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Late starter Rebecca Wiasak eyeing Olympic team spot

Australian Rebecca Wiasak may have just won the individual pursuit world title but her eyes are on another event ahead of the Rio Olympics.

Late starter Rebecca Wiasak eyeing Olympic team spot

Paris: Australian Rebecca Wiasak may have just won the individual pursuit world title but her eyes are on another event ahead of the Rio Olympics.

The 30-year-old broke the Australian national record in qualifying and then stormed to gold in the final against American Jennifer Valente at the national velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris on Friday.

But the individual pursuit is not an Olympic event and Wiasak faces the daunting challenge of breaking into the Australian team pursuit squad, who 24 hours earlier smashed the world record in taking their gold medal.

But Wiasak, who became the oldest ever Australian debutant at a worlds, says she`s a late starter and believes she can challenge Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins for a team spot come the Games next year. 

After all, she`s the individual national record holder now, with 3min 27.018sec for the 3km event, and beat Cure into third spot in France.

"I`ve known I had it in my legs for a little while. I went a 28 (3min 28sec) in Mexico in Aguascalientes about this time last year when I won gold at the World Cup, so I knew I`d gone close to it (the old record). 

"This is an event I`m perfectly suited to. Unfortunately, it`s not an Olympic event any more so it`s not an event I can train for and focus on.

"But we`re doing the team pursuit and that`s an Olympic event and that`s what our team`s been focused on and that`s what our goal is: trying to get to Rio.

"This is a really nice step in my development and progression in the sport. I`m 30, definitely a late starter. It`s my first world championships, I`ve never even won a national championship.

"I kind of skipped a step there. I`m so, so happy."

It`s been a whirlwind few weeks for Wiasak, who was second at the national championships earlier in the year but wasn`t sure to make the world championship team.

She had already missed out on the worlds and Commonwealth Games last year.

But she said, even if she hadn`t taken a medal, she would have considered her worlds debut a success.

"I knew I`d done an Australian record and if that`s (all) that happened from this competition, I`d have been proud -- I made it onto the track.

"I didn`t come to Paris for a holiday, I actually got a ride and a national record.

"I can`t ask for much more than that and then I got to the gold medal final and just thought: `make it worthwhile and don`t stuff it up`.

"I`ve done the training so I`m really happy I was able to deliver it in the final."

From Zee News

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