Campbelltown triathlete triumphs despite Olympic setback

Natalie Van Coevorden in action. Picture: Wags Photo/Worldtriathlon via Natalie Van Coevorden - Australian Triathlete Facebook page
Natalie Van Coevorden in action. Picture: Wags Photo/Worldtriathlon via Natalie Van Coevorden - Australian Triathlete Facebook page

Campbelltown triathlete Natalie Van Coevorden started the 2020 triathlon season with the Olympic Games in her sights.

However, the renowned athlete missed out on being selected for the 2021 Australian Olympic team, despite being the highest ranked triathlete.

Van Coevorden didn't let the disappointment stop her though.

The Macarthur Triathlon Club athlete managed to score a 14th place finish in the 2021 World Triathlon Championship Series in Montreal and Edmonton, Canada.

Van Coevorden made the decision to leave Australia in 2020 to establish herself in Portugal with coach Paolo Sousa.

She said she had thrived in her new squad despite all the pressures of being so far from home in the middle of a pandemic.

"The decision to move overseas to race and train with the best has really shown through my racing over the past year," Van Coevorden said.

The race in Edmonton, Alberta was a traditional standard distance race of a 1500 metre swim, a 40 kilometre bike ride and a 10 kilometre run.

Van Coevorden was fast through the swim and third out of the water in Hawrelak Park.

She rode strongly with all the main contenders on the hilly course in and around the centre of the Provincial capital and put in one of her strongest runs in many years to finish the race in 12th place.

The placing was enough for Van Coevorden to pull her World Championship ranking up to 14th, and for the second year in a row, finish as the highest ranked Australian.

"Not being selected for the Olympics wasn't just one day...it was two months of dealing with the roller coaster of emotions of the appeal and the Olympics happening," she said.

"It was hard to be back on a start line...I know this is where I need to be to thrive [and] become one of the best triathletes in the world. I always live by the saying, 'when others don't believe in you believe in yourself and I will keep fighting for this.'

"Edmonton Grand Final really showed this for me and I looking forward to progressing in the start of the new season."

The 2022 World Championship season commences in Hamburg this month.