Erica Hawley resumes quest for Olympic qualification points in Yokohama
Erica Hawley will aim to continue her encouraging start to the new season as the World Triathlon Championship Series resumes in Japan today.
Following on from the sprint-distance opener Abu Dhabi, in March, in which Hawley finished in 45th place, focus turns to the first Olympic distance race of the campaign in Yokohama, south of the capital Tokyo.
For the 24-year-old, who comes into the event having also finished 28th in the first World Triathlon Cup event of the year in New Plymouth, New Zealand, in March and fifth last month in the Americas Triathlon Cup in Saint Peters, Missouri, it is another opportunity to enhance her Olympic qualification prospects with major points on offer.
She will take to the start line among a stellar elite women’s field, who will be looking to capitalise on the continued absence of defending world champion and compatriot Flora Duffy through injury.
With Britain’s Beth Potter, winner of the season opener, opting to withdraw from the race, compatriot Sophie Coldwell, runner-up in Abu Dhabi, will wear the No 1.
Meanwhile, fellow Briton and overall series runner-up last year Georgia Taylor-Brown finds herself in an unfamiliar position lower down the start list after a fifteenth place finish in Abu Dhabi.
Taylor Knibb and Taylor Spivey lead the line for the United States; the former with one win from two appearances in Yokohama, while Spivey’s best came in the form of a bronze medal out of her total of five appearances.
Spivey, who endured a difficult previous 12 months after missing out on a first Olympics in Tokyo, appeared back in after finishing third in the season opener, while Knibb is still working her way back to full fitness after undergoing surgery on a foot injury at the start of the year.
Others who will be considered in contention include France’s Emma Lombardi, who shows no obvious weakness across the three disciplines, while there is also the German threat from the likes of Lisa Tertsch and Laura Lindemann.
Maya Kingma, of the Netherlands, poses attacking intent, while Italian Bianca Seregni’s pacesetting swim and the flowing confidence of Australia’s recently crowned Arena Games Triathlon world champion Sophie Linn promise an exciting battle for supremacy.
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