Coldwell blows expectations out of the water at World Triathlon Championship

·3-min read
Coldwell blows expectations out of the water at World Triathlon Championship
Coldwell blows expectations out of the water at World Triathlon Championship

Stunned Sophie Coldwell outdid her own expectations with a brilliant case of deja vu after she claimed third at the AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds.

Coldwell, 27, replicated her 2021 result at Roundhay Park albeit over the shorter sprint distance adopted to accommodate Leeds’ inaugural mixed relay event on Sunday.

The Gravesend-born triathlete finished the swim in second and was part of the leading group for all five laps on the bike, kicking into first shortly into the run before her earlier efforts caught up with her as teammate Georgia Taylor-Brown and France’s eventual winner Cassandre Beaugrand, who survived a late 10-second penalty, finished ahead of her on the podium.

“It feels pretty epic. I don’t know why I was so nervous coming into this race,” explained Coldwell, who grew up in Keyworth, Nottingham but is now based in Loughborough.

“I’m so glad to be back racing and to get back on the podium, especially here. Last year there were loads of people out there but this year I reckon there were at least twice as many.

“The whole way round you could hear people shouting. I’m over the moon, I can’t ask for anything more.

“Once we got on the bike and there was a gap, I thought ‘well I might as well commit to it now.’ So I just gave it everything I’ve got.

“I probably paid a bit for it on the run but it’s one of those things that if I’d got caught in the big pack then I probably wouldn’t have got a medal. So, I thought I better commit now and hope I can get away.”

Despite taking third over the Olympic distance 12 months ago, Coldwell was grateful for the shorter circuit this time around as she began to tire towards the finish of the 5km run.

She said: “The reversing of the course - I swear we went uphill more than we went downhill!

“The course was amazing, I preferred it this way round, I think it was a bit more honest. I think it was just as hard as the Olympic [distance], so I’m kind of glad it wasn’t a full distance.”

Coldwell skipped competing in Yokohama in May as her main goal for 2022 is to take home a medal for Team England from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July.

The qualified nail technician first got her fingers dirty wearing the Saint George’s Cross on the Gold Coast in 2018, where she finished sixth, but after good performances last year guaranteed her 2022 spot, she is determined to have something to show for her efforts in the Midlands this time around.

Coldwell added: “The Commonwealths is my race of the year, I really want to come back with a medal there. This is more than I expected today, so that’s put me in good stead hopefully.

“I’ve never been pre-selected for any big competitions before, so knowing I’d hit automatic [qualification] back in November was nice. I had all winter to prepare for a race at the end of July, knowing I didn’t have to chase qualification early on.”

Having travelled to Tokyo as Team GB’s Olympic reserve, Coldwell is ready to step out from the shadows and into the limelight with Leeds marking the start of the Olympic points qualifying window, meaning 2024 is already on the horizon.

“The whole Olympic thing was tough but when you are from GB there are so many great girls. We are in that era now, where Vicky [Holland] is moving onto other things and Jodie [Stimpson] is on long course.

“I think it’s a sign of that changing of the guard, so to speak. I’m just trying to step up and hopefully put myself in contention for Paris.”

The AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Leeds made its return to the city for the sixth time and if you’ve been inspired to take part visit https://www.britishtriathlon.org/get-involved/what-is-triathlon

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