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Canadian ITU athletes to watch for at the WTS Grand Final

Joanna Brown and Tyler Mislawchuk will be among the contenders at this year's Grand Final

The 2018 WTS season began seven months ago in Abu Dhabi, and since then the world’s top ITU triathletes have raced hundreds of kilometres across the globe. This weekend their WTS season comes to an end with the Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.

For the Canadians, the season began with a bronze medal from Joanna Brown at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Followed by a career-best finish by Tyler Mislawchuk at WTS Yokohama (fourth) and his first podium finish on the World Cup circuit in Antwerp, Belgium. Then there’s also the personal best placings of Matthew Sharpe and Amelie Kretz at the ITU World Cups and WTS races. Overall, it’s been a stellar year for Team Canada as they look to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Here are two Canadian triathletes you need to keep an eye on at this year’s Grand Final.

Related: How to watch the WTS Grand Final this weekend

Joanna Brown ITU World Ranking 8th & WTS Ranking 19th

Joanna Brown won the bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photo by Delly Carr (ITU).

Brown will be racing Saturday, September 15th at 9 AM EST in the women’s elite race. Her season thus far has been one of many successes, but also obstacles. “The season has been a roller coaster for me,” says Brown. The rocky times began for her last December (2017) with radial and ulnar fractures. “I was in a cast for five weeks, but fortunately (thanks to modern medicine) I was able to start swimming slowly about a week after the cast went on.” Then following WTS Abu Dhabi, she found out she had another fracture. “Throughout all this turmoil, I was fortunate to be surrounded by my training partners and my family. They helped me through everything.” At the Commonwealth Games in Australia, she won a bronze medal in the women’s race – a considerable accomplishment, especially considering the fractures.

Since the high of the Commonwealth Games, Brown has made a coaching change to Joel Filliol and is adjusting to the new training. “I honestly can’t express how grateful I am to Joel Filliol for taking me on. I am very fortunate to be part of an absolute world class squad and support crew. I’ve never felt more confident or in control of my environment.” Though the results didn’t seem to come in the middle part of the season, Brown attributes this to “unfortunate circumstances – crashes and positioning,” and just adjusting to a new training.

Joanna Brown fourth at WTS Montreal. Photo by Cam Mitchell.

After her fourth-place finish at WTS Montreal and some good training heading into the Grand Final, Brown is ready to do her absolute best. “My only objective for Gold Coast is to put myself in a position to compete. I know that if I put myself in the best possible position and line up on the pontoon knowing that I’m ready to compete, I can trust my fitness and my competitiveness to have a solid race.” Last year, Brown finished fifth at the Grand Final in Rotterdam.

Tyler MislawchukITU World Ranking 14th & WTS Ranking 8th
Tyler Mislawchuk runs to an eighth-place finish at WTS Montreal. Photo by Cam Mitchell.
Mislawchuk will be racing Sunday, September 16th at 9 AM EST in the men’s elite race. His results this season have proven that he’s among the world’s best and potential contender leading into Tokyo 2020.
He got off to a strong start this year with top ten finishes in Abu Dhabi, New Plymouth and Mooloolaba. Then at the Commonwealth Games, he was bedridden with sickness. “About eighth days out from the race, I got pretty sick and knew the race was either going to go well (with “rest”) or bad. On race day, my body was completely drained of energy and I didn’t have the race I wanted.” Later in the Games, Mislawchuk raced on the Mixed Relay team that finished fourth.
As the season continued, he would steadily improve and have career-best performances in Yokohama and Antwerp. At WTS Yokohama, Mislawchuk placed fourth, a career-best on the WTS circuit. “Yokohama was a huge result for me. It was an emotional one when I crossed the line.” Then in Antwerp, Belgium, he got his first podium finish on the World Cup circuit. “Getting on the podium was big in Belgium, but I was so close to the win, which makes the result bittersweet.”
Tyler Mislawchuk finishes third at the ITU World Cup in Antwerp, Belgium.

Now heading into the last race of the WTS season, Mislawchuk has the chance to improve upon his ranking. Currently, he’s eighth in the world – 18 points behind Henri Schoeman (RSA) and 196-points ahead of Andreas Schilling (DEN).

Sharpe will join Mislawchuk in the elite men’s race. In the U23 category, Charles Paquet, Martin Sobey and Elisabeth Boutin will be competing for a world title against the best u23 triathletes in the world. Then in the junior race, Pavlos Antonaides, Brock Hoel, Liam Donnelly, Desirae Ridenour, Hannah Henry and Kira Gupta-Baltazar will represent the maple leaf on the biggest stage in the Gold Coast. The ITU World Triathlon Grand Final also hosts the Paratriathlon championships. Canada’s paratriathlon team includes Jessica Tuomela, Jon Dunkerley, Kamylle Frenette and Stefan Daniel.