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April 19, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

The reverse sweep

Triathlon has become one of New Zealand’s most competitive individual sports, especially since the flourish in interest triggered by the Kiwi one-two at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The last six years in particular have proved that New Zealanders can punch above their weight in a sport predominantly contested in the northern hemisphere. Despite the retirement of Athens gold medallist and Kiwi icon Hamish Carter in 2007, New Zealand still has plenty of world class talent to support in the lead up to the Delhi Commonwealth Games in October, and ultimately the London 2012 Olympics.

The 2010 ITU World Championships got underway last weekend in Sydney, and some promising results will have the Kiwi contenders in good early season spirits. Following a disappointing 13th placing in his 2009 campaign, veteran Bevan Docherty needed a solid start to get back on track. Along with fellow Kiwi hope Kris Gemmell (8th in 2009), the duo would have wanted to take advantage of the absence of last season’s top two finishers, Alistair Brownlee and Javier Gomez. Thanks largely to a late break on the bike and a signature strong finish on the run, Docherty took gold in a time of 1:51:27, six seconds ahead of Russian Alexander Brukhankov and Frenchman Alexander Hauss. Gemmell was next best of the Kiwis, one minute and 18 seconds back, in 15th place.

Meanwhile, major women’s hope Andrea Hewitt (3rd last season) was pipped by a metre into second place by Chilean rookie Barbara Riveros, while Debbie Tanner managed a gutsy 16th placing in the heat. Mountain-running convert Kate McIlroy disappointingly pulled out early in the 10km run with an aggravated injury, in her first championship race since an excellent debut season in 2009, where she finished a creditable 20th.

The Kiwi triathlon contingent for the Commonwealth Games looks set to be very strong, with three podium finishes and two top five place-getters backing up from Melbourne in 2006. For the men, Melbourne silver medallist Docherty and fifth placer Gemmell will lend their experience to lead a group of talented youngsters such as Tony Dodds, Clark Ellice and Terrenzo Bozzone. The women will also be buoyed by the great success of 2006, which produced a two-three-four finish for Sam Warriner, Hewitt and Tanner respectively. All three will likely be starters in Delhi, along with up-and-coming stars McIlroy and Nicky Samuels.

In Melbourne, Australia and New Zealand shared all six triathlon medals, and based on recent form, I wouldn’t bet against it happening again—with the likes of Aussie stars Emma Moffatt (3rd last weekend) and Melbourne Games champion Brad Kahlefeldt also showing good form.

The bottom line is, triathlon appears to be becoming somewhat of a Kiwi forte—à la rowing.


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Comments (11)

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  1. Steve says:

    Not sure that there is Triathlon at this years Commonwealth games – something to do with there being no natural water that meets the minimum water quality for triathlon swimming – would have been awesome though for the previous games top 5 most watched sport! Look out London 2012!

  2. Tom says:

    Oops, that’ll teach me for skimping on the research!!! Apparently a suitable cycling circuit is also of concern. Also, the Games themselves look somewhat in jeapordy after yet more cricket-related bombings in India! I guess we’ll have to wait for London!

  3. Stephen says:

    Just shows you the level you need to be at to get your thoughts published in this world these days. No offence mate…but that’s pure amateur reporting.

    Your bottom line too “triathlon appears to be becoming somewhat of a Kiwi forte—à la rowing.” – I would suggest it’s actually the reverse (again if you’d done your research) rowing appears to be becoming somewhat of a kiwi forte – a la Triathlon.

    You’ll get there mate…..

  4. Jesse says:

    Nope, I agree with Tom on the bottom line. Rowing has been a Kiwi speciality for a lot longer than triathlon.

  5. Stephen says:

    You see you’re ‘mincing’ your words too Jesse, it may have been a speciality since the 60’s, and yes the coxless 4’s won Silver in 72, but it really wasn’t mainstream and definately not a ‘forte’ as Tom describes it as until the late 90’s. Triathlon and NZ triathletes were well established by then on the world stage…Rick Wells, Erin Baker, Hamish Carter, Jenny Rose. NZ had many World Champions.


    And Triathlon at The 2010 Commonwealths….ROTFL

  6. smackdown says:

    critiquing the sports column of a student magazine

  7. Stephen says:

    The Student magazine of a University no less, says a lot. I better gap it now though, with a name like ‘smackdown’ you may at somepoint say something constructive (although I doubt it…)

  8. Hank Scorpio says:

    lmao what the fuck

    (although I doubt it…)

  9. smackdown says:

    (although I doubt it…)

  10. H says:

    (I doubt…)

  11. Tom says:

    lol, maybe I should continue to ‘mince’ my words. It seems to get me the most hits

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