For Queensland’s Bradley Course, this week’s World Junior Triathlon Championships in Germany have been a long 12-months in the making.
Most would be happy to get to the start line and make it successfully around Hamburg’s famed cobblestoned streets unscathed.
But the teenager and his Australian teammates are preparing for a big day out in one of world triathlon’s iconic cities.
Course could not believe his luck when he was shunted into roadside barriers rounding a corner on the bike, in last year’s World Championships in Montreal, suffering a double puncture which eventually forced him out of the race.
The 19 year-old has been on the Australian Junior Team’s 2023 European Tour this past fortnight in a pre-World Championships Staging Camp in Osnabruck in the Netherlands – nestled between Holten, where they raced last weekend, and Hamburg.
Holten proved to be more than just a successful lead up for the Aussies with Course unleashing an impressive second-place place finish in the Elite race; while Jack Crome (QLD) and Rihanna Hepburn (WA) were also impressive in a great day for the Aussies, winning the men’s and women’s Europe Triathlon Junior Cup races.
Australia will field a seven-strong Junior team in Hamburg - four men, Course, Crome, Tom Feldmann (QLD) and Mitchell Blackbourn (NSW) and three women; Hepburn (WA), Emma Olson-Keating (NSW) and Alex Field (NSW).
Triathlon Australia’s National Talent Development Coach, Brendan Sexton reflected on the incidents that dashed the hopes of Course on the eve of this week’s Worlds and the lessons of a European tour.
“Bradley has obviously taken last year’s disappointing day as a really positive experience and to use that as his motivation,” said Sexton.
“He has grown as an athlete and as a person as well and that’s a credit to him as an athlete and his resilience, but also with the support that he has around him under Head Coach Dan Atkins and the team at the TA National Performance Centre on the Gold Coast.
“That’s what we are looking to do with our athletes; it’s to have them in environments that are world class and allow for athletes to progress at a rate where they can fulfil their potential.
“For Bradley to take something like that crash and build through the Australian domestic season, ticking all the boxes and making a bit of a statement.”
Course admitted last year was a tough pill to swallow.
“I have an amazing team and we got back to work after that race, able to put it behind us and put our best foot forward,” said Course.
“I call my team ‘the family’ and what Dan Atkins has put together on the Gold Coast means the world to me and I love rocking up to training every day and it’s like a little tight-knit family living on the Gold Coast so there’s no other place I’d rather be.”
Course said he was “stoked” with his domestic season, which included a win the Elite Oceania Cup race in Port Douglas, against a who’s who of Australian and New Zealand triathletes.
“I ticked the boxes I set for myself… to keep the form internationally in Holten was exciting, and I was happy to see that it’s working in Australia and internationally.
“I discussed with (coach) Dan the possibility of me racing a high-quality Elite field going into Worlds and after Junior Worlds we have to transition into becoming an Elite athlete and part of that is gaining confidence and actual experience, so the more of that I can have the better.”
Along with their individual Junior Worlds Championships, the Australians will field a team of four from the Junior Team in Saturday’s World Under 23/Junior Mixed Relay World Championship.
You can catch the action from the Men’s Junior World Championship on Friday, July 14, from 3:50 AM AEST on TriathlonLive.