Gentle pushing hard for triathlon upset
As the only woman to beat two-time world champion Flora Duffy in more than 18 months, Australian triathlete Ashleigh Gentle has every right to be feeling confident heading into the Commonwealth Games.
Bermuda's Duffy is the undisputed queen of the sport, having dominated the sport post Rio Olympics.
Since September 2016, Duffy has won eight of the nine races she has completed - the only blemish being a second place to Gentle in last year's ITU event in Montreal.
And it's that triumph that has Gold Coast raised-Gentle feeling good about her chances on home soil.
"She's a dual world champion, she has those two world titles, she's obviously a very fierce competitor," Gentle said of Duffy.
Last year I started to believe in myself a little bit more and I'll be going out there on Thursday with the mindset that I'm no less an athlete than her.
"Montreal was definitely a massive breakthrough race for me.
"It proved to myself that no matter how you're feeling that you can overcome those thoughts and feelings and still produce a really great race.
"I reflect on it in the lead-up to races to remind myself of that."
That said, Duffy remains the woman to beat in an impressive field containing five athletes ranked in the top 10 in the world.
Just outside the top 10 is Gentle's Australian teammate and training partner Charlotte McShane.
The format for the men's and women's triathlon has switched from the Olympic distance to the sprint format - the race now comprising a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
It's a change Gentle is embracing, having admitted to initially struggling with the shorter format.
"At the start of last year I would have said no," Gentle said when asked if it was to her advantage.
"But I think that I've discovered that I can go fast in a sprint distance race now.
"I think that's helped me change my mindset and embrace whatever format - world triathlon series, or now the Commonwealth Games - might throw at us."
In the most recent sprint race that both Duffy and Gentle completed, the pair finished 1-2, with the Bermudan winning the ITU event in Hamburg last July by 31 seconds.
All six men and women competing in Thursday's first medal events of the Games were present at Tuesday's media call, where Australian team boss Steve Moneghetti serenaded Matt Hauser with a cake on his 20th birthday.
Cheer on the athletes as they compete in the cycling and running stages of the race, with some great viewing spots along the course. There are also a number of sports available to watch live, snap up your tickets today.