A swag of elite triathletes have come on board for this month’s Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival.By Jared Loughnan
2012 Under 23 World Champion Aaron Royle has joined Australian Triathlon “golden girl” Grace Musgrove in signing up for the popular Yarrawonga Mulwala event to be held on the 19th and 20th October.
Royle, who recently qualified for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, will arrive in Yarrawonga after finishing 11th overall in the World ITU Championships.
Royle told his followers on Twitter last Friday that he had signed up to do the Yarrawonga Mulwala event which he has “heard good things about it”.
The Wollongong-based triathlete was at long odds to compete again in 2013, let alone qualify for the Commonwealth Games.
After lying quarantined in a Spanish hospital for 10 days with an undiagnosed illness and a 12-millimetre hole in his lung, his maiden Games hopes looked in tatters. With a serious bout of pneumonia the under-23 world champion was on the brink of giving up his second season on the world stage.
‘‘I wasn’t even thinking about triathlon I was only thinking about getting healthy. It was a pretty scary time and I definitely thought my season was over,” Royle said.
Fortunately for Royle, a swift diagnosis and treatment meant he was back training in quick time. But the illness brought a new perspective on his competitive season.
‘‘It was strange, a lot of people were like ‘How did you get through that time? How did you stay positive?’
‘‘It was just simply because everything I was doing after the illness I looked at as a positive because I thought my season was done,’’ Royle said.
Royle’s first Commonwealth Games appearance is a stepping stone on his path to another career goal – a place at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
‘‘Obviously the Olympics are the biggest sporting event, that is my main goal over the next three or four years, but I will be able to use the Commonwealth Games as experience in a major competition,’’ he said.
Grace Musgrove is tipped as an upcoming champion in the sport after her impressive results in 2013 when she also represented Australia in the Under 23 World Championships in London.
Musgrove recently finished second place in Geelong Oceania Cup, third at the Wellington Oceania Championships and won the Mooloolaba Oceania Cup.
Triathlon Victoria Executive Officer Simon Auty confirmed the news to Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism on Friday and said the registrations were very strong for the Multisport Event.
“Registrations are still travelling strongly and are expected to double from a total of 348 entered in 2012,” Mr Auty said.
“There are already over 300 entered in the flagship Olympic Triathlon. Other numbers include 70 plus for the sprint distance for Sunday morning and 70 plus for the Aquathlon on Saturday.”
Recently the Multisport Event was awarded status as a national Olympic distance qualifying race. Each year there are eight races around Australia that are awarded this status. The Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival is the only Olympic distance event selected in Victoria.
Mr Auty said the Yarrawonga event will be the first qualifying event in south eastern Australia for the 2013-2014 seasons.
“We will look forward to hosting some of Australia’s best triathletes seeking to get early season points on the board,” he said.
Athletes wishing to compete at the 2014 ITU Triathlon World Championships in Edmonton, Canada need to accumulate points at these races to gain selection to the Australian team.
Last year’s Multisport Festival men’s event was taken out by Peter Kerr who then went on to become the Australian Sprint and Olympic Distance Champion of 2013.
“This year there will be stiff opposition and we are looking forward to a hotly contested event,” Mr Auty said.
“The Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival is becoming a very significant event as it includes the national Olympic qualifying distance race and the National Aquathlon Championships.
“Triathlon Victoria is excited to be working again with Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism and race director Limelight Sports to deliver this rapidly growing event,” Mr Auty said.
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