Commonwealth Games Australia

Rising star Jack Howell is the Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) Emerging Athlete of the Month for March after winning his first World Para-Triathlon Series title.

The 21-year-old from Berwick, Victoria, maintained a strong lead before finishing the seven-person PTS5 competition in 1:00.30 and clocked a field-best time of 16:35 for the five-kilometre run. Howell suffers from a congenital condition called symbrachydactyly, which means he is missing his entire hand from the wrist down, affecting the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones of his left arm. 

"In triathlon, this affects my ability to swim and my control on the bike. I have a custom cup in my bike to stabilise my wrist, with a single brake control unit imported from Spain," said Howell. The condition isn't holding him back, as last year he was selected to take part in the Paris 2024 Para-Triathlon Test Event, which will welcome the world this summer. 

"Having the opportunity to compete with the best in the world was a testament to the hard work I have put in over the years and my potential to perform well at the upcoming Games," he pointed out, reflecting on his proudest achievement.

The young athlete has his sights set on more than just a triathlon career. Howell hopes to become a primary school physical education teacher and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Education, while also acting as an ambassador for the Dylan Alcott Foundation, Variety Children's Charity, and the Sport Excellence Scholarship Fund.

The next few months will be busy for Howell, with the upcoming World Triathlon Para Series event in Yokohama, Japan in May and the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. He is currently ranked fourth in the world in the PTS5 para-triathlon category and he needs to stay in the top nine to secure his place at Paris 2024. Howell says that connecting with the wider triathlon community in between races and travelling helps his development.

"Growing up as a junior triathlete, I trained and raced with my able-bodied peers. This inclusive environment proved to be an inspiration and learning experience for my teammates, while helping me to learn the sport, belong and be supported," said Howell. 

The countless hours of training and strong community seem to be paying off for Howell, as he takes centre stage as CGA's Emerging Athlete of the Month for March. "I am honestly so surprised and honoured to be selected as the Commonwealth Games Australia Emerging Athlete of the Month. I just do what I do in my daily training and love every minute of it," he admitted.

The Commonwealth Games serves as a platform for the development of the future stars of Australian sport and the Emerging Athlete of the Year is part of a refreshed awards and honours programme developed by the CGA Heritage and Awards Committee.

The CGA Emerging Athlete of the Year Award celebrates the next generation of Australian sporting stars and those who have the potential to represent Australia at major sporting events in the future. Each month in 2024, an athlete will be recognised as the Emerging Athlete of the Month and will receive $500 towards their training and competition expenses. Three finalists from the monthly winners will share a cash prize of $7000, with the winner receiving $5000 and the two runners-up receiving $1000 each.