GC2018 Chaffey's golden swansong?

7th October 2017 8:00 AM
Bill Chaffey competed in the PT1 Para Triathlon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Bill Chaffey competed in the PT1 Para Triathlon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Jeff Crow

TWEED para-triathlete Bill Chaffey's career will go full circle at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in what could be a golden swansong.

In a triathlon program set to make Commonwealth Games history, the five-time PT1 world champion said his international career, which launched on the Gold Coast, may also end on the glitter strip at the 2018 Games.

With sprint courses to be utilised for the first time in Individual and Para Triathlon racing in a Sprint Triathlon format, Chaffey said there wouldn't be anywhere better to draw the curtain on his international career than next year's Commonwealth Games.

"My first international competition was here in 2009 where I won my first World Championship,” he said.

"With the Commonwealth Games here on the Gold Coast where so many of my friends and family will be watching, I am anxious, but very excited.

"Hopefully I can have the same result in what may be my last international race.”

Striking gold at GC2018 would put the exclamation mark on Chaffey's career after he missed out on a podium place at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

To be successful, Chaffey will have to navigate the sprint format which has been implemented for both Individual and Para Triathlon competition.

Comprising of a 750m swim leg, 20km bike leg and 5km run leg, the women's and men's individual triathlon races will be held on April 5, with the women's event being the first medal event of GC2018.

Chaffey's Para Triathlon, plus a mixed team relay race of a 250m swim, a 7km bike ride and a 1.5km run, round out the program on April 7.

GC2018 Triathlon ambassador and world number two Ashleigh Gentle said the new format would add to the triathlon program.

Gentle, from the Gold Coast, is one of five Commonwealth athletes ranked inside the world's top five, promising a hotly-contested women's race.

"We have never seen the sprint format at a major Games. We will be showcasing a whole new level of speed and dynamic racing,” Gentle said.

"I can see all the races being hotly-contested, continuing a long rivalry amongst the traditionally strong triathlon nations.”

The northern end of the Southport Broadwater Parklands will host the start, finish and transitions for the triathlon, while the bike and run legs will head north along a flat, technical and scenic route.

The swim leg will start on the Broadwater with an anti-clockwise 750m course, bringing the athletes into the transition area.

The bike leg will consist of four 5km laps of a course stretching from Southport to Biggera Waters, while the run leg finale will take competitors along two 2.5km laps of a flat and fast course between Southport and Labrador.

The only difference to the course for the Para Triathlon will be a five-lap bike leg instead of four.

Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones, said the course would celebrate the region's love of outdoor sports.

"The course looks fantastic and I can't think of a better sport to feature on the opening day of competition to showcase the Games to the world,” she said.

The Triathlon was introduced as a Commonwealth Games sport in 2002 at Manchester, while Para Triathlon will make its first Games appearance next year on the Gold Coast.