Three months after a lung infection left him in an isolation ward at a Spanish hospital, Wollongong triathlete Aaron Royle booked himself a spot at next year’s Commonwealth Games.
Royle’s seventh-place finish in Sunday’s elite men’s race at the Triathlon World Championship finals in London capped a dramatic return to the sport for the 23-year-old.
The placing was enough for Royle to attain Australia’s automatic qualifying berth for next year’s Games in Glasgow.
Home town hero Jonathan Brownlee and Spain’s Javier Gomez duelled for the crown, with Gomez surging on the line to take out the 2013 World Championship.
For Royle, his seventh-place finish was just as good as winning after a year where he spent 10 days in hospital with an abscess on his left lung and pneumonia.
‘‘There was plenty of self doubt coming back,’’ the 2012 under-23 world champion said.
‘‘It took a long time to get that last couple of per cent and you start to doubt yourself.
‘‘Making the Commonwealth Games will be a very proud moment for me ... I knew if I had a good race then a top eight was certainly possible - I was counting along for that cut-off as I was running, especially when I started to fade a little bit towards the end.
‘‘It was probably one of the hardest races I’ve done to be honest and although I felt good, there was just no let up.’’
Dan Wilson was the next best Australian; he finished 18th, while Ryan Bailie came in 21st and Cameron Good was 28th.
Royle’s effort capped a promising week for Australia at the finals, with Charlotte McShane’s gold in the women’s under-23 race and Emma Moffatt’s bronze in the elite women’s race.
‘‘There is no doubt these results exceeded expectations, from our juniors and under-23s to the elites ... it was incredibly encouraging across the board,’’ Triathlon Australia’s performance manager Bernard Savage said. AAP