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Initial triathlon shadow team announced

8 July 2007

Triathlon Australia has announced the initial athletes in the shadow team for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

Courtney Atkinson, Brad Kahlefeldt, Peter Robertson, Felicity Abram, Annabel Luxford, Emma Moffatt, and Emma Snowsill qualified based on criteria relating to World Cups from 2006/2007, the 2006 World Championships and/ or points from the National Performance Table (NPT).

Erin Densham was added by discretion due to a number of World Cup podium finishes this season.

Triathlon Australia High Performance Director Bill Davoren said it was a tough standard to be in the initial athletes announced.

“Basically to be named in the first group of shadow team athletes you need to be ranked in the top 15-20 in the world or have won World Cups recently. So the bar has been set very high but that’s what we think it will take to win gold medals,” Davoren said.

Athletes must be on the shadow team to be eligible for nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection. Athletes can be added to the shadow team up until 16 April 2008 so there is still plenty of time for more Beijing hopefuls.

Halfway through the 2007 season and with Beijing just 13 months away Davoren is confident of success in Beijing.

“I’m happy with where we are at. 2006 was a stellar year for Triathlon Australia with World Cup wins, six medals at the Worlds Championships (two elite) and we won both Commonwealth Games races.

“We haven’t got back to the heights of last year with a few athletes going through some slumps. But I don’t think that is such a bad thing for now.”

Davoren understands how tough the challenge is for the current crop of champions to win Australia’s first Olympic gold medal.

“The world of triathlon is getting more competitive. It is going to be very hard to win gold next year but we aren’t shying away from our goal and what we have to do.

“At this point you could name 15 men that could win in Beijing. Most people would say Emma (Snowsill) and Vanessa Fernandez (Portugal) are the clear favourites but in Sydney and Athens virtual unknowns won the gold. The Olympics always throws in something special.”

Commonwealth Champions Snowsill and Kahlefeldt have both had a rough few weeks with injury and illness but are on their way back.

Snowsill made a low-key return to competition in the US last weekend her back injury handled well and Kahlefeldt is training in Europe with a look to return for the next World Cup in Kitzbuhel Austria on 22 July.

Andrew Reid

Return to Beijing Bound

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