Athens Triathlon Olympic gold medalist Kate Allen of Austria has announced she has her sights set for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to try and defend her title. Allen has been absent from the world cup circuit since early 2005, choosing to focus on long distance events, confirmed she will race the 2007 and 2008 BG Triathlon World Cup series to try and qualify for the Beijing.
I always said I would go back to short course, said Kate, who, after winning gold in Athens, shifted to Ironman distance racing. Its quite exciting to be back for short course. I dont know whats in store for me.
The Australian born triathlete has dabbled in various distances since she began racing in 1996. In 2002 she turned competitive and dabbled in the world cup and Ironman series. Her first race of 2003 saw Kate on the podium at the Hamburg World Cup, finishing second amongst a very competitive field. With three top ten placings in the 2003 season, Kate was the top Austrian woman on the circuit and was named to the Olympic team.
I didnt expect to qualify last time, stated Kate. But there was not the depth there is now in Austria.
Kates current teammates Tania Haiboeck and Eva Dollinger, both with breakthrough seasons in 2006, are placed in the top 20 of the world cup rankings and top 26 of the Beijing qualification at the moment.
I will need a few top five results to get to go to the Olympics, Kate calmly said from her training base in Melbourne, Australia. Because [Tania and Eva] are so far ahead in points and have top fives, Im going to have to have better results. I will be focusing on bringing a third spot to the womens team.
To do so Kate will either have to win the European Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of June, a top three finish at the 2008 world championships in Vancouver, Canada or accumulate enough Olympic points to move into at least the top 50 of the Olympic ranking. None an easy task as competition is fierce on the world cup circuit with the dynamics of womens racing ever changing.
Racing short course has changed so much, commented Kate on the now common large bike packs and sub-34 minute 10k runs, a rare feat before 2004. I really need to work on my swimming to catch up. Before 2004 it was easier to work back from a slow swim. Now if you are not in that front pack [chuckle] it is not good.
Kate intends to race the world cup season opener in Mooloolaba and then the Ishigaki BG Triathlon World Cup three weeks later before heading back home to Europe. She hopes to race eight to ten world cups this year, mostly in Europe and Asia, as well as the European championships in Denmark and the world championships in Germany. The Beijing world cup, the official Olympic test event, in September is top of her list.
Beijing [world cup] is very, very important for me, stated Kate. Worlds and European champs are highlights but Beijing is key. We did the same for Athens. I raced the test event and then went away and worked specifically on it.
A relative unknown heading into Athens, it was this preparation that was the difference. While many women struggled through the 10 kilometre run after the gut-wrenching 40 kilometre bike, it was Kate who flew past the field with a mind-boggling 33:48 run, over a minute faster then the next, to take the gold.
Times have really come down. Itll be a tough fight, commented Kate, referring to the new running superstars of the triathlon world like Vanessa Fernandes and Emma Snowsill. Running is my strongest discipline though and your strongest discipline is your Joker card.
Kate Allen pulled this joker once before. Can she do it again?
Stay tuned into triathlon.org for all the latest Olympic updates and developments on the “Road to Beijing”.