Courtney Atkinson has always said he’ll travel just about anywhere for a good race and this weekend he’s come good in his word, hitting the streets of Korea for the final ITU Olympic-distance triathlon of the season. Thankfully, the contest is south of the separating border in South Korea, where at least someone other than Kim Jung-un is capable of winning. It’s a
Jokes aside, this weekend’s event - while not crucial to Courtney’s Olympic campaign - will go a long way in the form of confidence and rankings for 2016.
Having sat out of the sport for two years, Courtney is ranked below 60 in the world rankings which effectively leaves him starting the race in the middle of a march heading in the opposite direction. It’s like starting the City 2 Surf from the walk/run section and trying to beat the Kenyan Olympians who started half hour earlier.
Anyhow, having proved his speed in both the swim and bike in Chicago last month to get within 53 seconds of the winning Australian and promote himself in the rankings, Courtney will have inched up in starting positions this week and hopefully be allowed to test himself against the world’s best.
And while the results won’t have impact on his selection in next year’s Olympic team, it’s imperative he get as good a result as Chicago or better to make sure he starts 2016 with a considerably better ranking to make it easier on himself come April - when the Australian Olympic team will be selected post the Gold Coast ITU.
“It’s about getting that confidence back, getting into the ITU routine and re-learning all those things that I left behind for ironman racing,” Courtney says. “Just getting at full pace from the start of the bike and the run is something I’ve had to change back to and get used to again since enduro racing. I’ve figured it out with the swim and once I can do that quicker with the bike and run I’ll be looking good.”