Montrose triathlete has Olympic hopes

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MONTROSE triathlete Ritchie Nicholls has swapped the Scottish sunshine for the tropical storms of the Philippines as he looks to catch the eyes of Olympic selectors.

Nicholls, a member of triathlonscotland’s podium performance squad, took part in the Subic Bay ITU Triathlon Asian Cup event on Sunday. He will now travel to further events in South Korea and China.

The 23-year-old is hopeful a strong showing in these three events could help him gain the points needed to earn a starting slot for London 2012 selection races.

He said: “If I’m realistic then qualifying for the Olympic Games is a long shot for me, but it’s still something in the back of my head that I could get the points I need.

“That’s part of the reason why I’m going out to compete in Asia as it’s a good chance for me to see how I can perform without putting too much pressure on myself.

“I’ve raced just about everywhere else in the world except Asia but I’ll just take it as it comes.

“I know the weather is in the mid 30s and it has been raining a lot but I don’t really mind what the conditions are like as long as it’s warmer than Scotland.”

Nicholls showed glimpses of his talent on home soil last year by winning a European Cup event at Strathclyde Park, but despite spending much of his pre-season training at the University of Stirling performance centre he will miss out on defending his title on May 22.

Nicholls added: “It’s important I pick up some solid results and build on last year.

“It’s disappointing not to be around for Strathclyde Park as it is a great event, but right now I feel I stand to gain more from these three races abroad than back home.”