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Jake Birtwhistle wins Tasmanian athlete of the year

Jake Birtwhistle wins Tasmanian athlete of the year

Jake Birtwhistle saw off competition from five other Commonwealth Games champions and a two-time rowing world championship medallist to claim the award in Hobart on Wednesday night.

“It’s a huge honour,” Birtwhistle said. 

“When I look back I think I’ve had a pretty great year but when I saw who I was up against the award could go to anyone.

“It’s strong competition and very good company to be in.

“It’s been such a big year for Tasmanian sport and to be recognised as a contributor to that is one thing and taking out the award is another.”

A stellar season saw Birtwhistle anchor Australia to team gold at April’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast two days after claiming individual silver.

In the mixed relay event destined to debut at the 2020 Olympics, Birtwhistle also helped Australia to silver at the world championships in Hamburg and gold in the World Triathlon Series event in Edmonton.

He capped his year by finishing third in the WTS, becoming just the second Australian to achieve a podium finish.

“I’m very happy with the year,” he said. “Going in, I set out my goals for the Commonwealth Games and WTS and to come away with those medals was everything I wanted from this year.”

His goal for 2019 is to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

“We have not got the exact qualification criteria yet but there will be a test event in Tokyo and that will probably have allocated spots for the Olympic team so that’s my main priority.”

Birtwhistle topped what was among the most impressive list of achievements in the history of the Tasmanian Athlete of the Year award.