The second day of triathlon action at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games saw the PTVI athletes across England, Scotland and Wales make their debut and the mixed team relay delight home crowds.
On a rainy day in Birmingham, it was Dave Ellis and Luke Pollard and Katie Crowhurst and Jessica Fullagar that shone for the home crowd to take gold on the second day of action at the Commonwealth Games.
Ellis and Pollard went into the event hungry to put the pain of Tokyo behind them and they executed a near perfect race to climb to the top of the podium to claim their first Commonwealth title.
The English athletes set off second but showed their strength in the swim to head into transition one first where they enjoyed a smooth changeover to the bike.
Ellis and Pollard powered through the bike leg to increase their distance over Sam Harding (AUS) and his guide. Kelly and Harding suffered an unfortunate puncture which pushed them down the field.
Another smooth transition from Ellis and Pollard meant they went out on the run alone and knew that they just had to keep it steady in order to claim their first gold medal at a multi-sport event.
An emotional Ellis and Pollard ran onto the blue carpet, grabbed an English flag and took the tape having a strong run.
"That was just unbelievable," Ellis said. "That's the best feeling ever and it was an awesome day out there. The crowd were fantastic out on the course, I’ve never heard anything like that.
"Last year was so disappointing and I didn’t want to go through that feeling again so this is just the polar opposite of that. I can’t wait for Paris now and see what we can do there."
Pollard added: “The last 12 months have been pretty hard with Tokyo just on us all the time and thinking about it. Coming here was such a relief and I probably showed that at the finish line. It was 12 months of a bit stress, a bit of worry, it was so good.”
Rhys Jones and Rhys James (WAL) secured fourth place while Kelly and Harding finished in fifth place overall. Iain Dawson (SCO) and Duncan Shea-Simonds finish eighth overall.
Crowhurst went stroke for stroke with Peasgood in the swim as they trailed behind Tuomela but it was the English athletes that got the advantage and left the water in second place behind the Canadian.
The English pair put in an excellent bike leg to fight back against Tuomela’s lead. They caught her with two laps to go and Crowhurst and Fullagar kept their heads down to carve out their own lead.
Coming into the final lap of the run, Crowhurst looked to be struggling with a stitch but as they entered the blue carpet she looked back into her strong running pace and knew she had the gold medal secured.
Crowhurst and Fullagar claimed the gold medal for Team England and their first major medal in Para Triathlon.
“It was amazing today," Crowhurst said. "It was all tough but you’ve just got to push through and to have Jess by my side was just great. I preferred the swim which is where I came from originally so when that went well I knew we just had to catch on to the Canadian and when we did that was pretty fun.
“The relationship with the guide is so essential to how we race because I can’t see. We talk the whole way but it was tough to hear her today as the crowd was so loud which was amazing. I didn’t know what to expect and it was about the experience. I was so grateful to have the opportunity. I’m really speechless and this is just such an exciting feeling.”
Fullagar added: “This is only our second race together, we raced British Champs at Eton Dorney two weeks ago and we’ve been working really closely together at the Immersion Camp in Loughborough. We came to Birmingham this week and we were honest with each other in training and tried our everything so come race day we were ready and Katie absolutely smashed it today. She should be really proud of herself.”
Peasgood and Macleod suffered a crash and were forced to withdraw from the race during the bike leg.
Next stop for these athletes is the Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea, all the information you need on this event is here
If you’re interested in getting started in paratriathlon, British Triathlon are holding a talent ID event on Sunday 11 September at Eton Dorney. More information can be found here