TRIATHLON: Not even a record Fujifilm Hamilton Island Triathlon field could stop Olympic hopeful Jake Birtwhistle from winning Saturday's event.
The world under-23 triathlon champion clocked the hilly course, a 750m swim off Catseye Beach, 20km bike ride and a 5km run, in 1.05.37 hours, to claim victory from open men's runner-up Drew Box and open women's champion Emma Jeffcoat.
Birtwhistle, 20, said the course's testing nature meant he didn't fully appreciate the surrounding sights, which included a ride down the airport's runway and a sprint finish along Catseye Beach.
"You don't get to appreciate it as much when you're racing," he said.
"I've been around here for the last few days and seen as much as I can. I've absolutely loved it; I'll definitely be coming back.
"It's an awesome course, riding on the airport runway was unreal... you don't get the chance to do that very often.
"I definitely expected it to be hard, especially with that course," he said. "It's definitely one of the tougher courses I've done with all the hills - they are brutal.
"Overall I'm pretty happy. I swam well, rode well and I made my way to the finish on the run, which was good."
The Launceston product will now head to Falls Creek for a base training session ahead of the next triathlon season, when he hopes to continue his improvement in a bid to make the Australian Olympic team for the Rio Games.
Open: Men - Jake Birtwhistle; women - Emma Jeffcoat
50+: Men - Brett O'Neill; women - Gill O'Malle
40-49 years: Men - Matt Young; women - Deonne McMurtrie
30-39 years: Men - Paul O'Brien; women - Nadiele Kolb
20-29years: Men - Andrew O'Connor; women - Elyse Foster
14-19 years: Men - Brady Goodyear; women - Emma Hogan
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