Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Matt Hauser has shown the world why he is one to watch heading into the Birmingham 2022 Games after winning bronze at the Under 23 World Triathlon Championship in Edmonton, Canada.
The podium finish continues an upward trend for Matt Hauser who finished fourth in the individual men’s triathlon before being part of the gold medal-winning mixed relay team at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Hauser’s major multi-sport event debut at Gold Coast 2018 came on the back of winning the 2017 World Triathlon Junior Championships in Rotterdam as a 20-year-old.
Since then, the Hervey Bay native has gained considerable experience by competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he finished 24th in the men’s individual triathlon.
At the championships, the now 23-year-old showed he isn’t one to die wondering after trying to steal the title straight off the 40km bike leg.
Hauser hit the lead but was eventually run down in the closing two kilometres by Hungarian wonder boy Csongor Lehmann and Germany’s Tim Hellwig.
The closing stages of the Under 23 men’s race saw a perfectly-timed finish from Lehmann with the Hungarian going one better than his 2019 silver to win the U23 World crown after a three-way battle for the podium places for much of the run.
Once Lehmann made the decisive move there was no reply from Hauser and Hellwig who had given their all on a demanding course to win the silver and bronze, while Australia’s other representative Luke Schofield finished in 30th place.
Hauser was up-front with a large group heading into T1 before breaking out over the opening kilometre of the bike section with a group of eleven riders. He then pushed the pace straight out of T2 and took the race on, eager to sign off from the U23 category in style. However, despite his best efforts, he was chased down by Hungary’s 2019 silver medallist Lehmann.
Hauser has joined elite Australian company with his efforts in Edmonton.
Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Brad Kahlefeldt, the first Australia winner in 2002, with Luke Willian (third in 2017) and Declan Wilson (third in 2013) among the other podium finishers.
Hauser showed that there is plenty to look forward to heading into next year as he left it all out there on a day that also saw some more encouraging results.
Hauser’s Gold Coast Performance Centre (GCPC) training partner Kira Hedgeland finished with an agonisingly close-up fourth in her Under 23 World Title tilt.
NSW’s Natalie Van Coevorden produce another strong performance for 12th in the hotly contested Elite Women’s final on her remarkable 10th Australian Team and GCPC’s Brandon Copeland with a rewarding 13th in his Elite Men’s final debut.
Brandon Copeland in action during the World Championship. (Image: Wagner Araujo / World Triathlon)
If anyone deserved a podium finish in Edmonton it was Kira Hedgeland in the Under 23 women’s race. Hedgeland’s chances for a medal disappeared with just one kilometre to go in the run, admitting the result “really hurt” after arriving in Canada determined for a placing.
“I came here determined for a podium place but I can say I am really proud of all three disciplines and I gave it everything I had,” said Hedgeland after a race that saw Frenchwoman Emma Lombardi win the gold from Alberte Kjaer Pedersen (Denmark) and Annika Koch (Germany).
“But I’m in this sport for the long haul – the journey continues.”
The women’s Elite race saw Van Coevorden wrap up her season with a solid 12th placing (giving her an encouraging 14th overall in the WTCS); Kelly Ann Perkins 19th (48th overall) Jaz Hedgeland 28th and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games medallist Emma Jackson (29th/40th in the WTCS).
Van Coevorden certainly gave herself every chance after a strong swim in a race that saw Olympic champion Flora Duffy create history, finishing third to USA’s Taylor Knibb and Frenchwoman Leonie Periault, enough to also take out the WTC Series title for a record-equalling third time.
For Copeland, it was his first World Championship Elite Finals race and he earned the rewards for the hard yards on training track with his 13th place (26th in the WTCS) ahead of New Zealand’s Olympic bronze medallist Hayden Wilde (14th), Royle (15th/19th in the WTCS) and Birtwhistle (23rd/17th in the WTCS).