Courtney Gilfillan.
Courtney Gilfillan.

Gilfillan is Triathlon World Champ

COURTNEY Gilfillan gave herself the best 20th birthday gift she could ever get by winning her 20-24 age category at Sunday’s ITU Triathlon World Championships on the Gold Coast.

The victory has given Gilfillan’s triathlon career further impetus and she plans to pursue a career among the professional ranks next year.

 It was such a dominant display that Gilfillan (pictured), of Tuntable Creek, led after every leg and never sighted the second-placed New Zealand competitor on the 10km run home.

“I enjoyed the whole race and there was no point where I thought that I was really killing myself and I pretty much ran within myself,” she said.

“It was important to get through it and I enjoyed the race at the same time.”

More importantly it was confirmation that Gilfillan is on the right track after choosing triathlon over running about a year ago.

“I guess there was that little lack of confidence; not really knowing what I was capable of,” she said.

“I’m still learning what the sport is all about, and that lack of confidence stems from the fact that I come from a running background, but I’m becoming more familiar and I’m ready now to take on the big girls.”

Indeed, while she was out in front, alone in the running leg on Saturday, Gilfillan was already thinking ahead.

“As I was finishing the race I was thinking I’ve got to learn to make my run a real weapon and if there was someone running alongside me, competing with me, would I have the guts to go harder.

“Where I go to from here is to become more familiar with the sport and to do that I’ve got to race more.”

Gilfillan’s victory at the weekend guarantees that she is eligible to apply for a professional licence and that is the direction she will take next year.

 But for now Gilfillan is just trying to savour what she has achieved and what remaining events she still has on her calendar for this year.

She will race the Noosa triathlon, the Zatopek 10km event and a 3km steeplechase next week, where she will compete against her younger sister Jessica as she attempts to run a world junior qualifier on the Gold Coast.

‘Our’ Emma’s class

Gilfillan’s win at the Gold Coast came on the same day that former Lennox Head resident Emma Moffatt claimed her maiden world triathlon crown.

Moffatt, originally of Woolgoolga, capped a gutsy comeback from injury and stepped out of Olympic champion Emma Snowsill’s shadow by her win.

All the talk ahead of the world championship series grand final on the tourist strip was about Emma – Snowsill, that is.

Even though she was no chance of winning a fourth world title, Snowsill still hogged the limelight when she announced she would return from a hip complaint and contest the Gold Coast finale, only to later change her mind.

But there was no doubting who the star of the show was after Moffatt’s stunning victory over nearest rival, Swede Lisa Norden on Sunday.

As a teenager, Moffatt had a poster of Snowsill on her wall.

And Snowsill was there again when Moffatt needed her the most.

After claiming Beijing Olympic bronze, Moffatt incredibly lost her passion and almost gave the sport away.
However, an invitation to join Snowsill’s training group on the Gold Coast turned it all around.

So it was fitting that her hero Snowsill looked on as a sideline commentator as Moffatt defied a long-term foot injury to somehow outsprint Norden and become the eighth Australian woman to claim a world title.

Overall Moffatt finished ahead of Norden by just 210 points with Kiwi Andrea Hewitt third.

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