On the 24th of August 2019, a brilliant morning bathed in sunshine at Pallerenda Beach near Townsville, 17 year old Rahul Jegatheva, a 1st year student at the University of Western Australia, took the overall title at the Triathlon Australia National Aquathlon Championships, part of the Intersport Townsville Triathlon & Multisport Festival. Overcoming talk of crocodiles in the water and seeing bottles of vinegar places strategically along the beach for emergency treatment against bluebottles, irukandji and box jellyfish, Rahul brought home the 19&U National title for the third time in a row and his 1st overall national championship win.
Rahul, who has won gold and silver at World 19&U and Junior events, tore apart the field over the 1km swim and 5km run course being quickest in both elements. Taking line honours at a Triathlon Australia Nationals Championships was particularly pleasing as he finished 4th overall in Cronulla during the 2016-2017 season where legendary multiple ironman world champion, Craig Alexander took the win, 4th in the Snowy Mountains (2017-2018) and 2nd at the Gold Coast (2018-2019).
"I want to thank my coaches Grant Landers (UWA Triathlon Club) and Eoin Carroll (Perth City Swimming Club) for giving me this opportunity and allowing me specialised training sessions as the set of skills I need to focus on is rather different than some of the others. I am also very thankful to my other club, the North Coast Triathlon Club as that is where I get to compete in Aquathlon races during their annual 12 race series. I am looking forward to my next major Aquathlon race which could be in Singapore in early 2020 or perhaps the Worlds in Amsterdam in late 2020." said Rahul.
It has been a remarkable past week for Rahul, as he also just learned that he was named the 2019 recipient of the WM Nunn Bursary, awarded to a 1st year student in honour of UWA student athlete Wally Marshall Nunn. Nunn won four full blue awards across the sports of athletics, rugby, swimming and rowing, a feat no one else has been able to emulate. In his next few years at UWA Rahul will surely give it a go though across the core sports he has previously qualified for the national championships in, aquathlon, triathlon, pool & open water swimming, track & cross-country running.
In winning the national title, Rahul has sewn up a spot at the next International Triathlon Union World Aquathlon Championships in the Netherlands in October 2020, and will have quite awhile to plan and train for that event given how early in the new 2019-2020 cycle it is. The Amsterdam worlds will be Rahul's final time in the 19&U age category as he would move to the next age bracket by the time the 2021 event comes around, back on the beautiful waters of Townsville as Australia hosts the world event once more!