Atkinson's hope of a fourth straight Noosa title goes wrong

Sun, 30/10/2011

At the half way point of the Noosa Triathlon, Subaru Ambassador Courtney Atkinson, thought he was on his way to a record fourth straight victory.

He’d had a strong swim and was moving well on the bike. But then things all went horribly wrong.

“Half way through the bike I thought I’d won it,” Atkinson said at the finish line.

“I knew my training had gone well and my stamina was right on.

“Then it was just like someone flicked a switch and my legs went and I was in trouble.”

“I know that to run out of steam in the middle of the race something just wasn’t right.”

Indeed, Atkinson was paying the price of a stomach problem that saw him in hospital on Tuesday.

While he was prepared to step up at the start and put his reputation on the line, things didn’t work out for him, but the winner from 2008, 2009 and 2010 was still upbeat and philosophical at the end of the race talking to the media pack.

“For me today was what Noosa is all about,” Atkinson said.

“I got out there and had a go and had the crowd cheering me on.

"The swim was good, and everything was panning out perfectly.”

“I'll reassess where I’m at during the week and then work out what I do next.”

The men’s victory went to David Dellow, giving the local crowd plenty to cheer about. It was the first win by a Sunshine Coast athlete in the event’s 29-year history.

Dellow had finished second twice at Noosa, in 2007 and 2008, and he was delighted to have created a special place in the sport’s history.

“I’ve been coming up to this event for about 70% of my life, so to win is a dream come true,” Dellow said.

“For a local to win is great so I hope to see more locals win in the future.

”When I’m an old man I can tell the grandchildren that I won Noosa, and that’s a pretty good feeling.”

Pre-race favourite in the women’s event, the 20-year-old Emma Jackson, had to settle for second place today, having been run down during the final leg by former track athlete, Melissa Rollison.

Rollison made her name as a middle distance runner, winning silver in the steeple chase at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. But injuries from that forced her onto the bike to train, and she is now pursuing triathlon as her sport of choice.

Swimming is her weak leg and she came out of the water nearly three minutes off the pace.

“I knew my bike and run was really strong,” Rollison said, who collapsed at the end of the race and was whisked away by the medical team in the middle of her post-event interviews.

Jackson pushed on and caught her rival at around the 4 kilometre mark, but after another kilometre she knew she couldn’t maintain the pace in the hot conditions in Noosa.

“I found the run leg the hardest,” Jackson said. “But I’m happy to finish second. It’s my final event of a long season.

“I can now have a break and prepare myself mentally and physically for the next year.”

For Jackson, London 2012 is clearly her focus, and she hopes to gain an early nomination for the team on November 1 when officials have the option to name one competitor in what, for the women, is likely to be a three person squad.


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