2018 Commonwealth Games Team: Luke Willian
History will be made in April when more than 6600 athletes and team officials from 70 Commonwealth nations and territories descend on the Gold Coast to compete in and celebrate sport during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018). Among the athletes competing, Australia has a strong triathlon contingency ready to mix it up with the very best. We take a closer look at the Aussie triathletes, who will proudly wear the green and gold, and stand on the start line of what is set to be a fast and furious event. Meet Luke Willian.
Date of birth: 11/10/1996
Live/born: Brisbane, Australia
Best performance: Sixth Gold Coast WTS – just missed automatic selection
behind Jake / Winning Mooloolaba World Cup 2017 / Third U23 World Championships 2017
Strengths: Swim, bike and run. Run would be a bit stronger than the others
Something you don’t know about me: I am a big basketball fan and hope I get to catch a couple of games after my race at the Commonwealth Games
What did it mean for you to be selected for the Commonwealth
Games team? Where were you when you got the call? What was your reaction?
It was more of a relief actually. I had a really great season – a lot of work and emotions went into it and I just hoped I had done enough to be selected. It was a dream come true when I got that call and alleviated the stress of not knowing if I had done enough.
I was competing in a triathlon and ocean swim on Hamilton Island and I was about to go to Whitehaven Beach for the ocean swim when I got the call. I couldn’t quite jump for joy at that moment as I had to wait for the official launch at the end of the week, but once the team was announced I was able to celebrate this huge achievement and honour.
What are your expectations of the Commonwealth Games as an event?
The Commonwealth Games are one of those pinnacle events you dream
about competing in during your sporting career, so there are always
going to be high expectations.
Tell me about the importance of racing in front of an Australian crowd?
It is incredible to race in front of a home crowd. I race all over the world and always hear someone cheering ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!’ but to have tens of thousands of spectators cheering for you will have a huge impact. It will be nothing like anything I have ever experienced before. The Aussie crowd makes you dig deeper the more they cheer for you. I can’t wait to experience that feeling.
What are your expectations for the race over the Sprint format?
I am expecting it to be really fast and a close finish. The sprint races always make for exciting finishes as you have no idea who is going to win. It comes right down to the wire.
Does the course/format suit your strengths?
The course and format suit me for sure. Gold Coast in April can be very hot and coming off training through summer I will be ready for the conditions. I have raced the Gold Coast Triathlon since I was 12-years-old, so I know my way around [the course] like the back of my hand, which definitely gives me an advantage.
Given the smaller field and the absence of non-Commonwealth Games athletes, how do you see the race playing out differently to a normal WTS or ITU race?
I see it playing out quite differently to a normal WTS. The race will probably break apart a bit more than normal WTS races with a smaller field but the best are still competing. The Brownlee brothers are competing and they have shown that they are the best at these one-day events. They are both dual Olympic medallists so it will definitely be a fast race.
With the importance of peaking for “one day” in April, what is your preparation for this event?
My preparation for this event is very similar to that of last year’s Gold Coast WTS. I felt like I peaked very well for that seeing there were some obstacles in the lead up to that event – these obstacles won’t be present this time. I tend to do a few lead-up races to get the feel of racing and to really brush out the cobwebs – to make sure I know exactly what I need to do on race day.
How has it changed from your normal early season preparation? What training have you been focusing on specifically?
Nothing has really changed too much –
my coach and I have just tried to step up the training and workload again this year to continue to lift the bar.
Are you looking forward to the Mixed Relay? What is special about this event?
This event is a lot of fun – it’s fast and exciting. It leaves you on the edge of your seat. It is also one of the few chances we get to race as a team, which is very rare in an individual sport. I hope I get to be part of the four that compete in this event.
Lead Image: Barry Alsop | Triathlon Australia