Craig Walton got back to his winning ways in Triathlons Australian Sprint Championships in Hobart this just holding off strong competition from some of the top ITU triathletes in the sport. In second place was Courtney Atkinson just 13 seconds back with Brad Kahlefeldt coming in third.
In what was described as blistering conditions, 31 year old Walton charged to the front of the pack during the swim (750m) and maintained his position in the lead pack for the remainder of the race.
Joining Walton straight out of the swim, were younger competitors Clayton Fettell of New South Wales and Jamie Seear of Queensland, fast exits of the water and smooth transitions helped both younger competitors stay with Walton for the first half of the eight lap (20km) bike leg.
The second pack to emerge from the swim included Brad Kahlefeldt, Simon Thompson and Courtney Atkinson. Even working together all three found themselves racing amongst the rest of the pack for the majority of the cycle leg, remaining well behind Walton.
It was two laps into the run leg (5km) that saw sprint champion Atkinson increase his pace and rapidly chase Walton down, with Kahlefeldt not giving up either. In a final fight to the finish it was Walton hitting the last hill in the run leg and sprinting towards the finish line winning 13 seconds ahead of Atkinson.
You know I didnt come down here to win, but the victory feels pretty good, said Walton after the race.
I am feeling pretty good after the race and this win is a great way to start my season. “
People think that when you hit your thirties that youre on the way out but today I think I showed them that ten years on I still have it in me.”
There is a long way to go now until Beijing and the hard training starts now especially with the Australian Championships just around the corner, said Walton.
In the womens event Annabel Luxford from Queensland looked like she has the title wrapped up well and truly with a strong start and maintaining a very strong lead ahead of the rest of the elite pack right throughout the cycle leg.
With a one minute lead at the start of the run leg Luxford appeared to be gliding home with Erin Densham looking like she would claim second place. However Densham had first place in her sights and in sensational speed hunted Luxford down taking over from the multiple world cup winner in the second last lap of run. Densham in true form sprinted home finishing in a time of 1:03:16 leading Luxford by 26 seconds. Third place was taken out by 2006 World Championships Bronze medallist Felicity Abrams in a time of 10456.
The conditions out there were hot and uncomfortable today, said Densham at the finish line.
However I worked my way through it and knew that I could make up time in the run leg, it is my fastest leg and I am pretty happy with my win today.