Father and son to compete at worlds

Daniel Rifkin at the Maccabiah Games. He will represent Australia at the 2017 ITU Triathlon Age Group World Championships in Rotterdam from September 14-17, with his father Julian. Photo: Julie Kerbel

THEY have had vastly different preparations, but Sydney father and son Julian and Daniel Rifkin will fly to Rotterdam next week to represent Australia at the 2017 ITU Triathlon Age Group World Championships, just months after competing together at the Maccabiah Games.

It will be the third world championships for Julian, 61, but this time he is just pleased to be going after injury almost derailed his plans.

“I had two crashes at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, a chipped bone, an infection and I had to be fixed up about five times, so it was a long and bumpy road,” he said.

“I only got my stitches out eight days ago, so I’m happy to be still going to Rotterdam.

“I have no expectations – I just know its going to be really special being there with Daniel.

“He is a late bloomer in triathlon and he absolutely smashed it in Israel, so it will be really interesting to see how he goes at his first world championships.”

Daniel, 31, has a swimming background and only began doing triathlons 10 months ago when he joined Maccabi NSW Triathlon and Cycling Club.

“I decided to enter several Australian triathlons like Canberra, Coffs Harbour and Devonport and at first I didn’t believe I would qualify for anything, but then each time I would improve my time by 10 minutes and I just kept improving,” Daniel said.

At the Maccabiah Games, he won gold in the 3km open water swimming, silver in the triathlon, bronze in the cycling team time trial and he finished ninth overall in the gruelling Mac-Man event, held in 33 degree heat.

“That gave me a lot of confidence, and since then I’ve been able to increase my average bike speed by 10km/h and run 10km in under 40 minutes.

“In Rotterdam, I’d like to take another 10 to 15 minutes off and finish in under two hours and 10 minutes.”

Daniel is full of admiration for his father.

“Dad just won’t quit – just two days after his last surgery we did a 6km bushwalk together, and he was back running again later that week.

“To be able to do some of the training together with your dad, and then go to the worlds together, it really means a lot.”

SHANE DESIATNIK

Julian Rifkin.