Licensed to make his mark
SUNSHINE Coast talent Luke Farrell is primed to make his mark on the world triathlon circuit this year after being granted a professional licence in the under-23 category.
The 18-year-old is set to contest a host of Continental Cup events in Australia and overseas, starting with Sunday's Oceania Cup race at Mooloolaba.
His coach, Dan Atkins, said yesterday: "We've still got to work it out, but we're looking at a trip to Asia and Europe.
"Nothing is set in concrete but we're going to map out a plan overseas, where I'd like him to chase points.
Atkins said his young charge had undoubted talent and could force his way through the elite ranks with some strong showings on the international stage.
"This year will be about getting experience and gaining as many points as possible. It's going to be a two, three-years plan that we need to put in place," he said.
Farrell burst on to the scene when he claimed victory in the under-19 world sprint championships at Beijing last year, three months after linking with Atkins.
His father, Michael, said: "That win set up everything for him. It gave him a lot of opportunities.
"But he won't be going to the world championships in Auckland, because he's focusing on these Continental Cup races now."
The Continental Cup circuit is essentially the third tier of elite racing, behind World Championship Series events and World Cup Series events.
Michael said: "He will basically focus on the European and Asian circuits. That's what he's targeting. There is bit of travel, but that's what the kid wants to do, so who am I to say no."
Farrell will also become eligible for invitation to World Cup events, depending on his accrued competition points.
Once approved by Triathlon Australia, Farrell is set to race in Japan, Europe and Hong Kong before returning home to prepare for the Noosa Triathlon.
It is hoped he will be mixing it with the world's best elite triathletes in two to four years.
Farrell is one of several Sunshine Coast athletes set to compete in this weekend's Oceania Cup race.
Chloe Turner and Kirra Seidel are expected to line up in the women's field.