By ITU Admin on 16/10/05 at 12:00 am
Six triathletes have the honour of being the first competitors confirmed to represent Australia at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The Australian Commonwealth Games Association and Triathlon Australia today announced the selection of the triathlon team for the Games, following selection trials at the 2005 world championships in Japan and the final selection trial in St Kilda on Saturday.
World Champion Emma Snowsill (QLD) and Olympic silver medallist Loretta Harrop (QLD) head the talented Australian womens team. They will be joined by current world number one and world championship silver medallist Annabel Luxford (QLD) in what is the most powerful trio in womens triathlon.
The mens team is headed by triple world champion Peter Robertson (WA). The dual Olympian will be joined by Athens Olympics fourth place getter Greg Bennett (NSW) and rising star and world championships bronze medallist Brad Kahlefeldt (NSW).
Snowsill and Robertson earned automatic selection courtesy of their victories at the world championships in Gamagori, Japan, in September. Snowsill collected her second world championship crown, having previously won the title in 2003. For Robertson, the win was his third title, following successes in 2001 and 2003.
Luxford and Bennett confirmed their selection on Saturday, crossing the line as the first Australians home in the top 3 finishers in the final selection trial, whilst Harrop and Kahlefeldt were added to the team by the Triathlon Australia selectors.
Kahlefeldt, Bennett, Snowsill and Luxford will all make their Commonwealth Games debuts in Melbourne.
Triathlon made its first appearance at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 with Miles Stewart winning silver and Nicole Hackett bronze. Loretta Harrop was forced to withdraw from the womens event due to a bike puncture and Peter Robertson finished ninth in the mens race. 2000 Olympic champion Simon Whitfield and fellow Canadian Carol Montgomery collected the mens and womens gold medals respectively.
In announcing the team, Australian Commonwealth Games Association CEO, Perry Crosswhite, said the triathlon at the Games promises to be very competitive.
We believe we have the best triathletes in the world, however medals are always hard to come by as we discovered in Manchester.
Canada, England, New Zealand and Wales provide many of the worlds best triathletes and in the mens event the only two Olympic champions will be competing, Canadian Simon Whitfield and the current Olympic champion Hamish Carter from New Zealand.
However our team will benefit from huge home support, with the triathlon a free event to be held on the first Saturday of the Games (Saturday 18 March) in a spectacular location at St Kilda, Mr. Crosswhite said.
Commonwealth Games Triathlon Team
Greg Bennett, 33, NSW
Brad Kahlefeldt, 26, NSW
Peter Robertson, 29, WA
Loretta Harrop, 30, QLD
Annabel Luxford, 23, QLD
Emma Snowsill, 24, QLD