A world championship first-timer and a long-awaited returnee are among the Tasmanians preparing to represent Australia at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.
Megan Lade and Melanie Hill comprise two of four Launceston Triathlon Club athletes competing at the Gold Coast event, which is expected to attract more than 5000 athletes to Southport Broadwater Parklands between Thursday and Sunday.
While Commonwealth Games star Jake Birtwhistle competes in the elites, Lade (60-64 sprint), Hill (40-44 sprint), former LTC president Oliver Cook (25-29 sprint) and Nathan Jackson (40-44 standard) will also pull on the green and gold after finishing top-25 in their age group in three national qualifying events earlier in the year.
“I’m really excited to be part of that whole competition and be in the worlds,” Lade said ahead of her Thursday race.
“It’s the first time for me, and in my age group there’s about 50 women so it’ll be really exciting to be a part of that.”
Lade said she had called on Hill’s training expertise in the lead-up to the event.
“Melanie’s trained so hard and she’s been really helpful to me to guide me through my running, riding and swimming, and the Launceston Tri Club swim on a Monday night has been really helpful for me to get where I am.”
Hill, who is LTC’s reigning female veteran club champion, is returning to the top level for the first time since 2001 after having a 13-year break from the sport.
“It’s exciting to be back at this level, I went to the worlds in 2001 in Canada so it’s really nice to be back competing,” Hill said.
“I’m trying to fit in similar training to what I was doing 13 years ago - it can be quite time consuming but it’s very enjoyable.
“I think our weather has been the biggest challenge with the open water swimming, but we’ve been doing good sessions up at the pool which I think has got us ready.”
TASSIE ATHLETES IN ACTION
Thursday, September 13: draft legal sprint distance (500m swim/20km bike/5km run)
- Melanie Hill (40-44)
- Rochelle Hammond (45-49)
- Megan Lade (60-64)
- Oliver Cook (25-29)
- Matthew Geappen (35-39)
- Stephen Fenton (60-64)
Sunday, September 16: standard distance (1.5km swim/40km bike/10km run)
- Anna Murton (30-34)
- Sarah Hardy (35-39)
- Danika Bumford (40-44)
- Stuart Page (35-39)
- Nathan Jackson (40-44)