Australia takes bronze in triathlon relay

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Australian triathlon has set an ambitious target of returning to the podium at the Paris Olympics after a medals stepping stone at the Commonwealth Games.

This year's revelation Sophie Linn collapsed at the finish on Sunday after anchoring Australia to bronze at the Commwealth Games mixed team relay.

It followed Matt Hauser's bronze in the individual race two days ago and Linn's fifth in the women's race.

Once the nation to beat in triathlon, Australia has dropped away badly and Erin Densham's bronze in London was its most recent Olympic medal.

But after the disaster of the Tokyo Games, where the Australians were well off the pace, team boss Justin Drew says they are back on track.

"One of the things you have to look at is it's okay to be ambitious," Drew said.

"Why shouldn't we be there?

"Tokyo was the anomaly in the relay and there are a number of reasons for that. Now it's about Paris."

Australia, which won this event four years ago and finished second in a world series race earlier this month, was off the pace as England took control early.

But after dropping to sixth midway, Hauser and Linn brought the Australians home with storming legs.

Jake Birtwhistle, Natalie Van Coevorden, Hauser and Linn finished 49 seconds behind the English, who won in one hour 16 minutes 40 seconds.

Linn outsprinted Non Stanford two days ago, but the Welsh great turned the tables on Sunday to finish three seconds ahead and claim silver.

Linn's teammates supported her after she slumped to the ground and she recovered quickly.

Given Hauser's form, the question will be asked whether he should have started the relay, not Birtwhistle.

But Drew backed the relay order.

"The advantage of putting Matt in the third leg was the different scenarios we could then account for," Drew said.

"From a strategic perspective, that's the way we settled on as a team.".

Earlier on Sunday, Sam Harding's rapid rise in para triathlon netted the well-credentialed Australian athlete a Commonwealth Games silver medal.

Compatriot Jono Goerlach added bronze to his impressive CV as three-time Paralympian Gerrard Goesens tearfully confirmed his retirement after finishing fifth.

England's David Ellis and guide Luke Polard dominated the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run event.

It was only the second time the sport has been on the Games program and is the debut for visually impaired paratriathletes.

As Governor General David Hurley and Australian chef de mission Petria Thomas looked on, Australian Erica Burleigh and guide Felicity Cradick finished sixth in the women's race behind England's Katie Crowhurst and Jessica Fullagar.

Light rain made conditions difficult for the para triathletes, particularly for the unwieldy tandem bikes, and the Scottish team crashed heavily in the men's race.

But as Van Coevorden noted, conditions improved noticeably for the relay in the afternoon and the heat suited the Australians.

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