Gentle finds silver lining in hard fall

Ashleigh Gentle is a real Commonwealth Games medal hope. Picture: ITU Media/Wagner Araujo
Ashleigh Gentle is a real Commonwealth Games medal hope. Picture: ITU Media/Wagner Araujo

Ashleigh Gentle's early disgust at crashing out of the opening round of the world triathlon series has turned to gratitude after she realised how close she could have come to missing the Commonwealth Games.

Gentle was among the casualties on an Abu Dhabi course that resembled an ice slick once rain hit the Formula 1 circuit during the bike leg.

"Unfortunately it ended up being a race where it was just (about) survival," said Gentle, who finished last season ranked No.2 in the world.

"There were lots of crashes, unfortunately I came down too but I was able to get up and I was able to finish in 13th.

"I was so disappointed, but then after a while, I (realised) I have to be happy.

Ashleigh Gentle crashed out in the world series opener.
Ashleigh Gentle crashed out in the world series opener. DEAN LEWINS

"There were girls that were concussed and girls that were badly injured, so thankfully that wasn't me because that would really put a damper on my preparation for Comm Games.

"So I'm just feeling grateful now."

Gentle said she had no indication she was slipping or time to brace for a crash and was lucky she was not badly injured.

"I didn't know (I was going down) at all, it happened so quickly and I think there must have been something on the ground or I took it maybe a bit too fast, I'm still not sure," she said.

"It definitely happened very quickly.

"It was around a U-turn, so it was a very slow-speed crash.

"There was mainly a bit of soreness in my neck and stuff just from the fall but because it was slow, I recovered pretty quickly and just had to make sure that on the plane I had a few grazes covered and was just being cautious before Comm Games."

Gentle had already decided to prioritise the world series opener over the Mooloolaba World Cup but she couldn't stay away from one of her favourite events on the race calendar and headed to the Sunshine Coast over the weekend to compete in the 5km twilight run and ocean swim to continue to hone her Games preparations.

Ashleigh Gentle celebrates winning the Noosa triathlon.
Ashleigh Gentle celebrates winning the Noosa triathlon.

"The rest of my squad are up here doing the World Cup and I love Mooloolaba, so I wanted to come back and still be a part of it," she said.

"I didn't want to come up and just be a spectator, that's just me, I guess, wanting to be a part of everything, so I'm happy to be here to have a nice fast and hard run."

Gentle will put the final touches on her competition program this weekend, competing for Australia in a mixed relay event at Runaway Bay.

"I'm doing mixed relays next weekend and then just making sure that I stay healthy and do the best I can until Comm Games," Gentle said.

"I've done a good consistent block, I've just got to make sure now I'm doing all those little things right - getting the speed right up there and also keeping fit and healthy and injury-free."

Topics:  ashleigh gentle commonwealth games gold coast 2018 triathlon world triathlon

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