Published: 11/03/2018 06:00 - Updated: 09/03/2018 12:54

Oz-bound Sophia on triathlon stand-by

Written byCraig Christie

Training hard in Stirling this week, Moray teenager Sophia Green gained promotion to the Scottish triathlon development squad.
Training hard in Stirling this week, Moray teenager Sophia Green gained promotion to the Scottish triathlon development squad.

SHEER dedication to her sport of triathlon has earned Moray teenager Sophia Green a reserve place in the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Sophia (18) will jet out to the Gold Coast this month, knowing one injury to a fellow athlete could set up a dream opportunity to run, swim and cycle for Scotland in the biggest competition of her young life.

The former Elgin Academy pupil is on stand-up to compete for her country in the triathlon relay in Queensland, and is ready to grab her chance if misfortune strikes one of her team-mates.

But even if she does not see action, Sophia is determined to use her Commonwealth Games experience as a platform for future success in her stamina-sapping sport.

"I am super excited to be part of this, I will gain so much experience in Australia," said the Moray Firth Triathlon club member.

"It would be quite scary if I did get the chance to race in the Commonwealth Games, but at the same time really exciting. Even if I don't get the chance, I'll be watching the race because it will be such a good opportunity to be part of the experience."

At Elgin Academy, Sophia was a keen runner and a Scottish silver squad swimmer who decided to take up triathlon as she no longer wanted to do swimming as a single sport.

Her new pursuit combined her swim skills with long distance runs as well as cycling, and before long she was selected for Triathlon Scotland's foundation squad, before stepping up to their confirmation squad in 2016.

She switched her education from Elgin Academy to Beaconhurst independent school in Bridge of Allan, right next to Stirling University where Triathlon Scotland are based and where her coach felt she would receive the best training to excel in her sport.

That move paid off, as last season she was a Scottish junior champion in the sprint distance and third overall.

Her elevation up the national triathlon ranks continued this

week when she was moved up

to the Scottish development squad.

"It is a result of my hard training over the winter. This means that I will receive more support which will allow me to achieve the best for the season that is just around the corner."

Yet last January she recalls hobbling around in a specially-made boot after tearing her ankle ligaments, an injury which severely hampered the running part of her three-discipline sport.

She still managed to compete in her first European Cup in Switzerland, and was a top ten regular in the British super series of triathlon.

With the Commonwealth Games on the horizon, Team Scotland selected five triathletes to compete in their individual and mixed relay events in Australia.

Sophia was not one of the five, but she attended an assessment camp as part of her warm weather training in Portugal and impressed over a series of time trials to win the female reserve place.

Should one of the two female team members not be able to compete in the mixed relay, Sophia will step right in and take part in the 250m open water swim, 7.5km bike and 1.5km run and try to help win gold for her country.

"I believe that Scotland have a good opportunity in the individual triathlon for a medal. For the mixed relay it will be the first outing for the team so it is all about getting the best performance in."

Her past achievements in swimming make the sport Sophia's strongest discipline, but she has made big strides of progress in the other two parts of her event.

"My biking has got a lot better over the past year but my running has come along this year as well," said Sophia, who competes for Moray Road Runners athletics club.

"Australia will be the first trip away and then when I come back it gets really busy with lots of races.

Sophia flies out to Australia on March 20, knowing a fantastic opportunity to compete in a major sporting spectacle is only a team-mate's injury away.

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