22-strong Aus Triathlon team for 2018 Commonwealth Games
Triathlon Australia in conjunction with the Australian Commonwealth Games Association has today announced an exciting 22-strong squad to prepare for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The 2018 Gold Squad of 11 men and 11 women represents the future of Australia’s emerging triathlon talents and is led by four members of Australia’s 2014 Commonwealth Games team from Glasgow – Ryan Bailie (WA), Aaron Royle (NSW), Olympian Emma Jackson (QLD) and Ashleigh Gentle (QLD).
Jackson, Bailie and Royle were all members of the Australian Teams Relay that won bronze in a dramatic finish with Canada in Glasgow last year.
The Glasgow foursome will be joined by 18 emerging youngsters including medallists from last year’s ITU World Championships; Jake Birtwhistle (TAS), Calvin Quirk (QLD) and Gillian Backhouse (QLD) and Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Brittany Dutton (QLD).
Birtwhistle, 20, who will make his ITU World Triathlon Series debut in Auckland this Sunday, finished second in the ITU Junior World Championships in Edmonton before winning the ITU Junior Duathlon World Championships in Pontevedre.
He will join other squad members Bailie and Royle as the next generation of Australian triathletes continue their progression into the Elite ranks.
He recently won the Oceania and Australian Elite and Under 23 Olympic Distance Championships in Devonport and finished a close up second to experienced Frenchman David Hauss in the recent ITU Mooloolaba World Cup.
Quirk joined Birtwhistle on the podium in Edmonton last year, finishing with the bronze medal in the Juniors while Backhouse produced the race of her life to win the silver in the Under 23s.
Joining them in the squad is Gold Coast local and former ITU World Junior champion Gentle, who started her season out strongly with a bronze medal showing in the ITU Mooloolaba World Cup.
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Add ITU Under 23s World Champion Charlotte McShane; Dutton, the Youth Olympic Games gold medallist from Nanjing last year who won the Australian Junior Championship in Devonport last month and WA’s Hedgeland sisters – Gold Coast-based Jaz and Perth-based Kira and is an exciting group.
McShane showed her continued promise with a seventh place in the opening round of the WTS in Abu Dhabi and will again line up with Gentle and another squad member Natalie Van Coevorden in the WTS Auckland round this Sunday.
Dutton is one of Queensland triathlon’s shining lights, overcoming injury hurdles to emerge as one youngster who continues to lift on the biggest stages.
The Hedgeland sisters meanwhile have dominated in the Junior ranks in recent years, with Jaz now settling in to the Gold Coast where she trains under Dan Atkins.
Triathlon Australia’s National Performance Director Bernard Savage is excited about the future of a generation that will be get the opportunity to race on home soil.
“The opportunities afforded our triathletes who raced in Melbourne in 2006 was something they will always remember,” said Savage.
“There is nothing like a home Games and the Gold Coast has certainly developed into one of those cities that is synonymous with international triathlon; they staged a World Championships in 2009 and we will stage a round of the ITU World Triathlon Series next month and a Grand Final in three years time.
“For our athletes to get the chance to make this team for 2018 and to race in front of their family and friends will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We have some exciting talent in this Gold Squad, some of them who will be right in their prime and others who will be in a position to push for places on this team.
“Triathlon Australia is certainly grateful to the Australian Commonwealth Games Association for the support they have given us to allow us to focus on putting together the best possible team for 2018 –a team that I believe can also put themselves on the podium.
“It is important to identify this talent and given them all the opportunity to achieve their potential and on a multi-sport Games team and in their own backyard.
“Talking to the athletes and the coaches they are all excited to know that come 2018 they’ll be doing it all on the Gold Coast.”
ACGA Chief Executive, Perry Crosswhite, congratulated those named in the squad saying: “With slightly more than three ears to go to the Games it is good to see that Triathlon Australia and the men and female triathletes named are concentrating on achieving success on the Gold Coast in 2018.
“Australia has had a strong and proud record in the sport of Triathlon at Commonwealth Games since the sport was introduced in 2002 in Manchester, and we have no doubt our triathletes will again do well.”
Triathlon Australia Commonwealth Games 2018 Gold Squad:
Aaron Royle (NSW), Ryan Bailie (WA), Jacob Birtwhistle (TAS), Declan Wilson (ACT), Ryan Fisher (QLD), Calvin Quirk (QLD), Luke Willian (QLD), Matthew Hauser (QLD), Kenji Nener (WA), Matthew Baker (NSW), Matthew Roberts (QLD)
Emma Jackson (QLD), Ashleigh Gentle (QLD), Gillian Backhouse (QLD), Charlotte McShane (NSW), Jaz Hedgeland (WA), Kira Hedgeland (WA), Sophie Malowiecki (QLD), Natalie Van Coervorden (NSW), Tamsyn Moana-Veale (NSW), Grace Musgrove (NSW), Brittany Dutton (QLD)