Commonwealth Games: Veteran Andrea Hansen returns for fourth triathlon bid at Birmingham

Andrea Hansen (then Hewitt) competes at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
Andrea Hansen (then Hewitt) competes at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Photo credit: Photosport

Veteran triathlete Andrea Hansen has been named for her fourth Commonwealth Games at Birmingham in July/August.

As Andrea Hewitt, she attended Melbourne 2006, Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018, winning individual bronze on debut and mixed relay bronze at her most recent appearance. Triathlon was not contested at Kuala Lumpur 2010.

Hansen, 40, now a mother of an infant daughter, has been confirmed in a six-strong team for the Birmingham Games.

"I've been working towards this, but it's still a bit of a surprise to be named," she said. "I didn't know how I'd recover, after having my daughter Flossie 15 months ago, so I'm feeling very lucky to be back for my fourth Commonwealth Games." 

After childbirth, Hansen resumed training - including pool sessions with Paralympic star Sophie Pascoe - and returned to competition in March, finishing second behind Nicole van der Kaay at the Tri Taranaki event, then third behind Ainsley Thorpe and van der Kraay at Taupo in April. 

All three have been selected, along with Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Hayden Wilde, fellow Olympian Tayler Reid and 2018 Youth Olympic champion Dylan McCullough.

"My coach John Hellemans and I have set a good plan, which includes a training camp in Spain and a few build-up races before the Games to make sure I go into the race at 100 percent," said McCullough.

"I am really looking forward to soaking up the whole Commonwealth Games experience. I have just turned 21 and the Commonwealth Games is something that most New Zealand school kids learn about at some stage during their schooling. 

Hayden Wilde finishes third at Tokyo Olympics
Hayden Wilde finishes third at Tokyo Olympics. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I remember doing a project on the Commonwealth Games in primary school, so to get the opportunity to represent New Zealand now in Birmingham is a very special feeling."

Hansen, van der Kaay, Reid and Ryan Sissons combined to finish third in the relay four years ago. Four athletes each race over a cutback 300m swim/8km bike/2km run.

Wilde will be among the favourites for the individual men's title, after finishing second at the Yokohama World Triathlon last weekend.

NZ triathlon team at Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Men: Dylan McCullough, Tayler Reid, Hayden Wilde

Women: Andrea Hansen, Ainsley Thorpe, Nicole van der Kaay