Beau Wootton, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, has rounded out the Commonwealth Games Australia Emerging Athlete of the Month, announced as the recipient for December.
Wootton, who competes in tandem cycling with pilot Luke Zaccaria, secured the bronze medal after defeating Welshman Alex Pope and his pilot, Lloyd Steffan.
For Beau, representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games was a dream that, when realised, far surpassed his expectations, with the crowd in the velodrome providing an exhilarating racing atmosphere.
“It was a real big dream for me to be able to go over and represent Australia, and race the cycling stage, because I haven’t done that before… I thought nationals was a big event, and this was completely different, this was a massive for me,” said Wootton.
“It gave me a buzzing feeling… knowing all the crowd was there, because I also had mum and dad and a few family members there so hearing the crowd roar as you got pushed up to the track, was just phenomenal, it was next level for me.”
Significantly, Wootton and Zaccaria had only been racing together for a short period prior to the Games, nonetheless demonstrating that their partnership was one that led to the podium.
“The time trial was a really tough one for me, because I haven’t done that many time trials, and I’d only ridden with Luke for five weeks prior to Commonwealth Games.”
“For me, being able to race for my team and being on a tandem with such a powerful pilot like Luke… that was quite exhilarating… I think in that space of time we had, I think we did quite well gelling together and I’m hoping we can do it again.”
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Wootton, who took up cycling as part of the Tandem Project, the brainchild of the late Kieran Modra AM, credits the two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist with providing mentorship and inspiration, as he looks to the future of his cycling career.
“Kieran Modra, who was a really big mentor for me for riding, pushed me and I’d really like to try and push this as far as I possibly can… if that means going to Paris in 2024, that would be unreal for me.”
“Now I’ve had this feeling of going to the Commonwealth Games, it’s making me hungry to, you know, try and go for more.”
Like all athletes, Wootton understands and credits his supporters and team for helping him to achieve his goals.
“Thanks to the team at SASI (South Australian Sport Institute) and Cycling Australia, for giving me this opportunity to be able to jump on a tandem and race… and shout out to Luke, for being able to perform on the front, as well as Cameron Jennings (AusCycling) and James Glasspool from SASI, and of course, Kieran Modra too.”
Commonwealth Games Australia has a focus on supporting emerging talent and a history that spans 90 years, including some of sport’s greatest moments.
Over the course of 2022, an athlete was recognised each month as the Commonwealth Games Australia Emerging Athlete of the Month, receiving a $500 gift certificate as a contribution towards their training expenses.
Three finalists from the monthly winners will be invited to the 2023 Commonwealth Games Australia Presidents Function where one will be named the Commonwealth Games Australia Emerging Athlete of the Year.
The annual winner, selected by the Awards Sub Committee will receive a $5000 CGA scholarship toward their sporting career.