Launceston's Jake Birtwhistle ready for world triathlon grand final

NO ILLUSIONS: Launceston triathlete Jake Birtwhistle is primed for his biggest triathlon event of the year on Saturday in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Picture: Scott Gelston

NO ILLUSIONS: Launceston triathlete Jake Birtwhistle is primed for his biggest triathlon event of the year on Saturday in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Picture: Scott Gelston

Launceston triathlete star Jake Birtwhistle is set to spearhead Australia’s charge at the ITU world triathlon championship grand final.

The in-form Australian over this year’s elite triathlon circuit is part of an exciting eight-strong national team for the Rotterdam race that includes Olympians Aaron Royle, Ryan Bailie, Ashleigh Gentle and Emma Jackson.

Birtwhistle is one of more than 270 Australian competitors to converge this weekend at the renowned triathlon city in the Netherlands.

The one-time under-23 world champion back in 2015 – aged just 20 – has set his goals high for the world championship showdown.

He is sitting inside the top 10 of the world rankings and is keen to be a member of a successful Australian team. 

“At the beginning of each year, the grand final is always our priority race,” he said.

“So I will definitely be in Rotterdam ready to perform.”

SUPERSTARS: Launceston-born triathlon Jake Birtwhistle (second from right) with fellow Australians Charlotte McShane, Ashleigh Gentle and Matt Hauser. Picture: Triathlon Australia

SUPERSTARS: Launceston-born triathlon Jake Birtwhistle (second from right) with fellow Australians Charlotte McShane, Ashleigh Gentle and Matt Hauser. Picture: Triathlon Australia

Birtwhistle, who recently has been training in Spain under internationally acclaimed coach Joel Filliol and alongside Spain’s defending world champion Mario Mola, has easily been Australia’s best performed male in 2017.

He is just coming off brave second-place finishes in both Edmonton and Hamburg races, as well as playing the role of the anchorman towards the Australian team’s relay gold-medal performance at the German city.

Such consistency on the world stage has guaranteed the ex-Riverside High student an automatic Commonwealth Games spot for Gold Coast 2018 after missing out on the Rio Olympics.