The journey to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games takes another important step for Australia’s elite able-bodied and Para-triathletes in Tasmania this weekend.
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Matt Hauser, Gold Coast 2018 Team Member Charlotte McShane, and Tokyo Paralympian Jonathan Goerlach and guide Dave Mainwaring will all use Saturday’s Devonport Triathlon and Oceania Cup and Australian Championships as a first up hit-out towards Birmingham Games.
Hauser was a member of the gold medal winning Mixed Relay team, and finished fourth in the individual race at the Gold Coast Games.
While McShane finished 11th in a red-hot women’s field after being a member of the gold medal Mixed Relay at the 2017 World Championships in Hamburg.
Birmingham medal hopefuls Goerlach and Mainwaring will also have games top of mind on Saturday, chasing World Para-triathlon ranking points, with the first Commonwealth Games PTVI qualification slots decided on rankings at March 28.
Twenty-three-year-old Hauser has fond memories of the 2018 home Commonwealth Games joining Jake Birtwhistle, Ash Gentle and Gillian Backhouse on the Mixed Relay winners podium – also a fast finishing fourth in the individual which saw Birtwhistle take silver.
“Devonport is one of my favourite races on the domestic calendar – the locals treat you as if you are one of their own; it’s like a breath of fresh air,” said Hauser, the defending Devonport men’s champion.
“The weather is cooler and it’s a break from the tropical summer we’ve had on the Gold Coast and I really like the cooler climate.
“The course is a challenge over all three legs with an open water surf swim before a testing bike leg with the hill climb – and hopefully my long legs can get me home in a race that doesn’t always just come down to the run leg,” said Hauser.
“It’s a true test which is what I really like about coming down to Devonport –but don’t expect any world records, I’ll be out to get my legs a good hit out and I’m looking forward to doing it with my training partners Lorcan Redmond and Matt Roberts.
“Our coach Dan Atkins wants us to get in and have a crack but he also wants us to have fun doing it and that’s the attitude we’ll take into the race.”
McShane is former Under 23 World Champion and at 31 she is one of the most experienced and travelled triathletes among the Australian Elites who has contested Devonport in the past; in 2020 where she was 9th; in 2018 when she was third over the Sprint course and 2013 when she was also third across the line in the Sprint.
Saturday’s Sprint course (750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run) is over the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games distance as well which suits McShane but it remains to be seen if it still suits Dutch entrant Lotte Wilms who was seventh ahead of McShane in the 2020 Devonport Sprint race and ninth the year before.
Wilms has now combined her talents over the longer distances and won her second 70.3 race in Geelong Ironman last weekend.
The Australian-based Dutch-born former National swimmer will now call Coolum home after kick-starting her triathlon career in Sydney, dominating Geelong from the outset of the swim last week.
Only switching to triathlon in 2017, Wilms had been trying for a 2020 Olympics spot and was named as a reserve for the Netherlands triathlon team but has since successfully transferred into 70.3 racing.
Wilms’ win in Geelong was all the more impressive with it being just her second ever IRONMAN 70.3 race, after claiming victory on debut at IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast last September.
She was unstoppable at the front in Geelong, finishing in 4:07:41, more than three and a half minutes clear of Amelia Watkinson, with Victorian Grace Thek a further five minutes behind in third.
“It’s crazy, really crazy, but absolutely nice and I really like the IRONMAN races, the feeling is really good, there were a lot of people around today and the Geelong spectators were fantastic, I got so much support, I really enjoyed the race today, especially on the run,” said Wilms, who will squeeze in the Devonport Sprint before another 70.3 Challenge race in Shepparton.
Joining Goerlach and Mainwaring on the star-studded start list and racing over the sprint distance of the Oceania Para-triathlon Cup Devonport are Tokyo 2020 Paralympians – Silver Medallist, world number one and Gold Coast bronze medallist Lauren Parker, Gold Coast silver medallist Nic Beveridge and David Bryant.
Devonport providing the first opportunity to obtain valuable ranking points, ahead of the 2022 Oceania Para-triathlon Championships Stockton and the international season.
Juniors from across the country will also descend on Devonport for the Oceania Cup and Australian Junior Sprint Championships on Saturday, joining elites in Sunday’s Australian Elite Mixed Relay Championships (State of Origin) racing.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place from 28 July to 8 August 2022.
To be in the stands in Birmingham supporting the Australian Team, for the first time Australian families and fans will be able to access group tickets for all events at the Commonwealth Games.
The Family & Fans Tour ensures Australian families and fans can sit and cheer together, stay together and play together at the Birmingham Games.
Tour packages are available; however, numbers are limited.
Bookings are now open, learn more about the Family & Fans Tour below.