Athletes compete on world stage

THE Coffs Coast may be boasting another world champion early on Monday morning with both Emma Moffatt and Alee Sharp competing in the World Triathlon Championships in Vancouver.

The two girls, who still call the Coffs Coast home, will be taking on a barrage of international challengers in an event will fielding more than 70 of the world's top athletes, with the racing guaranteed to be fast and furious.

Still riding the high that came with gaining her first selection in the Olympic team, Moffatt is looking to continue the wonderful form that she has been producing over the past 18 months.

Already an under-23 silver medallist at world level, Moffatt has had a remarkable 2008 season to date including a World Cup victory in New Plymouth along with a number of Oceania titles.

She is feeling confident about this weekend's event and admits that she'd love to add an elite world championships medal to the trophy cabinet before entering into the Olympic campaign.

"I have had a great season so far and am happy with how both training and racing are going," the 23-year-old said.

"This weekend should be a good hit out, especially with so many Beijing contenders on the start line."

With Erin Densham and Felicity Abram also competing in the elite women's division, the Aussies have assembled a very strong team and Moffatt is keeping an eye out for her team-mates in the lead-up.

After all, if she doesn't win, the least she can hope for is that a fellow Australian racer does.

"A world title would be nice, for at least one of us," she said.

"Erin hasn't been feeling all that well, so we are hoping to see her on the start line on Sunday and the cooler conditions here in Canada will also be a bit of a challenge.

However, on the up side our entire team has podiumed or at least secured multiple top-ten finishes this season, so we are doing pretty well so far."

With a longer than usual winter and a late arriving spring, the weather for Vancouver will be sitting at a chilly 16 degrees with an expected water temperature of around the same.

"I have to admit I wish the weather was a little warmer," former surf lifesaving champion and current Australian champion Alee Sharp said.

"We are so lucky in Australia with such great training facilities in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast that I don't know how we beach girls will cope, we really do prefer hot and humid conditions.

"I guess it is just another challenge for us.

"When I first got to Europe earlier this year for altitude training and found myself in the Pyrenees with milder conditions it did take some getting use too.

"Time to tough it out I guess."

The world championships will also be one of the last times all the women gather before facing each other in Beijing in August.

The girls will start racing at 6.00am on Monday morning (AEST) and they will face a beach start and a wetsuit swim on a 1.5 kilometre course consisting of two laps (one of 1 km and then a second of 500 metres).

The bike course is eight laps of 5km, to make up the 40 kilometre distance, and has been described as hilly and very technical.

Competitors will then finish with three laps of 3.3km on a running course that has been described as flat and fast.


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