Queensland honours for young triathletes

State triathlon representatives Ben Rudd and Lilli Vella. Picture: AARON GOODWIN

By Aaron Goodwin

Young triathlon stars Lilli Vella and Ben Rudd have added another feather to their caps, both selected again this year for the Youth Queensland Triathlon team.

The St Luke students have a bright future ahead, under the tutelage of Rebecca Jenner from Next Jenneration Coaching Squad.

Ms Vella was excited to find out she has made the Queensland squad for a third time.

”It was another achievement I’ve been working towards so I was happy,”Ms Vella said.

At the age of 14, Lilli cannot progress higher than the state level but that’s a bridge to cross down the track.

Right now she’s coming back from tearing two ligaments in her ankle, fortunate the Queensland Tri Series will only be two rounds in after the 10 October fixture in Moreton Bay.

”At State’s my team came third, I was the cyclist and came 13th overall, in February,” Ms Vella said.

”I went to Lake Macquarie and came sixth in the final, against competitors across Australia.”

Ms Vella believes her best discipline is cycling, saying she’s always been a natural

”Running needs the most work, it’s the hardest to get back after injury,” Ms Vella said.

”A bit more load but it will come back eventually.

”I’ve started doing small runs.”

This Queensland Tri Series, she wants to make the top 10 in her age group, as a bottom age competitor.

Ms Vella will compete in the Wide Bay trials in November, and State’s in February next year.

”Bec has been the biggest help ever with training programs and mentally helping me through my injuries,” Ms Vella said.

”She’s great support and very inspiring as well because she’s still a triathlete with young kids.”

Mr Rudd is rapt to be in the Queensland squad again, as one of the younger aged competitors.

Looking forward to the challenge, Ben recently finished seventh at the State Championships as a bottom age athlete.

”That was probably one of my best results,” Mr Rudd said.

”I’ve been racing at a heap of smaller events and getting good results at those.

”My best discipline was the ride but I seemed to have picked up and evened out

”Now the ride and run are my best, the swim is lacking just a little bit.

”I’m slowly evening out.”

Podium finishes at the Queensland Tri Series is Ben’s goal for the season, with Queensland All Schools, Wide Bay trials and more smaller races on the horizon.

”I’ve definitely improved since last year but there’s still room for improvement,” Mr Rudd said.

”Bec’s been amazing help

”She gives me all of my programs, for what I need to do each week.

”The motivation and training for riding, running and group training has been really good.”