THREE Jewish triathletes with contrasting ages and personal journeys will represent Australia in Olympic-distance events at the ITU Triathlon Age Group World Championships, to be held in the picturesque Swiss lakeside city of Lausanne from August 29 to September 1.
Melbourne 22-year-old Charlie Rose only began competing in triathlons three years ago, but hard work, discipline in training and several podium finishes at major Australian events have earned him a debut spot at the world championships in the men’s 20-24 age division.
The former Bialik College student and Melbourne University graduate has been putting in extra hours of training in recent months under his coach Steve Davis at Davey Black Triathlon Club, and feels pumped about the tremendous opportunity that awaits him in Switzerland, so relatively early in his development in the sport.
“I’m really excited to be able to compete in such an event and represent my country,” Rose said.
“When I first gave triathlon a shot, it was kind of like okay, I’ll just try it and see how it goes.
“Now it has become part of my life. I put in multiple training sessions every week in all types of Melbourne weather, and I absolutely love the sense of community and passion within the sport.”
A product of Maccabi Victoria Cycling Club and Bialik College’s representative swimming squad, Rose is naturally strong in the 40km bike and 1.5km swim legs, but acknowledges the 10km run leg has been his “weakest link”.
“Running is the area I’ve had to work on the most, but I feel I’ve made a lot of progress and improvement there.”
Rose’s aim in Lausanne is to enjoy the experience, the scenery and the chance to achieve a new personal best (PB) time in what will be his biggest ever international race.
“In my last race in Australia I finished in just under two hours, and I’ve been getting PB after PB in the last 18 months, so getting a PB in Lausanne would be amazing.”
Also representing Australia – but in the men’s 60-64 division – will be Melburnian Barry Lipp and Sydneysider Julian Rifkin.
Lipp – a masters triathlon bronze medallist at the 2017 Maccabiah Games and a current member of the Triathlon Australia Age Group Advisory Committee – will be competing in his fifth world championships.
“It does feel like a bit of a milestone,” Lipp said, who finished 51st at last year’s worlds held on the Gold Coast.
“Being in Europe this time, the championships will probably draw a stronger field overall, but I’ve been training very well this year under a new coach, so I’m feeling better about how I’ll go.
“I’m pretty solid in swimming and running, and while my cycling is probably not as good, the hilly Lausanne course will suit me better than a flat one, because I’m fairly light.”
The 2019 world championships will be Rifkin’s fourth, but his first since 2017 when a horrible run of injuries and illnesses in the lead-up saw him happy just to have finished that race in Rotterdam.
“Just being there made it all worth it, but in the end, every triathlete has to face the challenge of aches and pains,” Rifkin said.
“I’m so happy to be giving it another crack, especially in such a stunningly beautiful place like Lausanne.”
Rifkin’s son, Julian, also qualified to compete at the world championships in the men’s 30-35 division, but withdrew following an energy-sapping performance for Australia at last month’s Pan American Maccabi Games in Mexico, where he won two gold medals and one bronze.