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Tyler Smith focuses on Australia and Asia as he chases Olympic dream

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Pursuing Olympic qualification: Tyler Smith is eyeing a maiden Olympic Games qualification (Photograph supplied)

Triathlete Tyler Smith is on his travels yet again as he leaves no stone unturned in his quest to make it to the Olympic Games

Along with fellow Bermudian Erica Hawley, Smith has headed to Wollongong in Australia for the World Triathlon Cup on Saturday, and from there he plans to set up base in Asia to compete in WTC events in Uzbekistan and China.

“I wouldn't be going to these three races if I didn't think it was possible for me to qualify for the Olympics,’’ Smith said.

“It’s a huge investment, time wise, money wise and it takes a lot of training. Travelling to Australia and to Asia, I’m doing this with the intention of qualifying for the Olympics, there’s no two ways about that.

“For triathlon, it’s the pinnacle of our sport and there’s nothing bigger. It’s what every person who’s racing World Triathlon events is aspiring for and when you get involved in the sport as a junior, this is what you’ll be ultimately aiming for.”

Erica Hawley will also be in action at the World Triathlon Cup Wollongong (Photograph by Aaron Smith)

After finishing tenth in the Americas Triathlon Championships Miami and sixth in the Americas Triathlon Cup La Paz, in Mexico, Smith put himself through intense altitude training with his coach Nate Wilson in Boulder, Colorado to prepare for his next tough test.

“I've always known that these three World Cups are the last of the Olympic qualifying period,’’ he said.

“It’s always been a target for me and it was the focus since the winter to go and attack those couple of races in Miami and in La Paz.

“The idea was to use those races as reintroduction to racing and to also get some world-ranking points.

“These are the last three World Cups that you can use to qualify for the Olympics and there are two more World Series races, one in Yokohama and one in Cagliari.

“I won’t do the one in Japan, but depending on how these races go, there’s a chance I might do the one in Italy.”

Smith heads into the Wollongong event 88th in the world rankings and 108th in the Olympic qualification rankings, with May 27 the cut-off date for Olympic qualification .

“If I get good results at these races, I can still qualify for the Olympics through the Olympic rankings,’’ Smith said.

“I need to improve my position by 26 spots or about 600 points. Across these next three races, if I can average results that are in the top ten, that gets me on the right track.

“I need to go out there and have three great races and improve my position. I've grown from stride to stride over the past year and I’ve got a lot of confidence in my training programme, my coach, and the team around me

“Going into these races, I think it’s something that’s achievable. If I can execute the things I know I can do well and race to my full capabilities, there’s no reason why I can’t achieve the desired results.”

Should he fall short in his quest to qualify for Paris, the 25-year-old knows that it will not be the end of his Olympic dream.

“This definitely won’t be my last chance to go to the Olympics,’’ he said. “I’m only 25 and I’ve got at least two more opportunities I think, but I would like to make the most of this one to get myself there.”

Smith has received a lot of backing from various stakeholders in his push to qualify for the Olympics.

“The support from the Bermuda Olympic Association, the Bermuda Triathlon Association, the government, specifically from the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation, has been fantastic,’’ he added.

“In the lead-up to the Olympics, they've made it a priority to increase their funding and they have a good understanding of the investment that it takes to get yourself to the Olympics.

“Triathlon is not a sport where you can just go and hit a time, you can’t just go into a track and run a time. You have to travel and do this as a full-time profession, and accumulate the points through the races which are spread all over the world.

“It’s a huge investment, it takes a lot of resources and it definitely wouldn't be possible without the support.

“World Triathlon have also been really supportive and I’m looking to get a scholarship from them as well as the International Olympic Committee.”

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Published April 19, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 20, 2024 at 8:23 am)

Tyler Smith focuses on Australia and Asia as he chases Olympic dream

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