After almost a year on the sideline, New South Wales Institute of Sport scholarship holder Emma Jeffcoat has continued her impressive return to competition by helping Team Australia to the gold medal at the World Triathlon Mixed relay event held in Napier, New Zealand over the weekend.

The collective efforts of Team Australia – Jeffcoat, Sophie Linn, Callum McClusky, and Brandon Copeland – secured them top place on the podium ahead of Team Portugal and Team Italy, to signal an impressive, and promising start, to the Mixed Relay season.

Jeffcoat, a Tokyo Olympian, said it meant the world to be back in the green and gold.

“That was terrific,” she told the media after the medal ceremony. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a relay team, so to stand alongside these three is an honour. And to be back wearing the green and gold . . . I’m stoked.”

NSW Triathlon Performance Centre Head Coach Liam O’Neill also praised Jeffcoat’s individual performance in the World Triathlon Cup.

“Emma really showcased her swimming prowess,” O’Neill said proudly. “She led the race early on and exited the water in third place. She then joined a select group of determined cyclists, steadily building a substantial lead over the chase pack.

“Entering T2 with a commanding one-minute advantage, Emma, along with Sophie Linn, powered out on to the run leg. Sophie went on to secure victory, while Emma, after a strong 5km run, claimed 14th place, making her the second best-placed Australian.

Jeffcoat finished the race in a time of 57.49, behind the triumphant Linn who won the race in a time of 56.35.

Meanwhile, NSWIS athlete Joel Offord defied stomach cramps to finish the Oceania Triathlon Junior Championships in Napier, New Zealand with a credible 16th place in a time of 57.41.

He finished three minutes and one second behind the winner, and fellow Aussie, Jack Woodbury.

Offord, who is the latest addition to the Institute’s triathlon team, responded well to the challenge by gritting his teeth to complete the race which consisted of a 750m swim, 20km cycle, and five-kilometre run.

O’Neill described Offord’s performance as “spirited,” and praised him for fighting until the very end.

“Joel came out of the water in 15th place, but he wasted no time in establishing himself in the main bike group,” said O’Neill. “And even though he suffered an onset of stomach cramps during the second lap of the run he showed plenty of fight to remain in contention for a top 10 finish.”

Daniel Lane, NSWIS

Photo Courtesy of World Triathlon, Ben Lumley

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