Glass punctures Courtney's dream
A PIECE of glass was all it took for Courtney Gilfillan's dream of another podium finish at the International Triathlon Union meet in South Korea to turn to rubble.
The former Tuntable Creek resident was just 100 metres into the race in the coastal city of Tongyeong when she ran over a piece of glass in her opening bike leg and punctured a tyre.
Gilfillan made the podium for the first time in her career on July 31 when she took silver at an ITU event in Singapore and was confident of backing it up with another strong performance.
But, unforgivably, Tongyeong officials did not clear several glass pieces from the track.
"There was a lot of glass on the track which was a big stuff-up from the ITU," she said.
"I was only 100m into the event before I ran over it and had to pull out.
"The same thing happened to another Australian competitor."
But the 22-year-old chose not to dwell on the negatives.
"I didn't make a complaint; that's all part of my experience in this sport," she said.
"It makes you realise how much you want to compete at the top level."
Gilfillan had pencilled in the Noosa Triathlon but has decided against it as she looks to be in peak condition for the Australian domestic season that starts early next year.
The former Northern Rivers athlete wants to enter the Oceania Triathlon Union Championship event at Devonport on March 10 followed by other ITU meets at Mooloolaba (March 24) and in Sydney (April 14).
She will step up her training over the next few months under new coach Craig Walton, who mentored his former fiancee Emma Snowsill to gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
"I think I'm ready to make that next step now and begin training under Craig," she said.
"Making the Olympics is my goal.
"Craig's watched me compete for years and his philosophy is similar to my (former Australian Olympian) father, Rob.
"He looks closely at the things that make you a good athlete and I'm very excited about it."