Aussie, Aussie, Aussie at world titles

Sarah Armstrong, Jane Ryder and Linda Jonkers will compete in the International Triathlon Union world championships on the Gold Coast next week.
Sarah Armstrong, Jane Ryder and Linda Jonkers will compete in the International Triathlon Union world championships on the Gold Coast next week.

Cowra’s Linda Jonkers will join elite company when she makes her debut as an Australian representative in triathlon next week.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Linda said this week.

Next week Linda will don the green and gold of Australia when she competes in the International Triathlon Union standard distance world championships on the Gold Coast.

Linda is one of three Cowra Triathlon Club members who will take part in the championships which will be held in Australia for the first time in nine years.

The Cowra club’s other representatives at the world titles will be mother and daughter combination Jane Ryder and Sarah Armstrong who both live in Grenfell.

Jane is competing in the sprint distance event while Sarah will line up in both the sprint and standard distance races.

Both made their world championship debuts in last year’s titles which were held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in conditions far removed from what they will encounter on the Gold Coast next week.

In Rotterdam last year Jane was also battling a virus that nearly saw her not make it to the start line.

A foundation member of the Cowra Triathlon Club, Linda took up triathlon more than 20 years ago but said representing her country was nothing she had seriously considered before.

“It’s something that you never think you can achieve,” Linda said.

“You just keep pegging away and it happens.

“I took the advice of a very good club member who advised me to go to the very first (qualifying) race of the season and that secured my spot because I got very good points there,” Linda said of the first race qualifier she did at Yarrawonga in October last year.

Triathletes compete in a series of races over the season accumulating points in each race with a team of 20 then selected in each age division at the end of the race season based on points.

Since the Yarrawonga event Linda competed in qualifiers in Canberra and Wollongong.

Sarah qualified through races at Yarrawonga, Townsville, Canberra, St Kilda, Kurnell and Wollongong.

Jane’s path to qualification took her to Yarrawonga, Canberra, Wollongong and Huskisson.

Unfortunately Linda has had an interrupted preparation for the titles but says “I am just going to take confidence in the years and years of base training that is there and call on that”.

“I’m still running PBs at park run so something’s working.

“I jumped in the pool and knocked out a 1500 metre last week and the breath is still there,” she added.

Sarah and Jane have been training in Grenfell, Cowra and Forbes where they have access to an indoor pool, albeit only a 17 metre facility.

They do most of their training under the guidance of Orange coach Dan Benton.

“I reckon Dan has timed my preparation to perfection, I feel well, I feel strong, I feel fit,” Jane said, in contrast to her race week last year.

Sarah was ill earlier this week but is now on the mend.

“I went down bad,” said Sarah, who has abstained from alcohol in her lead up to the titles.

“There’s been quite a few things come up where she has just been the designated driver,” Jane said.

Linda and Sarah’s standard distance race will be held on Sunday, September 16 with the sprint distance held on Thursday, September 13.

The standard distance race involves a 1500 metre swim, 40km bike ride and 10 km run while the sprint is a 750 metre swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run.