Teen battles the best

Blake McKenna may be the youngest member of the Australian triathlon team but what he lacks in years he makes up for in determination.

The fifteen-year-old will compete in the 16-19 male age group at the 2018 World Sprint Triathlon Championship on the Gold Coast in September.

The Harrington Park teen is a member of the Macarthur Triathlon Club and is excited for his chance to represent his country.

“I have competed in several races around Australia to qualify with enough points to go to the world championships,” McKenna said. “I feel less pressure on me because I will be competing against men who are four years older than me. I’m not expected to come first but I am hoping to get a good place. The worlds are mostly about gaining experience because I will be racing at the highest level.”

Eight other competitors from Macarthur Triathlon Club will compete across various age groups at the triathlon world championships and duathlon world championships in Denmark in July.

McKenna said he first started competing in triathlons when he was nine years old but gave it up. He renewed his passion for the sport when he started high school at St Gregory’s College, Campbelltown.

“I have made a lot of friends in the sport and I love the challenge of competing against others,” he said.

I have made a lot of friends in the sport and I love the challenge of competing against others.

Blake McKenna

“I train at Sutherland under a NSW state coach and also go to Wollongong to be trained by a former Olympic triathlete. I train up to 16 hours, six days a week.”

McKenna said his strengths were in the swim and bike disciplines of the sport. Although now competing against the sport’s elite, the teen has no plans to become a professional triathlete.

Other competitors include: Narellan’s Cody Turner in the 16-19 men’s sprint triathlon, Bondi Junction’s Alex Gohari in the 25-29 men’s sprint triathlon, Grasmere’s Graig Odewahn in the 50-54 men’s triathlon and Camden’s Rob Picken in the 65-69 men’s triathlon and men’s sprint triathlon.

Harrington Park’s Cody Salter will compete in the junior elite duathlon and Hammondville’s Thomas Hine will race in the 16-19 men’s sprint duathlon. Campbelltown’s John Davis will compete in the 25-29 men’s duathlon and men’s sprint duathlon, and Harrington Park’s Guy Creber will race in the 60-64 men’s sprint duathlon.