Hauser overcomes injury scare to race for gold medal
THE GAMES: Matt Hauser's stunning men's triathlon performance was a surprise to everyone except coach Dan Atkins.
"It's the best fourth-place of my career as coach," the Triathlon Australia head coach said.
The Hervey Bay product kept with the lead pack for most of the race despite Atkins' revelation an ankle injury could have kept the 20-year-old out of the Games team.
Atkins revealed the emerging star had injured a ligament in his ankle, hindering his best discipline, and conceded they were worried it would affect whether or not selectors would take the chance.
"We weren't sure he would even be fit and healthy enough to do the event," Atkins said.
"The selectors gave us the confidence we could get it right."
Hauser repaid the faith, with interest.
He crossed the line 15 seconds behind clear winner, South African Henri Schoeman, and two seconds behind Scotland's Marc Austin for bronze, and while his closeness to the podium shocked many Atkins was not surprised.
"He's such a mature athlete, he knows how to control that," Atkins said.
"For Matt it was staying composed. When he started the run he had a stitch and some people were saying 'well he ran a good race', but once he stayed composed and focused on his breathing and it went away.
"He really pulled it back, it was such an edge of your seat moment."
Hauser will anchor the team of Ashleigh Gentle, silver medallist Jacob Birtwhistle and Gillian Backhouse in today's mixed team relay.
It is an event he has already starred, having won Australia's first world championship alongside Gentle, Birtwhistle and Charlotte McShane at Hamburg last year.
Atkins is confident they can repeat the success.
"He'll be very aware, we've got that red flag on us as we're the world champions, but we're we all have trust and confidence," Atkins said.