Commonwealth Games Young Guns on Show at Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial
The future of Australian triathlon will be on show at the Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial on 25 February with two of the nation’s brightest prospects, Commonwealth Games team members Matt Hauser and Luke Willian heading up a stunning field.
The Aussie young guns will headline the Gold Coast event, as they have their first major hit out in preparation for the biggest season of their careers (which includes the ITU World Cup Mooloolaba, plus two other Gold Coast events, the Commonwealth Games in April and the ITU World Championships – Grand Final in September).
Hauser is the current ITU World Junior Champion and Willian placed third in the under 23 World Championship in Rotterdam, so their appearance at the Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial will give fans the perfect opportunity to see Australia’s best young triathletes in action.
After a short break Hauser is looking forward to getting back into racing and is particularly stoked to be competing in front of a home Gold Coast crowd.
“I did the Luke Harrop race a couple of years ago and it will be an important one for me this year. I have had a bit of time off with a few niggly things over the past months so it will be good to test my form out.”
“I am really looking forward to getting out and racing again. I am training really well at the moment and I will be able to go out there and not have much pressure on my shoulders and just have a red hot crack. If I do well it will do a lot for my confidence and I will be able to take that onto Mooloolaba and onto Commonwealth Games.”
“Having the Luke Harrop and Mooloolaba races is an ideal preparation for the Commonwealth Games. The Gold Coast course is only 25 minutes away from where I live and it is great to not be worrying about big travel weeks overseas to chase races. The world’s best racing is all on our doorstep with a great opportunity. It is all working out well.”
“The other Commonwealth countries will be looking to target those races as well in preparation and acclimatize to the conditions over here. It will be a very exciting couple of months and I can’t wait to get out and race and test out the pre-season training I have been working on.”
“It is a very exciting time ahead but I need to truly trust executing the processes throughout the racing and that is what I will be doing. My focus is on the Commonwealth Games but the Luke Harrop is a vital part of my preparation. I know that if I give 100 per cent and tick all the boxes then it will be a good day out for me,” Hauser said.
Luke Willian’s 2017 commenced with a bang winning the ITU Mooloolaba World Cup, starting a succession of events that culminated in Commonwealth Games selection. The young Brisbane lad is keen to further capitalise in 2018 and is happy to return to the Luke Harrop Memorial.
“Last season was a real turning point for me. I had been training well but I hadn’t been able to get it to click in races. I had some good results but not in the big races and I was a bit inconsistent. Before Mooloolaba last year I was very disappointed that I didn’t get an automatic selection for the Gold Coast because there were guys on the start list that had never beaten me in a sprint World Cup let alone a World Triathlon Series (WTS) field.”
Willian’s win at Mooloolaba secured him the final sport at the WTS race on the Gold Coast where his sixth place put him well and truly under the gaze of the selectors.
“At the Gold Coast I put my hand up but it all came down to the wire. If I didn’t win Mooloolaba I wouldn’t have got the WTS spot and then I wouldn’t have been able to prove that I wanted the Commonwealth Games spot.”
Willian won the Luke Harrop Memorial two years ago and also won the Luke Harrop bursary that year, so he has fond memories of the race and the Gold Coast course.
“With the Commonwealth Games as the goal we get to pick our preparation races and one of those is the Luke Harrop Memorial race. Luke Harrop, New Plymouth and Mooloolaba are all about two weeks apart and that seemed that the spread of races worked very well for me last year.”
“I love the Luke Harrop race. We get to practice on the course which is a great opportunity for the Aussies. No-one else is going to get that chance because most of the overseas athletes won’t be here that early. I have raced Luke Harrop for so many years, ever since I was a little tacker and I really like the course and know it well,” Willian said.
Text: Noel McMahon | IRONMAN Oceania
Image: IRONMAN Oceania