Aileen Morrison will look to finish off her triathlon season in style at the ITU Grand Final in Auckland this Saturday.
The Grand Final is the pinnacle of the World Triathlon Series attracting all the top competitors.
The only notable absentee is Olympic gold medallist Nicola Spirig, who has not raced since her London performance.
The world title will be contested by Sweden’s Lisa Nordon, who has been all conquering since the Olympic Games, and Australia’s Erin Densham, who currently leads the series.
New Zealand’s own Andrea Hewitt is also in the mix, but would require Nordon and Densham to finish no better than eighth place.
Derry’s Morrison currently lies 15th in the series, but is within striking distance of the top ten thanks to the bonus points on offer.
Morrison was a solid 14th in Japan three weeks ago, sticking with the lead pack until the start of the run; her run let her down on that occasion and she slipped down the field.
On route to Auckland, Morrison planned to take in the Hong Kong Asian Cup; however, she pulled out as a precaution when a mild cold developed after the long-haul travel.
Triathlon Ireland’s high performance director Chris Jones suggests Morrison will be looking forward to the race.
Jones said: “It’s been a long hard season and everyone’s tired at the end of an Olympic year, but Aileen is looking forward to the final race of the season.
“A good performance could elevate her into the top ten or gold group as it’s known, but a top-12 finish in the world series would be an excellent result.”
The Auckland course sees athletes take in a two-lap 1.5km swim by Queens Wharf in plain sight of a large crowd.
The swim is followed by a 40km bike leg where the women will be met with a gradual climb, followed by a sharp peak, which must be tackled eight times.
The four-lap 10km run takes place in downtown Auckland.
Con Doherty competes in the Junior World Championships
Westport youngster Con Doherty will be competing in the Junior World Championships having qualified thanks to a host of top international results.
Doherty, who was spotted at a Triathlon Ireland talent ID day in 2010, will be one of the youngest athletes in the race at just 16-years-old.
“It’s all about gaining experience racing at this level. Doherty is one of, if not the, youngest athlete in the field, but if he can race to the best of his ability a top-20 finish is on the cards,” commented Jones.
Emma Davis second in World Aquathlon Championships
Morrison, Doherty, and the forty-strong age group team who have travelled to Auckland, received a boost ahead of their race after watching Ireland’s first Olympic representative in the sport of triathlon, Emma Davis, claim second place at the World Aquathlon Championships, which took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Davis went into retirement after her 2011 season was spoiled by illness, but made a successful return to elite racing in the swim–run format race.
Davis exited the 750m swim with a narrow lead, but was outrun over the 5km course by New Zealand’s Nicky Samuels who went on to win in a time of 33:02. Davis followed home in 34:32 with Croatia’s Tea Milos a further 30 seconds back.
The elite women’s ITU Grand Final race takes place on Saturday morning.
The junior men’s race takes place on Sunday, while the age group race takes place on Monday.