Australian triathlete Courtney Atkinson has decided to miss the opening round of the world championship series in Sydney next weekend so that he can concentrate on winning a place in the London Olympics team.
The 32-year-old, who is based in the Gold Coast, struggled at last month’s Mooloolaba World Cup in Queensland when he finished 33rd.
That result has convinced Atkinson that he should miss the 14th April event so that he can prove he is worthy of winning a place in the Olympics team by the end of May.
“It was a tough decision for Courtney but, given his recent performances, we support his decision to make some adjustments to his training and regain some confidence in order to once again be competitive on the international stage,” said Triathlon Australia head coach Shaun Stephens in a statement.
Earlier in the year Atkinson finished fifth at the Oceania championships before having to settle for 10th spot at the Australian sprint titles.
Atkinson, who finished 11th at the Beijing Olympics, is hoping he can replicate his performance two years ago when, after opting to miss the Sydney event, he managed two second placings in other world championship series races. The Olympics betting markets certainly seem to think he will put in an improvement performance on her Beijing finish this summer.
He returned early from Europe last year because of poor form and illness.
Other members of the Australian triathlon team are also struggling with Emma Snowsill, the defending Olympic champion, having failed to compete in an international race in 2012.
She was supposed to return at Mooloolaba, but has pulled out of the event because of illness, as has Chris McCormack.