Olympic hopeful to push case at tri
OLYMPIC hopeful Emma Jackson will use Sunday's Sunshine Coast Enduro Triathlon at Caloundra as a launching pad to the Olympic qualifying race in Sydney in April.
Australia will most likely have three starters in the women's triathlon in London later this year, and they might all be Emmas.
Late last year, 2008 Beijing bronze medallist and 2009 and 2010 world champion Emma Moffatt received the first nomination, Triathlon Australia officials citing her "more consistent results".
That was despite the fact Jackson finished fourth in the 2011 world championship, with Moffatt coming in seventh.
The other Emma looking for a ticket to London is Beijing gold medallist Emma Snowsill, who has struggled for form and battled injuries in the past couple of years.
She will return from her training base in South Africa early next month to contest the ITU World Cup event at Mooloolaba on March 25.
Jackson, the winner of last year's Noosa Triathlon, said the short Enduro format at Caloundra was the perfect way to get her London campaign under way.
"My focus will be the Sydney World Championship series race, but I'm doing the Caloundra race so I can have a good hitout before my major races start in March and to see where I'm at with my training," she said.
"I'd love to represent Australia at the London Games so I'll have to have a good race in Sydney and prove I'm worthy of one of the two remaining spots on the team."
Brisbane-based Jackson has also pencilled in the Oceania Championship in Devonport in early March as a key part of her build-up for the Sydney event.
She will not have everything her own way in the Caloundra event, however, with Great Britain's Liz Blatchford and Buderim's own young gun Chloe Turner looking for a slice of the $8000 prize purse.
Blatchford, second at Caloundra last year, will use Sunday's race to launch her own Olympic campaign.
The men's event will also be hotly contested, with Sandgate's Dan Wilson up against the Sunshine Coast's Ben Shaw.
After a breakthrough win at the 2010 ITU World Cup event in Tongyeong, South Korea, Wilson is hoping to start his 2012 season on a high after a season riddled with injuries in 2011.
The former Australian under-23 bronze medallist said his training was going well after "a shocker of a year last year with injuries".
Shaw said the field for Sunday's race would be extremely competitive as "many of the guys are preparing for what is essentially an Australian Olympic trial in Devonport in early March".
"To be a part of such a quality field will be fantastic. If I can contribute to the race in a positive way, that will be great," Shaw said.
"It's not often that so many quality competitors are in the one race. The level of competition will really benefit every athlete."
As well as the men's and women's events, Sunday's action will also include race five of the Gatorade Queensland Tri Series.
It has two distances for competitors aged 13 to 80 plus, and one category especially for kids.
- Elite female race starts at 9.45am, Sunday
- Elite men's race starts at 10.40am
- Kool Kids Tri starts at 6.45am
- QTS race starts at 7.30am
- Venue is Woorim Park at Golden Beach