From Prince Edward Island to Vancouver Island, Triathlon Canada will field 17 athletes who hail from all corners of the country for the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia, September 12-16.
Earning their coveted spots to represent Canada through the national body’s team selection policy, Triathlon Canada named a team of eight women and nine men who will bring the maple leaf to the start line in elite, para-triathlon, under-23 and junior races.
Three members of Canada’s Commonwealth Games squad will toe the line in the elite races. Coming off the second, fourth-place finish of her career at World Triathlon Series Montreal, Joanna Brown (Carp, Ont.) will be the lone woman in the elite field. Brown won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games this spring on the Gold Coast course. She will be joined by Olympian Tyler Mislawchuk (Oak Bluff, Man.), who had a fourth place of his own at WTS Yokohama this year, and Victoria’s Matt Sharpe.
“I am really excited to carry the momentum from Montreal into the Grand Final. Last year, I really got rolling at the end of the season, and I think this year my strength is just starting to show just in time for the Gold Coast,” said Brown, who also won a bronze in both the under-23 and junior World Championship races throughout her career.
“It feels like it was just yesterday that I was here for the Commonwealth Games. I have good memories on this race course, and I know that I can excel in the hot and windy conditions. It’s always a special honour to race the Grand Final/ I love seeing the other young Canadians, many who are competing at their first World Championship! It always makes me think back to my first Worlds in Budapest in 2010 and the magic and the wonder that surround the event. We are all looking forward to wearing the maple leaf with pride.”
Reigning Para-triathlon World Champion, Stefan Daniel, will be on a mission to successfully defend his title next week. The Paralympic silver medallist from Calgary will be determined to add to his career total of two gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the premiere international event in a non-Paralympic year.
Daniel will be joined by a high-powered Para-triathlon squad coached by Carolyn Murray, who are all capable of climbing onto the podium.
“Training has gone really well since I last raced in Edmonton, and I’m excited to try and go for another world title. There’s a lot of guys who have the potential to win, so I’m excited for the challenge,” said Daniel. “Overall, it’s been a year of ups and downs, but I’ve been able to gain some momentum for the past little while. I’m confident in my fitness and I know I’ve done everything I can to be ready. I know that if I leave everything out on the course, I’ll be satisfied.”
Jessica Tuomela (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) and her guide Lauren Babineau (Victoria) will look to put a golden stamp on their first season together. The Canadian duo are coming off their first World Para-triathlon Series victory in Edmonton in the women’s visually impaired category. Jon Dunkerley (Ottawa) and his guide James Cook (Victoria) will be making their first elite appearance at the World Championships along with national team rookie, Kamylle Frenette (Dieppe, N.B.) Dunkerley and Cook swam, cycled and ran to their first international podium in Edmonton when they claimed the bronze. Frenette has finished second in all three of her races this year including a World Cup in France and the World Para-triathlon Series in Edmonton.
Triathlon Canada will also send two men to battle in the under-23 race. National Development Team athlete, Charles Paquet, who just competed in his first World Triathlon Series race last week will be making his fourth appearance at the World Championships. Paquet, who raced the under-23 division last year, won the silver medal at the Junior World Championships in 2016. Martin Sobey, of Charlottetown, P.E.I., will head to the Worlds for the first time in his career.
A six pack of baby Canucks are hungry for the podium in junior racing. Desirae Ridenour (Cowichan Bay, B.C.), who was a member of Canada’s 2018 Commonwealth Games Team and has been competing at the elite level this year at just 18 years old, will lead the charge. Ridenour will be joined by Hannah Henry (Victoria) who will be making her third World Championship appearance and Kira Gupta-Baltzar (Kleinburg, Ont.).
Reigning Junior Canadian champ, Pavlos Antoniades (Trois-Rivières, Que.) will make his second straight appearance at the international dance. Antoniades will line up with Brock Hoel (Kelowna, B.C.) and Ottawa’s Liam Donnelly.
“This is a dynamic group of athletes who bring a mix of international experience and youthful energy to the start line,” said Eugene Liang, high-performance director, Triathlon Canada. “Our focus is clear – to win medals. But this will also be a key measuring stick for our elite athletes on the road to Tokyo, and for our next generation athletes in their continued progression. These athletes have all worked hard to achieve this honour of representing Canada and I know they will do Canada proud.”
National Performance Centre head coach, Jono Hall, will lead the elite team into Gold Coast. Carolyn Murray will guide the Para-triathlon group, while Marc Antoine Christin will coach the under-23 and junior athletes. Luke Way, of Kelowna, B.C., will also join the coaching staff after being selected by Triathlon Canada for a development coach mentorship opportunity. Way will work under the leadership of Jono Hall.