Birtwhistle tuned to win

LAUNCESTON triathlete Jake Birtwhistle has added another victory to his growing list of international credentials by taking out the 2014 Larache ITU sprint triathlon African Cup in Morocco at the weekend.

The 19-year-old rising star completed the 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike and 5km running legs in 58 minutes and 47 seconds to win the elite race.

Spaniards Jesus Gomar and David Castro Fajardo filled the minor placings.

The win followed Birtwhistle's world title victory at the ITU duathlon championships in Spain earlier this month.

He is competing in Europe with his Wollongong-based training group under New Zealand coach Jamie Turner as he prepares to represent Australia at the world junior championships in Canada in August.

The national junior champion was bemused that race officials mixed up our national anthem at the post-race podium presentations in Morocco.

``Waltzing Matilda isn't quite the Australian anthem, which explains my expression while on top of the podium today. Happy to get a win here in Larache though. I'd come here again, it's been fun,'' Birtwhistle posted on Facebook.

Triathlon Australia national high performance pathway manager Craig Redman said the race win was important for the maximum ITU points gained which would boost Birtwhistle's ranking and start position at the junior worlds.

``That would pretty much guarantee him a very high ranking going into the worlds,'' Redman said.

``At previous worlds the start and transition positions have been picked randomly and Jake ended up getting position number 76 out of 81 at the last one in London.

``The ITU realised that was unfair and have reverted back to a ranking system so ITU points are critical and gives you a prime position in the transition area.''

Birtwhistle's next events are expected to be a longer Olympic distance ITU Holten European Premium Cup Triathlon in the Netherlands on July 5 and the ITU Geneva European Cup triathlon in Switzerland on July 20.

Fellow Launceston triathlete Jonathan Butler also competed in Morocco and finished 29th, in 1:05.15.

Launceston triathlete Jake Birtwhistle claimed the Larache ITU sprint triathlon African Cup in Morocco at the weekend.

Launceston triathlete Jake Birtwhistle claimed the Larache ITU sprint triathlon African Cup in Morocco at the weekend.

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