Bundaberg's Charles Liebenberg and Bargara's James Thomas will head overseas to Rotterdam for the ITU triathlon world championships.
Bundaberg's Charles Liebenberg and Bargara's James Thomas will head overseas to Rotterdam for the ITU triathlon world championships. Shane Jones

MATES BATTLE WORLD: Duo to compete at triathlon world titles

TRIATHLON: Most days you will see Bundaberg's Charles Liebenberg and Bargara's James Thomas ride and run together at the criterium track.

The duo, under the guidance of coach Bec Jenner, push each other to the limit, spurring the other to become better.

Now, they will compete together on the world stage.

The teens will race at the upcoming ITU Age Group Triathlon World Championships in the Netherlands in Rotterdam.

They will compete in the 16-19 year-old age group.

"It will be the first triathlon of the season, so I'm exciting to get going," Liebenberg said.

Liebenberg said his preparation had been focused on running but still lots of triathlon.

He said the limited preparation didn't worry him.

"We do lots of race specific training, which helps you prepare," he said.

"We'll do transitions (between legs) and drafting in a pack to hone our skills."

Liebenberg is aiming high.

"My goal is top five and a medal would be nice.

"It will be my first event overseas and I'm really excited to see how I go against other countries."

Thomas is also looking for a finish inside the top 10 but is modest about his expectations - for a good reason.

 

"I've got a minor stress fracture in my back," he revealed.

"I've had to be a bit conservative in running, so I've been cycling and swimming."

But Thomas said the injury could work to his advantage.

"I've really liked being able to focus on swimming and cycling," he said.

"They were really suffering a bit before."

The good news is he will be able to get back to running two weeks out from the event.

He said it would be great to compete with Liebenberg.

"It's good to have a familiar face on race day," he said.

"It's reassuring and you know what they will do on race day."

Liebenberg agreed.

"Having James in training is a really good tool because we can see where our competition is at."

The championships are on from September 14-17.



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