Australia boasts some of the world’s best triathletes but there is a gaping hole in the nation’s trophy cabinet where a men’s Olympic medal could sit.
With the announcement of the men’s team for London 2012 today, Australia has that London podium in sight.
Beijing Olympians Brad Kahlefeldt and Courtney Atkinson will make their second Games appearance, joined by young-gun Brendan Sexton.Australian Men's Olympic Triathlon Team Member #1: Brad Kahlefeldt
Kahlefeldt, who was identified for nomination in 2011 after a strong season that saw him win the Hamburg leg of the World Championship series and post a number of other top ten performances.
“It is a great feeling to be selected on my second Olympic Team for London,” Kahlefeldt said.
“Although it was hard to imagine I would be competing in London in a couple months time when I was lying in a hospital bed with pneumonia in San Diego for six days. That was a scare that’s for sure.”
Kahlefeldt has made a steady and strong recovery and is back on track for his Olympic campaign.
“I think the worst of the pneumonia is now over and I am back here in Europe with my training group,” he said. “My lung is improving each day and I am starting to feel stronger again. The Mallorca training camp went well. I was just happy to be back into some training.
“Things are returning to normal and I’m excited, relieved and ready to press on to London from here.”Australian Men's Olympic Triathlon Team Member #2: Courtney Atkinson
Kahlefeldt’s Beijing teammate Atkinson produced a confidence boosting performance when he finished a close up 13th in the recent ITU World Championship round in San Diego.
“To be one of Australia's triathlon representatives at the pinnacle of sport for a second time is very exciting,” Atkinson said
“Throughout the last two year process of selection I have found out so much about myself and my racing. What really makes me tick, what works for me but most of all what's really important to me. You just can't go and buy those experiences.”
Atkinson plans to continue his low-key build-up of training and racing in Encintas, California before heading to Aix Les Bains in France at the end of June for final preparations for the Games.
“In my plans I have always known it's important for me to reach the final few months of preparation in the right condition. That is fresh, strong and healthy. Then I know I can give the final build-up my best.”
“The reason for being in Encintas Cali is it was the closest place I can feel like I am living a Gold Coast life while away from home and the training is good. Helps me stay fresh, healthy and low key.”Australian Men's Olympic Triathlon Team Member #3: Brendan Sexton
Rounding out the men’s team is 26-year-old Sexton who’s gold medal at the 2012 Oceania Championships ensured Australia a third men’s position.
“After a very disappointing DNF in Sydney [2012 World Championship] I had a few days away from training to try and figure out what I had been missing from my Sydney preparation,” Sexton blogged on olympics.com.au in May.
“It took me more than those few days to put my finger on it but with time and some honest thoughts from my closest supporters, it occurred to me I wasn’t missing anything - I had been doing too much. Too much of everything.
“Now…I’ve found my head clear, my body happy and my hunger to chase perfection as insatiable as ever.”
Sexton, the former Maitland (NSW) junior has been based at the VIS in Melbourne in recent years and is currently preparing for his Olympic campaign with the VIS group in Vitoria, Spain.
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