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https://www.trizone.com.au/20210615/australia-has-successfully-secured-six-triathlete-spots-for-tokyo/?fbclid=IwAR0AzGaF4P2r9LI8nQO-OzdmbaDFvmqBmL6_2GJDpmxtASflcAmHrxRM3OY

Australia Has Successfully Secured Six Triathlete Spots For Tokyo

Shawn Smith by Shawn Smith
     
Reading Time: 5 mins read
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The overall qualification period performances under an ever changing pandemic cloud of uncertainty will ensure the maximum number of Australian triathletes are presented with Olympic blazers. And according to Triathlon Australia’s Performance Director Justin Drew it will not only provide his team with a level of protection over the three medal events but it also gives them options in being able to look at what is necessary to challenge for a gold medal in the newly added Mixed Relay competition two hours prior to the start. “It’s been quite the ride to qualify three men and three women, and we are the only country in the world to do that,” said Drew. 

“I know sport is about performance and we’ve got a job to do in Tokyo but outside that it means two more triathletes get an Olympic experience, and two more athletes will have the honour of representing their sport and their country and that should not be lost given the period we have been through.

“What it also gives us are the options that we wanted to ensure we had on the ground in Tokyo and some protection around relay performance which is obviously a major priority for Australia.

“So given the impact Covid will have on the Village, competition rules, and the late athlete replacement policy, having those six athletes in the Village provides us an advantage over other nations.

“There are a couple of different regulations that are in place around Tokyo but the most significant one is the timing of the late athlete replacement around the Relay. The window for that to be done based on medical considerations closes just over two days out from competition.“

“That could mean if you only have four athletes (two female and two male) and once you are in that two day window that it is very difficult to account for anything unforeseen and your team may never make the field of play.”

The competition scramble for Olympic qualification points for National Federations came down to a nail-biting affair after Queensland young guns Jaz Hedgeland and Luke Willian earned maximum points with their victories in the Oceania Triathlon Championship in Port Douglas over the weekend.

Hedgeland’s win confirmed Australia had earned three female quota spots – and even though Willian won it was still mathematically possible for Australia to drop out of the top 30 in the last World Triathlon race of the period.

All eyes turned to Mexico and the final race of the qualifying period on Sunday night – the World Triathlon Cup Huatulco with Australia’s Aaron Royle and local hero Cristano Grajales facing off for the much sort after points.

If Grajales finished on the podium then Royle would have to finish in the top seven to earn enough points to keep three Australians inside the top 30 and keep the Americans out.

With the race due to start at the 11th (and final) hour of the qualification period (11pm Sunday night AEST) Royle woke up with a stomach upset and was forced to withdraw from the race in the early stages – after flying in from Spain.

Australian officials watching on Triathlon TV back home in the early hours of this morning faced a nervous wait – relieved when Grajales missed the podium, finishing seventh. 
It wasn’t enough to improve Grajales score and that saw Australia hold off the Americans by a narrow six points gap.
Royle, the boy from Newcastle flew from his European training base knowing he had a job to do to maintain his positioning. Drew admitted it was a tense time.
 
Edited by Peter
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Who will they give those 6 spots to? will they go to the athletes that qualified them or to chosen others? Should be finding out soon. The 6 athletes with the rankings that qualified the spots are Birtwhistle, Royle and Willian. Women. Gentle, Vancoverden and Hedgeland.

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1 hour ago, Trier said:

Who will they give those 6 spots to? will they go to the athletes that qualified them or to chosen others? Should be finding out soon. The 6 athletes with the rankings that qualified the spots are Birtwhistle, Royle and Willian. Women. Gentle, Vancoverden and Hedgeland.

As clear as it gets. This should be the team - the top 6 rankings this time. 

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36 minutes ago, Bosco said:

As clear as it gets. This should be the team - the top 6 rankings this time. 

I agree this time, some athletes chose to go overseas and race to try to get the 2nd and 3rd spot. Others were just lucky that somehow,  very late  in the equation,  Aus managed to be allowed to hold a continental champs. The athletes that stayed home  and raced this one got way easier points than those racing WTS, I hope those that did all the hard work and took all the risk don't get screwed over. This Olympic selection should be a bit different to others in my opinion. 

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1 hour ago, Trier said:

I think they have forgotten the Olympics are almost here. Either that or there is a lot of shit going down with these decisions.

It should be straight forward, but as usual I guess they are going to select someone that shouldnt be going.

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1 hour ago, AA7 said:

I'd take Hauser over Royle.

Agree.  I just think Aaron is just along for the ride. 

I almost wonder was he sent to mexico to be a team player, already knowing he wasn’t part of the olympic team and therefore the stomach issue was his personal protest in saying FU TA. 

Edited by Peter
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Along for the ride?. Doubt he would have gone through Every thing required to get overseas and travel to the races for those points if he was "Just along for the ride". Stomach issues are pretty common when racing in some countries, water quality can be pretty bad. Aaron had already earned the top 30 place with the races he had competed in fu5ring 2018, 19 and also 2021 leeds. In my mind those that chose to stay home when, at the time they left, there wasn't an Oceania race to compete in for points are those "Along for the ride" 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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