Images courtesy @ameliarosewatkinson
By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
There will be no Ashleigh Gentle but absolutely no let-up in quality as Amelia Watkinson looks to kick-on from her encouraging silver medal performance in Noosa in the step-up to Ironman 70.3 Melbourne on Sunday.
The Queensland-based Kiwi capped an impressive return from a broken elbow suffered in a bike crash in Europe earlier this year when she was sandwiched between Aussie superstar Gentle (who won her ninth title in 10 years) and Cambridge prospect Hannah Knighton at Garmin Noosa Triathlon a fortnight ago.
It’s a huge confidence booster as Watkinson eyes Sunday’s 70.3 in St Kilda where she’s among the favourites with fellow Kiwi Hannah Berry (nee Wells), The Netherlands’ Lotte Wilms, Czech Radka Kahlefeldt and Aussies Sarah Crowley and Ellie Salthouse.
“It feels extra good to be rewarded when you’ve had to dig so deep for quite some time. Sport is fairly honest and being up there with one of the best in the world at Noosa is great feedback that I am heading in the right direction for 2023,” Watkinson said.
“Of course I would love to win this one but I know it will be a challenging one to get.
“I’m excited for the ladies lineup. This time of year is always an interesting dynamic as we have a few girls coming off ‘A’ form at World Championships, building for IRONMAN, and some coming in a little fresher. It’s nice to get such depth at a domestic race.”
Like the other top seeded athletes, Watkinson is looking forward to the atmosphere of a city-based race this weekend.
“It’s great to have this one within a major city, and embrace some of the crowd atmosphere,” she said. “It’s a fast chip road, flat terrain, and most likely moderate temperatures, there’s no doubt it will be a fast one.”
In the men’s race, Kiwi interest will focus on multisport specialist Sam Osborne (pictured).
The men’s and women’s professional race at GWM IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne will be broadcast live through Outside Watch, with race coverage available for free on Sunday morning via https://watch.outsideonline.com/live-tv