Competition for a podium finish will be fierce
TRIATHLON: The bcu Coffs Tri is one week away and the event has attracted a raft of professional triathletes as well as others ready to test their speed and fitness over the Olympic distance course next weekend.
Not only are the professional athletes vying for a share of the $4500 in prize money, they are also taking part because it's one of the most sought after races on the triathlon calendar.
Yamba's Lindsey Wall is a crowd favourite having featured on the podium every year he has competed in the bcu Coffs Tri.
He won the event in 2015 and 2016 and finished second in 2014 and 2017. He is familiar with the course and is in good form, winning the Trial Bay Triathlon two weeks ago.
Other names to watch are 20-year-old Jake Hynes from the Sunshine Coast and pro-athlete Sam Betten from Brisbane, who has been competing on the triathlon circuit for more than 15 years. Betten is a top contender, with wins at the Kingscliff, Robina and Airlie Beach triathlons over the same distance late last year.
Local athlete Isaiah Koopmans, 19, is expected to give the professional athletes a good run for their money. Koopmans was the fastest local over the course in 2018 and the winner of his age group.
He is also the current course record holder over the Coffs Tri Club sprint distance.
Others returning to defend their age group wins from last year are Travis Shields, who was fourth overall in 2018 and winner of the 35-39 category, and Graham Pill, who is the oldest competitor at 77 and is returning to defend his win in the 75-79 category.
The female category sees pro athlete Courtney Gilfillan looking like the firm favourite. Courtney was second in the national championships in 2018 and the winner of the Yeppoon triathlon late last year. She has just been selected on the Australian elite team to compete in the ITU world championships in Spain in May.
Lucy Bowden, bcu's brand ambassador, is fairly new to triathlons and in just four years has racked up some amazing results. Lucy is part of the High Performance Athlete Program at the University of the Sunshine Coast and she finished fifth in the Open category of the Noosa triathlon in November against a very experienced field.
Local triathlete, Melanie Sylvester will be hot on their heels. She is the fastest female over the Coffs Tri Club course and was the fastest local female in the 2018 bcu Coffs Tri event.
Registrations for the bcu Coffs TRI close on February 27. Visit villagesports.com.au.