Sharkey and O’Brien swim, bike and run to top 20 finishes
Thursday morning saw the turn of Ireland’s top junior athletes as they took on the best the world of triathlon has to offer.
Emma Sharkey in the junior women’s race lined up alongside 73 other athletes as they dived into London’s Serpentine Lake to start their 750m swim.
Despite the crowded turn buoys, Sharkey managed to negotiate the course with ease, rising from the water 2 seconds off the leader in 5th place. The pace had been quick as Emma clocked 9:20 for the 750 meters as the rest of the field was strung out in single file with some trailing over 2 minutes behind.
“I’ve been working hard on my swim so I was pleased to get to the first turn buoy in 3rd place. Once I was there I knew I was in a good position and could avoid the scramble behind.” Emma told us after the race.
Comfortably into the lead bike pack Emma rode well near the front at all times and out of danger. The group of 14 kept up a strong pace in order to keep clear of the packs chasing behind.
“I just wanted to keep out of trouble because when you’re at the back you can get caught out by people breaking unexpectedly or trying a break away. I did some work on the front with about 5 other girls but there were some in the group who I never saw near the front.”
Entering T2 they had pulled out 1:15 on the 2nd chase pack of 11 and almost 2 minutes on the 3rd pack.
Tamara Gorman of the USA charged out of T2 on the run opening up an early advantage with a host of other nations in hot pursuit. Sharkey was also running well and was delighted to come home in 13th place.
The race was eventually won by Tamara Gorman with George Taylor-Brown of Great Britain 2nd and Laura Lindemann of Germany in 3rd.
“Emma had a great race. Top 15 in the world is a brilliant result and a testament to the hard work she has put in and the talented athletes we have.” commented TI Junior Squad Coach Stephen Delaney.
In the Junior Men’s race Ireland had two representatives in the form of Limerick’s Aaron O’Brien and Cork’s Chris Mintern.
Again with a stacked field of 74 on the start line, the swim was always going to be physical. The Irish duo found themselves in the thick of it emerging from the water in 43rd and 45th place. Frenchman Dorian Coninx had set the early swim pace as athletes behind him battled to stay close to the front.
“The swim was just crazy. It was a case of trying to stay alive as you were getting pulled and dragged at every turn.” Commented O’Brien.
21 men managed to make the lead bike pack and were pushing on, looking to keep the gap.
Aaron and Chris hurried through transition and onto their bikes hoping to chase down the leaders. After just a few hundred meters disaster struck for Mintern as an Italian athlete touched a wheel and the bunch scattered across the road in front of him.
“We were at the first corner as I was trying to fasten up my bike shoes. Next minute I look up and there’s a guy on the deck right in front of me. There was nowhere to go so I’m pretty disappointed with it.” Commented Mintern.
“I had some road rash but I’m in the World Championships so I just put my chain back on, got back on my bike and chased for the rest of the day.”
O’Brien and the 2nd pack were riding well and managed to bridge the gap to the leaders with just 3km remaining.
“I saw Chris go down early which I just managed to avoid by swerving to the left. The road was really greasy and there were a few more crashes but I stayed near the front with about five other guys and we worked hard to bridge up.” Commented O’Brien.
The Frenchman, Dorian Coninx was again to the fore on the run with a host of the top British athletes, Sheldon, Benson and Austin on his heels.
By the finish Coninx had pulled away to take gold with Marc Austin 2nd and Grant Sheldon 3rd. Aaron O’Brien produced a PB on the run to finish just a minute off the winner in 53 minutes flat for the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
Chris Mintern battled on, picking off a number of athletes over the final kilometres to finish 67th.
The opening day of World Championship action on Wednesday saw Ireland pick up its first medal of the Championships when Matt Molloy claimed gold in the 40-44 years age group in the Aquathlon World Championships. Molloy clocked the 2nd fastest swim and fastest run to cover the 750m swim and 5km run in 31:02.
In the elite women’s race Lizzie Lee, who is better known for her XC running finished 7th in the strong field.
Junior World Championship Results Here
Aquathlon World Championships Results Here
|Thursday 12 September|
|U23 Men World Championships||15:00|
|Friday 13 September|
|Sprint Distance Age-Group World Championships||08:00|
|Saturday 14 September|
|Sunday 15 September|
|Standard Distance Age-Group World Championships||07:00|