Victoria based Triathlon Canada is aiming for the podium in each of the race categories entered with its selected group of 12 athletes who will wear the Canadian colours at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Rotterdam, Netherlands, September 14-17.
Earning a coveted spot through the national body’s team selection policy to represent their country at the most prestigious event in a non-Olympic or Paralympic year, Triathlon Canada named a team of five women and nine men who will showcase a new era for the sport in Canada when they bring the maple leaf to the start line in elite, under-23, junior and para-triathlon races.
National Performance Centre athletes coached by Jono Hall – Joanna Brown, of Carp, Ont., and Victoria’s Matt Sharpe – will be the lone two Canadians in the women’s and men’s Grand Final race.
A winner of the bronze medal at both the Under-23 and Junior World Championships in the past, the 24-year-old Brown is now making her mark at the elite level. Brown has enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2017 with two World Cup podiums and back-to-back career-best fourth-place finishes at the World Triathlon Series stop in Montreal again this past weekend in Stockholm, Sweden. Matt Sharpe has also made steady progression in the opening year of the new Olympic quadrennial with two, top-10 finishes on the World Cup including a fourth-place result at the prestigious race in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary and a stellar gold-medal performance in the aquathlon race at the ITU Multisport World Championships in Penticton, B.C.
A Canadian duo, who are also coached out of the National Performance Centre by Carolyn Murray, are representing Canada in the Para-triathlon competitions. Paralympic silver medallist, Stefan Daniel (Calgary), will be looking to reclaim his World Championship title from 2015. The three-time World Para-Triathlon Championship medallist split his time competing in para- and able-bodied races this summer.
Daniel will be joined by visually impaired rookie, Jessica Tuomela (Waterloo, Ont.), and her guide Ellen Pennock (Calgary).
Canada will be a podium threat in the men’s under-23 race category. Tyler Mislawchuk of Oak Bluff, Man., will lead the charge for the red and white. Working his way back into elite racing form after making his Olympic debut one year ago, the 23 year old reigning national champion will be chasing under-23 gold in The Netherlands alongside his Canadian comrade, Alexis Lepage (Gatineau, Que.).
“This is a very young, yet talented and experienced, group of athletes who have made steady progress, and demonstrated over the last year they can perform under some of the most intense conditions,” said Eugene Liang, high-performance director, Triathlon Canada. “These athletes have worked very hard to achieve this honour to represent Canada. Our goals as a team are clear. We want to climb onto the World Championship podium, and they have all demonstrated they are capable of achieving this mark in their respective race categories.”
Canada will also showcase a dynamic group of three women and three men in the junior races.
Desirae Ridenour, the 2017 Continental Junior Champion and triple gold medallist at the Canada Summer Games this summer, leads a powerful team of junior women. The 17-year-old from Cowichan Bay, B.C., who also claimed the silver in last week’s junior women’s duathlon event at the ITU Multisport World Championships, will look to cap off her remarkable season with her best performance of the season at this premiere international race.
Ridenour will be joined by fellow British Columbia resident, Hannah Henry, on the World Championship squad. Henry captured the silver medal behind Ridenour at two international CAMTRI events this summer. Winnipeg’s Kyla Roy, who was a bronze medallist at the Canada Games and Canadian Junior Champion, rounds out the Canadian trio.
The newly crowned Junior National champion, Pavlos Antoniades of Trois-Rivières, Que., headlines Canada’s three junior men selected. Antoniades will be joined by the silver medallist at the Nationals, Michael Milic, of North Delta, B.C., and Victoria’s Aiden Longcroft-Harris.
“Triathlon Canada’s new crop of junior athletes have arrived with tremendous potential and are ready for the next major test of taking on the best in the world in their age category,” said Liang. “This group of youngsters will head to Rotterdam with not only just the goal of gaining valuable international race experience, but with the belief and confidence they can achieve podium-worthy performances.”
Canada has a strong history at the Triathlon World Championships having won five elite medals, three para-triathlon medals, five under-23 medals, and five junior medals since 1991.