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Abrams to fill Harrop's shoes

21 Feb 06 01:56

Triathlete Felicity Abrams had been expecting to watch the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games from the sidelines, cheering Australia’s team towards the elusive Games gold.

 

But that was before a baby came into the picture, and opened the way for Abrams to step up and be part of that challenge.

 

The withdrawal from the Games team of Loretta Harrop, who last week announced she and her husband Brad Jones are expecting their first child in August, opened the way for another member to join the women’s team.

 

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association has announced that Abrams will fill that place, joining fellow Games rookies, dual world champion Emma Snowsill and World Cup series winner Annabel Luxford, in the team.

 

"I'm jumping at the opportunity to represent my country at the Games," Abrams said. "It's a massive opportunity."

 

Abrams beat out six other contenders for the spot despite missing Sunday's race in Hobart, tipped to decide the final member of the Game team, because of a niggling groin injury sustained in her comfortable Perth win a fortnight ago.

 

But she said despite less than a month’s notice, she would be ready to take on the Commonwealth’s best in Melbourne.

 

"It's going well. I've been a lot more consistent with my training," Abrams said. "The season was starting anyway so I'm always ready to race no matter what training I've done."

 

The ITU Rookie of the Year winner is expected to meet with Harrop in the hope of picking up some tips from her experience of two Olympic Games, a Commonwealth Games and two Goodwill Games wins.

 

National development manager Bill Davoren is confident Abrams will be continue in strong form on the St Kilda foreshore course.

 

"Felicity had an outstanding 2005," he said. "She was Rookie of the Year, sixth at the World Championships in her first senior worlds, and she is still only 19. She was the standout in the end and she deserves the opportunity."

 

The three Australian women, and their male teammates, will be looking to capture a gold when they take to Triathlon course, breaking the curse which has seen Australia dominant in international competition but unable to claim a gold at Olympic or Commonwealth level.

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