Simon's fond memories
OLYMPIC triathlete Simon Thompson has many fond memories of Coffs Harbour.
It was at Coffs Harbour, in December 2003, that Thompson claimed his place in the Australian Olympic team for last year's Athens Games.
Yesterday he returned to the scene of his triumph, primed for another strong showing at the $30,000 National Triathlon Series sprint titles tomorrow.
While Thompson, 27, admitted most of his training has been centred around longer distances than the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run sprint course, he was confident of being among the top finishers.
"I haven't done any sprint training at this stage, I have been doing a lot more base work for the rest of the season," he said.
"But hopefully I will have enough pennies in the bank from last year to get me through... I want to give the podium a nudge.
"It's certainly good to be racing here again, I have some very good memories of Coffs."
Thompson also admitted the Coffs Harbour circuit would be a killer.
"The bike leg is definitely one of the hardest courses I have done," he said.
"It will certainly expose anyone who is under-prepared."
But Thompson is certain to have plenty of competition from a field that includes some of Australia and New Zealand's finest triathletes.
Among those expected to challenge for a piece of $30,000 prize pool will be Chris Hill, Craig Alexander, Levi Maxwell and New Zealand wunderkind Clark Ellis, while Olympian Craig Walton was yesterday rumoured to be a late starter.
The female Elite sprint will also have a star-studded field, with Maxine Seear, Nicole Hackett, Felicity Abram and local hope Emma Moffatt the pre-race favourites.
Like Walton in the men's race, Athens Olympian Emma Snowsill is also whispered to be a late starter.
As well as the elite races, the age group event (1500 swim, 40km ride, 10km run) for competitors between 18-60, and the trans-Tasman challenge junior sprint (750 swim, 20 bike, 5km run), which features Australia and New Zealand's best 16-19 year olds, will also draw plenty of attention.
The age group race is the first of three major World Championship qualifiers and has attracted around 500 entrants from around Australia.
The women's elite sprint title will commence at 10.15am, while the men's event will start at 11.30am at the Jetty Foreshores.