One of Australian sport’s exciting young all-rounders, Queensland’s 17-year-old triathlete Peyton Craig will experience a rare opportunity when he makes the first of his double-barreled National team debuts in the Americas this weekend.
Craig is part of a seven-strong Australian team that will contest the World Junior Triathlon Championships in Montreal on Friday.
Then the multi-talented Sunshine Coaster will travel down to Cali, Columbia as part of the 60-strong Australian team for the World Junior Athletics Championships where the National champion will run the 1500m in early August.
One of his 2022 highlights came on the track when he lowered his 800m personal best from 1:55.34 to 1:47.52 and he showed his triathlon skills in both Devonport and Werribee to seal a place on the Australian Triathlon team.
The emerging talent, who started his sporting career as a Pacific Schools Games swimming champion in Gladstone, will join fellow Queenslanders Brad Course and Toby Powers and Newcastle’s Liam Dixon in a full quota of boys who will all make their World Championship debuts in triathlon.
While in the girls, Devonport Triathlon winner Chloe Bateup (ACT), an automatic selection on the team, will spearhead a three-member girls group, joined by Emma Olson-Keating (NSW) and Paige Cranage (SA), called up from the reserves bench.
And it will be a special Canadian home-coming for Olson-Keating, born in Toronto before living in Bracebridge, Ontario when at the age of 11 the family moved to Sydney.
Triathlon Australia’s National Talent Development Coach, Brendan Sexton is excited with the opportunities that are finally being afforded to the young and hungry group of athletes post Covid-19 disruptions.
“Peyton has a big couple of weeks coming up with the World Junior Athletics Championships in Columbia after the World Triathlon Championships, off the back of this trip so he is going to be in pretty good shape,” said Sexton.
“It’s a massive opportunity for Peyton and he is still quite young, with time on his side in the (junior) categories in both athletics and triathlon...I’d like to think he is taking it all on board as a big learning experience.
“We’ve had a lot of young athletes (like Jake Birtwhistle) as an example that are super talented and it’s these kind of experiences that give them the opportunity to understand what it takes to be at the top so an amazing experience starting this weekend for Peyton.
“While it’s extra special for Emma who returns to her country of birth and she’s excited about that.
“Emma has showed some real resilience and consistency across the Australian season and this trip will be a big experience for Emma, not having been able to race for a couple of years...she is super positive and looking forward to it.”
Course and Bateup have been in Europe in the lead up to the Montreal World Championships – the Mudgeeraba-based Course securing a podium finish in a European Cup race.
Bateup has been based in Girona, Spain with her training group under her own coach Danielle Stefano.
“Brad has had a massive couple of months on the European Cups circuit which has been good experience for him getting that higher level and greater depth,” said Sexton.
“While Chloe has been getting that pro experience and being in Spain with Danielle leading into this and I think she has always been an athlete that has been very formidable on the domestic scene.
“So anything could happen on the weekend; she’s got a really strong swim and we know she can ride a bike and she won in Devonport so she can definitely run.
“Montreal presents a huge opportunity for Chloe who has been affected by the Covid-19 lack of international racing.
“I know she would have had some international experience under her belt by now but due to a lack of travel she hasn’t been able to get that.
“So Chloe is here to gain some real valuable experience, on what it takes to race on an international level and knowing how she feels across the world and where they are at and where they currently fit.”
Liam Dixon has been in a good environment in Newcastle, alongside his (twin) brother Monty (who is a reserve for Team Australia) and is eager to learn and to take this experience forward.
Runaway Bay Super Sprint winner Toby Powers is a late inclusion in the men’s team after Australia was able to extend its quota spots to four.
“It was a shock for him (to get the call up) and he was always heading to Europe to catch up with the group post the Worlds,” said Sexton.
“So he already had some competitions scheduled in for this week...so he had been working away and I think he will be in top form as well...”
The Montreal experience will be a big trip for Paige Cranage, her first time overseas after she was originally named as a reserve but got the call up following the withdrawal of Tara Sosinski.
With strong performances across Devonport, Runaway Bay and Werribee in the domestic season, the South Australian will be taking the international experience in her stride.
“Paige has a wise head on her shoulders and she understands progression takes time and she’s here to take in as much as she can, to take forward into the under 23 ranks.”
2022 Junior World Championships Australian Team
World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships
24 – 26 June 2022
Brad Course (QLD) (Dan Atkins, QLD Performance Centre)
Peyton Craig (QLD) (Liam O’Neill, NSW Performance Centre)
Liam Dixon (NSW) (Mick Ferris Performance Coaching)
Toby Powers (QLD) (Drew Box)
Reserves: Brayden Mercer (QLD) & Monty Dixon (NSW) (Mick Ferris Performance Coaching)
Chloe Bateup (ACT) (Danielle Stefano, Elotik Pro Triathlon)
Emma Olson-Keating (NSW) (Brett Cooper, Velocity Tri Squad)
Paige Cranage (SA)
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