2018 Commonwealth Games stars Matt Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle and Gillian Backhouse will return to a happy hunting ground on Thursday, as they prepare to compete in the fast and furious mixed relay race at the Gold Coast Performance Centre.
Hauser, Gentle and Backhouse teamed up with Jake Birtwhistle to win gold ahead of England and New Zealand in the mixed relay event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Gentle put in a spectacular performance that day, converting a 15 second deficit on the bike into a 39 second lead in the run before handing over to Birtwhistle for the final leg.
On Thursday, Hauser and Gentle will be teaming up again, under the team name ‘The Runaway Baes’, while Backhouse will be paired with Nicholas Free in team ‘Slow and Steady’.
Fellow Gold Coast 2018 alumni Charlotte McShane (11th in the Women’s Triathlon) and Luke Willian (8th in the Men’s Triathlon) will also be competing. McShane is paired with rising Queensland young gun Lachlan Jones under the name ‘Fire and Ice’ and Willian will be teamed up with Danielle De Francesco with their team name ‘Running from Rona’.
Speaking on the mid-week event, Hauser said that he’s looking forward to putting it all on the line with teammate Gentle, while also having a bit of fun.
“Having the opportunity to race at our training venue is always a good thing…I’m very grateful and very thankful to have racing on our doorstep,” Hauser said.
“To have the [Mixed Relay Invitational] at home and for friends and family to be able to come and support us…it’ll be a good opportunity to have a bit of fun, but there’s also a bit on the line with prize money, so it’d be rude for us not to shoot for the stars as well.”
“It’s also an amazing opportunity for the Juniors and U23 athletes coming through to compete alongside us and to see the standard at the top of triathlon in Australia.”
“As a Junior growing up, having the opportunity to race in the 16-19 category where I was racing much older and more mature athletes like Jake Birtwhistle, it definitely set a standard for me to work towards.”
After the Australian team had to miss the Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg earlier this month, Thursday’s event shapes as a perfect practice run as athletes prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, where the mixed relay will make its Olympic debut.
The Mixed Relay Invitational will take place on the Gold Coast on Thursday September 24. Athletes will compete in teams of two, participating in a heat race across the morning, before progressing through to Finals in the afternoon.
Follow @TriAustralia for the results.
With Triathlon Australia.