• To Birmingham 2022

Hauser starts Birmingham Commonwealth Games Triathlon push with win

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Roger Vaughan / AAP News
Image: Triathlon Australia

The Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist starts his 2022 campaign with victory in Tasmania and now turns his attention to qualifying for the Birmingham Games.

 

Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist Matt Hauser’s push for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games selection has started with the successful defence of his Australian and Oceania short-course triathlon titles.

The 23-year-old Tokyo Olympian held off Callum McClusky on Saturday to win the Devonport race.

Sydney’s Matilda Offord took out the women’s race for the 22-year-old’s first win at the elite level.

Hauser, who also raced at home in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, took out the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run event in 53 minutes 34 seconds.

McClusky finished in 54:10 for second and Hauser’s training partner Lorcan Redmond was another eight seconds back in third place.

It was a handy boost for Hauser ahead of the Gold Coast Triathlon on April 3, the first automatic nomination race for the Birmingham Games triathlon team.

“It was hard out there, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty puffed when I finished off but that was due to the work I’d done earlier in the race so I was pretty pleased with the way I set myself up,” Hauser said after his first major race of the year.

“It’s a great confidence booster and I can move forward knowing that the form’s there and continue to build into the training which is a positive for me and hopefully I can get on the top step in a few more races.”

Offord, who won the under-23 category at Devonport last year, stepped up to take out the senior women’s race.

She is aiming for automatic Australian under-23 selection at the Mooloolaba Triathlon in a fortnight for the world titles.

Offord won in one hour one minute 53 seconds, with 2018 Commonwealth Games representative Charlotte McShane second at 28 seconds and Sophie Linn another 12 seconds behind in third.

“I’m just stoked to win my first Elite race just a month into joining Liam and after winning here in the Under 23s last year so it’s good to get the top step in the Elites,” said Offord, who set up her win with a strategic ride on the bike.

“I’m one who likes to pace myself off the bike and I just settled in and found myself in front and then just took one step at a time after that, with the bike being more strategic rather than use of brute strength.

“The girls weren’t too keen on rolling through; they were either hurting or I was just feeling good and thankfully it was the latter.”

Hauser and Offord will now set their sights on the Gold Coast Triathlon on April 3, the first automatic nomination race for the Birmingham Games triathlon team.

In the Para-Triathlon, a new name has inserted himself into Birmingham Games contention with Tokyo vision impaired Paralympic runner Sam Harding showing why he is regarded as “the real deal” with his switch to Paratriathlon in Devonport.

Harding, with guide Luke Harvey scored their first win in their first race together, winning the Oceania Cup in fine style despite dropping a chain on the bike, which robbed them of valuable time.

The 31-year-old Perth-born Canberra-based athlete only met his guide, Brisbane triathlete Harvey at Melbourne airport en-route to Devonport last Monday.

The pair spent the week getting to know one another, working together on the tandem race bike and getting their tethers (which link them together on the swim and run) made after visiting the local Spotlight store in Devonport.

And the Tokyo Games 1500m finalist also received some encouragement from one of his rivals, in Tokyo Paralympian Jono Goerlach who called him “the real deal” on the eve of the race,

Goerlach admitting that Harding had a deadly run leg and despite the chain mishap, still relegated Goerlach to second place ahead of Paralympic legend Gerrard Gosens.

“I figured if there was a year to potentially have a little bit of a break from athletics….do some cross (racing) and have a bit of a rest almost, it was going to be this year,” said Harding, who said noted Paralympic swim coach Yuri Vdovychenko, had taught him to swim.

“When I moved to Canberra in 2010 I could hardly swim a lap at all and now I’m doing paratriathlons (and a 750m swim) out in the open water,” said Harding.

“I’ve still got heaps to improve on but I’m lucky to have Yuri in Canberra in the pool, my running coach Philo Saunders as well as triathlon coach Megan Hall.

“Jono has been really encouraging, I met him back in 2014 or 2015  and we’ve kept in contact.

“And then after Tokyo I mentioned to him that I was going to try and do some triathlons and see how it went and so he’s been helping me and letting me know how everything works; he’s been really good.”

Never-say-die Tokyo Paralympic silver medallist and Gold Coast 2018 bronze medallist Lauren Parker has again defied her doctors and overcome the odds to win her wheelchair class in today’s Oceania Paratriathlon Cup in Devonport, showing why she is one of Australia’s toughest athletes.

The 33-year-old wheelchair triathlete had to ensure her recently skin grafted foot was safe and completely dry, as she prepared for a 750m swim, before the 20km hand cycle and a final five kilometres in her racing wheelchair.

Three layers of special coverings under knee length waterproof booties provided the necessary protection in training and in today’s race.

It was all this single-mind world champion needed before being carried into the Devonport surf by her expert handler Dave Robertson for the start of the race.

“I haven’t had the best preparation with a lot of ups and downs, suffering further burns to my foot after recovering from five months of dealing with third degree burns to my toes suffered in the US,” said Parker, who has a steely reserve to get the job done.

“I’m actually lucky to still have my toes and I just recently had the skin grafts on my foot only a week and a half ago.

“So I’ve had to deal with that during the race today and make sure you know, the skin grafts were safe and covered and fully waterproofed in the swim.

“I make it possible and I always find a way to get it done even though I’ve had a lot of injuries like that. I’m happy to be here and have the opportunity to race because I haven’t raced since November.

“But it is what I love for sure, I’m a racer and I just love being a triathlete and racing and that’s what, what I what I do, I love it and I love being here in Devonport.”

Caroline Baird (PTVI), Nic Beveridge (PTWC), Glen Jarvis (PTS2), Jeremy Peacock (PTS3), Liam Twomey (PTS4), David Bryant (PTS5) and Molly Wallace (PTS5) also put together great performances to take the win in their respective classes for the Oceania Triathlon Para Cup.

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