Home nations shine in Sutton Park on last day of triathlon

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The final day of triathlon action at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham saw the English and Welsh teams take gold and silver in the Mixed Relay with impressive performances in front of the home crowd.

Newly crowned Commonwealth Champion, Alex Yee, put in a dominant performance in the opening leg of Mixed Relay to put the English team in charge from the start.

Yee had a good start and exited the water in fourth place and got out on to the bike a bit behind South Africa’s Jamie Riddle but quickly caught up and created a lead pack with Hayden Wilde (NZL) joining them.

Wilde tried to break away, but Yee and Riddle stayed on his shoulder and Yee enjoyed a smooth transition to get onto the run alongside Wilde.

Yee pushed on and broke away from Wilde to carve out a lead for himself and Team England. Yee showed his run strength to handover to Sophie Coldwell in the lead with a 20 second lead.

Coldwell was followed into the water by Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL) and Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS) but they couldn’t take any time out of the English athlete’s lead and they left transition 24 seconds behind.

The Loughborough-based athlete was out on the bike alone and kept the gap steady between herself and the chase pack which consisted of Scotland’s Beth Potter, Wales’ Olivia Mathias and Van Der Kaay.

Coldwell looked consistent throughout her bike leg and left transition two with a 36 second lead over the pack.

On the run, Mathias tried to break the chase pack but couldn’t drop Potter and Van Der Kaay as the race came to the final metres.

Coldwell tagged Sam Dickinson with a 27 second lead over the field and the Team England debutant looked comfortable in his swim to maintain his lead out of the water.

Dickinson put in an excellent performance to maintain his lead on the bike leg and came out of transition two with a 31 second lead over Taylor Reid (NZL) and Cameron Main (SCO) who were caught by Matt Hauser (AUS) and Dominic Coy (WAL).

Dickinson gave everything through his leg of the relay and handed over to Georgia Taylor-Brown with a 16 second lead.

The Olympic silver medallist put in a powerful swim to extend the lead to 24 seconds and didn’t wear a wetsuit so had a fast transition to further extend her lead on the bike.

She looked in command throughout and left transition two with a huge 60 second lead over the field. Wales’ Non Stanford was in the chase pack coming into transition and she was battling with New Zealand’s Andrea Hansen and Australia’s Sophie Linn in the battle for silver and bronze.

Stanford and Linn dropped Hansen within the first 1km of the run and the Welsh athlete was pushing Linn all the way to the blue carpet.

Taylor-Brown’s dominant performance ended with Team England taking the tape.

“I just wanted to put together a good race and I am really pleased I could do with these guys,” Yee said. “I’m pleased to share another amazing moment with them again and I’m so proud of them and I’ve won another Commonwealth gold. It was leave it all out there today. I just wanted to do the best that I could and for me that meant I had to run hard and get a gap for Sophie and I knew we were in a good place. The crowd were just as amazing as Friday so thanks to everyone for coming out.”

“There’s a bit of pressure from having a 20 second lead but I had a good swim and just kept my head down,” Coldwell said. “Our team is all about commitment and positive racing and I’m glad to handover with a similar lead to the one I was given.”

“It was amazing out there for me,” Dickinson said. “The home crowd was awesome. We all get on so well and that really helps with how we race.”

“It was still really hard out there today,” Taylor-Brown said. “I definitely wouldn’t say it was easy, but I said to myself that it’s 20 minutes and you can do anything for 20 minutes. The team put me into a good position. I think they thought it was odd when I went non-wetsuit, but they backed me. It paid off for me too.”

Stanford used her experience and the home crowd to push ahead of Linn as she moved into second place and kicked on to secure the silver for Wales.

“We’re just over the moon,” Stanford said. “I think we’re all just in disbelief and we knew we had a shot of the podium if we had perfect legs, but I don’t think any of us could believe we got silver."

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the crowds were crazy but I just do it and give Dom the best possible chance I can. I just kept thinking do it for the team, Mathias said.”

“The crowd here were amazing,” Coy said. “I could hear the cheering everywhere. Today I was so focused on the race that I couldn’t process it but the noise all the way round definitely helped me.”

Scotland’s Sophia Green brought the team home in fifth position overall.

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