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Brendan Sexton back in Hunter for Olympic triathlon campaign

BACK HOME: Brendan Sexton is training in Maitland for a shot at a second Olympics. He hopes to be on the start line for the Games qualification event on the Gold Coast in April. Picture: Cath BowenBRENDAN Sexton cannot remember how many laps he has done at Maitland Pool.
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Between early-morning training sessions with Maitland Swimming Club and in later years racing with Maitland Triathlon Club, there are toomany to count.

But now those same lanes carry an even greater meaning for the 30-year-old as he launches his campaign for a second Olympics in the city he was born and bred.

Sexton holds hope of Games qualification, and his journeyto Rio is takingin the water, roads and parks of the Hunter.

“It’s good to be home and targeting Rio from here,” Sexton said.“It’s that sort of familiarity you don’t really feel outside a country town.”

He is keeping his daily program simple: Aquick dip at the King George Memorial baths;running around the Maitland Park district;and finishing with kilometres on the bike towards either Newcastle or up the valley, depending on the wind.

Sexton will contest events in and New Zealand early in 2016 before the one that matters,the ITU World Series event on the Gold Coast in April, which doubles as an Olympic qualifier.

Brendan Sexton

The former Maitland Grossmann High School student knows he has work to dobetween now and then.

“I’m not confirmed for the Gold Coast, so it will be all about getting performances on the board to ensure I’m on the start line.”

Fellow Maitland club member Aaron Royle has booked one of the country’s three men’s spots for Rio.

Royle, who addressed Olympic hopefuls in Sydney on Wednesday with chef de mission Kitty Chiller, has come along in leaps and bounds since helping Sexton train for his debut Games in London in 2012.

“Coming off the back of London was pretty much where Aaron started to hit his straps,” Sexton said.“He won the under-23 world championships in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since then.

“It’s pretty cool to have someone who comes from the same area and the same local club getting to that level.I would love to actually get on the team and have two Hunter boys in Rio together.”

The Olympic flame still burns brightly for Sexton, who has the rings tattooed on his chest.

“A lot has gone on since London, and I’ve waned in motivation at times.London was a massive event for me, and to do it again in Rio is something I want to do.”

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