GOING FOR GOLD: Hervey Bay triathlete Matthew Hauser will compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
GOING FOR GOLD: Hervey Bay triathlete Matthew Hauser will compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Jerad Williams

Hauser recalls the moment he learned of Games selection

SUNDAY, November 12, 2017.

It is the day for which promising triathlete Matt Hauser has waited months.

The country's top triathletes know this is the day they will find out whether or not they would be part of the team for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Gun Tasmanian Jake Birtwhistle already automatically qualified for a place on the team. Hauser, 19, is in a tight battle with the likes of Rio Olympians Ryan Bailie, Aaron Royle, and former world Under-23 bronze medallist Luke Willian.

Hauser has long been quizzed about his Commonwealth Games chances. Talk of his imminent Games debut is heightened by those around the sport, particularly in his home town of Hervey Bay, and those calls grow louder after a phenomenal 2017.

He won the 2017 Chengdu ITU Triathlon World Cup in May, was part of the first Australian team to win a world mixed relay gold medal in Hamburg, Germany, in July, then won the World Junior Championship at Rotterdam, Netherlands, in September.

Strong performances at other ITU events, as well as the first Super League series, only helps his cause.

But Hauser, who relocated to the Gold Coast to train under the direction of Dan Atkins two years ago, was never convinced.

He pushed his case, particularly his love and dominance of shorter distance and relay events.

"I haven't let it bother me too much,” Hauser says.

"I'm just coming back into training so I'm keen to get fit and back into it as soon as possible. I've put it out of my head. I thought that I can't do much about it now but I'll have to wait and see.

"I've been vocal about my love and passion for the relays, and my involvement with the mixed relay team who won the world champs in Hamburg probably played a big part as well. But I've been vocal about how I enjoy the shorter distances, and that was reflected in my junior world champs victory as well.”

Hauser has set an alarm one hour before Triathlon Australia Performance Director Justin Drew is set to call.

He takes advantage of a rare sleep-in, eats breakfast, then tries to busy himself as he waits for the phone to ring. The anticipation makes the wait even worse: he can't sit still. Finally, Drew's name appears on his mobile phone and Hauser answers immediately.

Hauser, who only started training with renowned triathlon coach Brian Harrington when he was 12-years-old, can't read Drew's tone early in the conversation. Triathlon Australia officials have called every prospective athlete to tell them whether or not they will be given the opportunity to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal on home soil.

Then it happens.

Hauser, just seven years since he first started training in triathlon, has made the squad.

He will join his history-making mixed relay teammates Birtwhistle, Ashleigh Gentle and Charlotte McShane in the six-person squad. Willian is the third male athlete, while Gillian Backhouse rounds out the three-person women's team.

"In my mind, it could've gone either way, but just a rush of relief when Justin said 'you're in',” Hauser said.

He can't immediately share the news. There is a 48-hour period during which other athletes can lodge an appeal, and, like every professional sport, there will be a public announcement of the team.

Mum Vicki and Harrington are driving to the Gold Coast to join thousands of other Commonwealth Games volunteers for induction and training.

Vicki's phone buzzes, and all she needs to see is a winking emoji to confirm her son's entry to one of the biggest competitions in world triathlon.

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