By Merryn Sherwood on 05/09/11 at 12:54 pm
They are just starting out in their international careers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep a close eye on the talent in this year’s Junior ITU World Championships. With Youth Olympic Games medallists and previous Junior World Championships medallists in the field, both junior races are set to be excellent in Beijing.
The ITU Junior World Championships are decided over the sprint distance, with a 750m swim, 20km ride and 5km run. The age cut-off for the junior category is 19.
Junior Women Preview
With 2010 world champion Ashleigh Gentle not racing, there are a host of inaugural Youth Olympic Games medallists who will be aiming to come to Beijing and win in 2011.
While they were still one year below the cut-off in Budapest last year, the medallists from Singapore’s Games are now one year older, more experienced and likely to feature on the medal table at the worlds in 2011.
American Kelly Whitley claimed bronze in the individual and team event in Singapore and then almost made the podium in Budapest, finishing fourth and will be a big chance. As will Eszter Dudas was part of the team triathlon gold medal winning Singapore team and claimed silver at the 2011 European Youth Championships. Fanny Beisaron (ISR), has been part of the ITU Development programme this year and also gained valuable World Cup and World Series experience. European Youth Champion Hanna Philippin (GER) will also race, as will European bronze medallist Eszter Pap (HUN).
But British youngster Lucy Hall will have gained confidence after her star swim performances in two recent Dextro Energy Triathlon Series rounds, Hamburg and Lausanne. Hall exited first in both, rode solo for a while in Hamburg before coming back in the group and in Lausanne, rode with current world No.1 Helen Jenkins before falling back into the chase group. Hall ended up finished 32nd in the elite women’s field in that sprint distance race in Lausanne.
Others to watch for include Maddie Dillon (NZL), another Singapore Youth Olympics alum, who will wear number one in the junior women’s race, as well as Ellen Pennock, the Canadian who took the Pan American Junior Championship in Edmonton in July. Tamsyn Moana-Veale will also be a strong contender. The Aussie has won a Junior European Cup in Germany earlier this year and last month finished an impressive ninth in her World Cup debut at Tiszaujvaros.
Junior Men Preview
Singapore Youth Olympic Games medallists again look to be some of the favourites in the junior men’s race, with gold medallist Aaron Barclay (NZL) and bronze medallist Alois Knabl (AUT) both competing, but the one who might have the most influence is the one from last year’s podium that isn’t competing.
Singapore silver medallist and Budapest bronze medallist Kevin McDowell will not compete after undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but his American teammate Lukas Verzbicas has said he wants to win for him. Verzbicas was poised to take up a promising college athletics career before McDowell was diagnosed early in 2011 and he then decided that he would race one more year in triathlon, with an aim to win the gold medal that he was sure McDowell would have won.
Other names to watch for include ITU Development athlete Ron Darmon who finished fifth in the junior men’s world title race last year, South African Wian Sullwald who is coming off a third place in the elite men’s race at the All Africa Games in Mozambique and current European Youth Champion Justus Nieschlag.
The first 2011 ITU Junior World Championships will be decided when the junior women race at 10.45am (local time) on Saturday 10 September. The junior men’s race is the final competition of the 2011 Grand Final Beijing, when they start at 4.15pm on Sunday 11 September. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/triathlonlive.
Find more details about this event - 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Grand Final Beijing