CLATYON FETTELL in action in this file picture at the Evans Head Triathlon.
CLATYON FETTELL in action in this file picture at the Evans Head Triathlon.

Clayton crashes Olympic dream

CLAYTON FETTELL'S slim Olympic dream came literally crashing to the ground at the Oceania Triathlon Championships in Wellington, New Zealand, on Sunday.

Fettell, who was hopeful of claiming one of the remaining two spots open on the Australian team for Beijing, entered the race with a respiratory virus in a desperate bid to qualify.

But the gamble backfired.

After leading the field after the swim, Fettell was soon joined by a good group on the bike.

"Wellington has a reputation as windy," the 21-year-old said.

"It didn't help and I happened to crash.

"I lost control on a u-turn."

While he didn't injure himself, unfortunately Fettell's bike was damaged which saw him dropped from the leading bunch.

The Alstonville local battled on but withdrew midway through the 10km run leg.

New Zealander Shane Reed won the race which also meant the Kiwis have qualified three athletes for the Olympics.

Australia still has a chance of qualifying a third man for Beijing but it means someone will have to perform at the next three World Cup events in Mooloolaba, New Zealand and Japan.

Fettell is hoping to get a start in the Japan event but has resigned himself to missing out on Beijing.

"I was being pretty optimistic," he chuckled.

"I'll focus now on London. The frustrating thing is I was going really well coming into the season.

"I finished fourth at Perth (Nationals).

"It's disappointing I got sick during two of the most important weeks of the season."

Commonwealth Games champion Brad Kahlefeldt has been pre-selected for the Australian squad.

Following the Japan event in April, Fettell will prepare for the Wildflower Half-Ironman in California in May.

Meanwhile, former Lennox Head-based triathlete Emma Moffatt has moved a step close to Olympic selection.

Moffatt won the women's Oceania title from rival Annabel Luxford.

World Champion Emma Snowsill has already been pre-selected in the Australian team and Moffatt is one of a host of athletes battling it out for the two remaining spots.

Moffatt, now based in Brisbane, is originally from Woolgoolga but she attended Southern Cross University and was a member of the North Coast Academy of Sport while living at Lennox.



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