Aileen Morrison and Gavin Noble will compete in the first ITU World Triathlon Series race of the year in Sydney this weekend. Morrison gets underway at 10:30 pm Friday night while Noble and the men’s race start at 01:25 am Saturday morning Irish time. Sydney is the first of eight rounds in the ITU World Triathlon Series with the winner being crowned World Champion.
It also provides big points for those such as Noble who are fighting to stay inside the top 55 in the world. Points and places won’t come easy however with both the men’s and women’s field stacked with some 70 athletes and many nations basing Olympic selection off this weekend’s result.
Morrison an OCI scholarship athlete is currently sitting 11th on the Olympic Rankings and cannot drop out of the top 55 required for Olympic Qualification. “I’m still learning a lot about racing and tactics so I’m happy to be going to these big races and gaining experience and hopefully be able to put those experiences to good use when I get to London.” commented Lisburn’s Aileen Morrison.
Morrison goes into this weekend’s race off the back of some good form and a podium finish 2 weeks ago. “I was happy with the result, coming 2nd in Portugal, but maybe I’m being a little bit harsh on myself but for me I think I should have won.” On that occasion Morrison pulled out a 35 minute 10km run, the fastest of the day by a minute after a bruising encounter in the swim and 40km chasing the lead pack on the bike. Morrison is looking forward to testing herself against the best. “Sydney will be a better yard stick as Portugal was a European Cup but Sydney is a World Series race so it’s the cream of the crop and all the top girls will be there.”
Enniskillen man Gavin Noble has been in good spirits after spending a number of weeks training in the triathlon Mecca of Stellenbosch, South Africa and goes into the race with a real focus on getting a solid result. Noble had a good start to the season placing 5th in Barbados however suffered a setback after injury caused him to reduce his run training for a number of weeks. Now back on track Noble lies 44th on the Olympic Simulation and knows he needs to remain consistent and avoid any hiccups along the way.