Four days of triathlon competition got underway on Thursday at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast, with the first of two Age-Group World Championship events.
Today’s racing was the Sprint distance, held over the draft-legal format. The Standard distance event will follow on Sunday.
Taking the headlines today was Michelle Dillon, returning to competition in the Age-Group ranks, having had a long career in the British Elite team until major back surgery lead to her retirement in 2008. As well as taking Gold in the F45-49 division, Michelle also set the fastest overall female time of the day too. “Worked extremely hard for this, it feels surreal”, Michelle said of her success. There was very strong competition too, as the Silver medallist in Michelle’s category, Samantha Bradley (NZL), was also twice an Olympian, and they started the closing 5km run within seconds of each other, before Michelle pulled clear.
The fastest British male athlete was James Hodgson (M20-24), who took Gold in his category, a fine performance having recently finished fourth at the ETU European Championships in Glasgow. Another close race, James was given the verdict over New Zealand’s David Martin, despite both recording the same time. James really did need every second of his fastest run split to reach the top step of the podium.
Several British athletes completed the European (Glasgow) / World (Gold Coast) Sprint distance double, including Edward Castro (M30-34), James Wilson (M35-39) and Peggy Crome (F75-79). Peggy also won the European Championships over the Standard distance in Tartu, and is set to race again on Sunday to see if she can complete a ‘double-double’ of both distances, at both championships, in the same year. That was also her 19th international medal in ETU/ITU competition over the last 15 seasons.
James Wilson was the only British athlete to defend his title from Rotterdam last year, but Barbara Holmes (F55-59) earned Silver this year to add to Gold in both 2017 and 2016.
The British Age-Group athletes will now get to rest for a few days, with many of the 178 strong team from today, competing on Sunday as well in the non-drafting Standard distance race.
ITU World Triathlon Gold Coast Grand Final
Age-Group Sprint Distance Triathlon World Championships
GOLD MEDALS – 7
- James Hodgson – M20-24
- Edward Castro – M30-34
- James Wilson – M35-39
- Michelle Dillon – F45-49
- Penny Rother – F60-64
- Peggy Crome – F75-79
- Mary Anstey – F80-84
SILVER MEDALS – 2
- Barbara Holmes – F55-59
- Anne Hughes – F65-69
BRONZE MEDALS – 3
- Stephen Holmes – M35-39
- Linda Russell-Bond – F60-64
- Helen Hayes – F70-74