England stroll to Triathlon relay gold

·3-min read
England stroll to Triathlon relay gold

Triathlons aren't meant to be a walk in the park but England still strolled, almost leisurely, to Commonwealth Games team gold in the sunshine.

With men's champion Alex Yee and women's silver medallist Georgia Taylor-Brown in the line-up, this was the host team's race to lose and along with Sophie Coldwell and Sam Dickinson they were faultless from gun to tape for a 46 second victory.

No controversies here, just a slight post-race disagreement between Yee and girlfriend Olivia Matthias, who won silver for Wales. She believed that medal meant they could get a dog, Yee wasn't quite so sure.

"We never shook on that, perhaps after Paris," he joked.

Birmingham's leafy Sutton Park has not seen scenes like this since the World Scout Jamboree of 1957. Fans were several deep, their roar rolling around the undulating course as England took the lead and turned the screw on rivals.

"It's never straightforward, so many things can go wrong and little mistakes can cost you decisive penalties," insisted Yee.

"So much can happen in an hour of triathlon racing. We just wanted to keep things as clean as possible and stay positive through the race.

"I just wanted to give the guys as much of a lead as I could and I knew we were in good hands after that.

"The crowds were insane and they gave us a great push. Running down that hill with all the people screaming and the helicopter above us, it felt like I was in the Tour de France. It was really cool.

"We've just moved home and Liv and I can put our medals together in pride of place."

What about a dog? “Not yet,” he added.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is inspiring people and communities across the country and Yee hopes their performance will motivate others to get involved in sport.

Yee's showdown with New Zealand's Haydn Wilde went to the wire in the men's race on Friday, with talks of protests and legal letters.

However, he dominated him here, handing over to team-mate Coldwell with a massive 20-second gap.

She extended that by seven seconds as Wales, Scotland and New Zealand gave chase to Sam Dickinson on the third leg.

The lead was trimmed to 16 seconds when Taylor-Brown, the silver medallist in the women's event, took over. Determined to save every second, she decided not to race in her wetsuit, saving critical seconds in the bike transition. In truth, she could have raced in her pyjamas and still been too strong for rivals.

Former world champion Non Stanford, one of triathlon's most popular characters in what is set to be the final year of her career, held off Australia to take the silver for a jubilant Wales team in a sprint finish.

"The team set me up perfectly for that final leg," said Taylor-Brown.

"I've enjoyed doing that final leg because everyone in front of me are so strong, they do all the hard work. It's a lot of pressure after they've done everything right. I tried to enjoy it and I was smiling the whole way around.

"I put my head down on the bike because my running hasn't been great, especially on Friday. I was taking all the noise in on the run, once I got over the hill, I knew we'd got it, so I smiled my way to the finish line."

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