammate David Bryant, who secured the bronze.

“What a way to take my first win. Pretty much right here at home,” said Howell, who celebrated with family members who had journeyed across the Bass Strait to support him.

“I’ve just turned 20, I’m still young, I’ve still got a few more in me. To be this settle this early, I’m just so proud.

“It’s also a good sign for the work I’ve been doing. I’ve really stripped it back recently and focused on the simple things of triathlon and it must be working.”

Brimelow made an unforgettable mark on the World Triathlon Para Series stage, clinching gold in her debut in the PTS4 category.

Despite trailing by nearly 2 minutes and 30 seconds after the biking segment, the 16-year-old showcased exceptional determination, storming through the run leg to overtake British athlete Megan Richter and seize victory.

She’s setting her sights high for 2024 after securing her inaugural World Triathlon Para Series win.

“I’m hoping to make the Paris games this year.” Brimelow said.

“I’ll do a few more races to qualify, obviously this got me more points leading into Paris.

“It would be a really good achievement to be at Paris.”

Francis maintained her dominant form in the women’s PTS2 category, crossing the finish line victorious and adding another gold to her collection.

She described her maiden World Triathlon Para Series win on home soil as particularly special.

“It’s amazing.” Francis said.

“Being able to have so many other Australian athletes here dominating and being able to have all of our coaches, and support staff doing it here on home soil just makes it honestly feel even more special.”

In the men’s PTS4 category, Jeremy Peacock put up a strong performance to secure the silver medal, while Nic Beveridge further solidified his reputation as a force in Devonport with a third-place finish in the men’s PTWC category.

In additional Australian results, Justin Godfrey (PTS3) secured fourth place, while Sam Harding (PTVI) and guide David Mainwaring also claimed fourth.  Liam Twomey (PTS4) and Sally Pilbeam (PTS4) finished fifth. Maggie Sandles (PTVI) and guide Lauren Sprague secured sixth place. Thomas Goodman (PTS2) also secured sixth. Caroline Baird (PTVI) and guide Annabel White finished seventh, alongside Glen Jarvis (PTS2).

To view full World Triathlon Para Series Devonport results, click here.


Oceania Triathlon Sprint Championships 

The stage was set back at Mersey Bluff Beach on Saturday with Devonport welcoming the region’s finest competitors for the Oceania Triathlon Sprint Championships.

Many of them Olympic hopefuls, the event marked the beginning of the season following the cancellation of World Triathlon Championship Series in Abu Dhabi, resulting in a bolstered start list.

In the women’s race, among the Australian contenders were Ellie Hoitink, Emma Jeffcoat, Jaz Hedgeland, Charlotte McShane, Emma Jackson, Tara Soskinski, Chloe Bateup and Jessica Ewart-Mctigue.

Ultimately, it was Hedgeland who claimed the top spot, with New Zealand’s Bee Roderick securing second place and Sosinski finishing third.

Promising starts for Australians Jeffcoat and Zoe Clarke were abruptly halted by bike crashes, disrupting their momentum despite creating a significant gap out of the water.

Hedgeland, Roderick, Sosinski, and Emma Jackson emerged as the leaders out of T2, with Hedgeland wasting no time in setting the pace and forging ahead.

She maintained her lead throughout the run, ultimately crossing the finish line 24 seconds ahead of Roderick, securing her first win since the 2021 Oceania Triathlon Championships in Port Douglas.

“I haven’t grabbed a finishing banner in a really long time, so I wanted to hold onto it for as long as possible. I definitely struggled to give that one back today.” Hedgeland said.

The win held extra significance with her dad present to embrace her at the finish line, while her mum, sister Kiz, and partner Kye Wilde watched eagerly from home. Her sister’s partner, Brandon Copeland, was also eagerly watching before competing in the men’s race.

“With life there’s lots of ups-and-downs for everyone, because we are so close; my partner Kye , my sister Kiz,  Brando, mum and dad – we all go through the ups-and-downs together, which can be really really hard.

“Simply I wouldn’t be here without them.”

The race also served to determine the Oceania Triathlon Under 23 Sprint Champion. Roderick secured the title, with Sosinski earning the silver medal and Richelle Hill securing the bronze.

Additionally, it decided the Australian Elite Sprint Champion and the Australian Under 23 Sprint Champion titles.

In the Australian Sprint Championships, Hedgeland emerged victorious, followed by Sosinski in second place and Ellie Hoitink in third.

Meanwhile, in the Australian Sprint Championships for Under 23 Women, Tara Sosinski claimed the gold medal, with Hill taking the silver and Jessica Ewart-McTigue securing the bronze.

The men’s race saw an impressive start list, featuring Australia’s strongest contenders for Olympic qualification, with the only notable absence being Matt Hauser, already bound for Paris 2024.

Among the top contenders aiming were Tasmania’s own Jake Birtwhistle, Luke Willian, Brandon Copeland, and Callum McClusky.

However, it was New Zealand’s Dylan McCullough who emerged victorious, dashing the hopes of the home nation for an Oceania Triathlon Sprint Championships double.

The Kiwi athlete leading the charge out of the water, with Willian following closely, trailing by a mere 13 seconds.

The true battleground emerged on the challenging hill, conquered four times over the 20km ride.

McCullough, leading the pack, swiftly joined by his Kiwi teammate Tayler Reid and Australia’s Jack Crome, formed a formidable breakaway trio.

As the race progressed, McCullough’s decisive move on the imposing hill saw him break away from Reid, leaving a 32-second gap by the end of the second lap.

Holding onto his lead with a commanding 37-second advantage off the bike, McCullough showcased a controlled and determined run, crossing the finish line ahead of a fast-finishing Willian, who secured second place, and Birtwhistle, who clinched third.

The race also determined the Oceania Triathlon Under 23 Sprint Champion, with Dylan McCullough claiming the gold medal, followed by Oscar Dart in second place and Brayden Mercer in third.

Furthermore, it decided the Australian Elite Sprint Champion and the Australian Under 23 Sprint Champion titles.

In the Australian Sprint Championships for Elite Men, Luke Willian secured the gold medal, with Jake Birtwhistle taking the silver and Brandon Copeland earning the bronze.

In the Australian Sprint Championships for Under 23 Men, Oscar Dart clinched the gold medal, Brayden Mercer secured the silver, and Bradley Course claimed the bronze.

To view full Oceania Triathlon Sprint Championships Devonport results, click here.


Oceania Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships

An action-packed weekend of racing in Devonport wrapped up with the Oceania Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships on Sunday morning.

The Australian quartet of Luke Willian, Sara Kosinski, Brandon Copeland and Jaz Hedgeland finished first, while the Australian team comprising Lachlan Jones, Charlotte McShane, Brayden Mercer, and Jessica Ewart-McTigue were second across the line.

However, with only one medal per country awarded, New Zealand’s team, Saxon Morgan, Brea Roderick, Trent Thorpe, and Eva Goodisson, who finished third, took home the silver medal.

To view full Oceania Triathlon Mixed Relay Championships results, click here.

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