Thursday 20 October 2011

GB Medals glistened in the Asturian sunshine. World Champs, Gijon

2011 has seen me taking on the position of Great Britain Duathlon team manager. Here is my report:

The Great Britain standard distance Duathlon team took yet another impressive haul of medals at world championship on the 25th of September.

Here is my unpublished report as GB team manager

The Asturian city of Gijon, set back from a long golden beach on Spain's North coast provided the picturesque setting for the championships and the impressive rolling hills surrounding it was a pointer to the bike leg which would see the biggest gaps open up in most of the races as the riders tackled a 4 kilometre climb heading East.  

The Run course was an entirely flat affair but one in which the many turns began to take their toll as the changes in pace were felt over the four laps.  I'm pleased to report that I heard nothing but praise for the bike course which took in two laps of a long climb which was followed by a descent that was seemingly the perfect blend of speed and thrills to leave competitors with a smile on their faces. 

This year's event saw the most newcomers to the team for some years and this injection of fresh blood is undoubtedly a great thing for the sport.  Equally pleasingly for me personally was the ever increasing number of young athletes in the team who see Duathlon as their primary sport and this can only be a good thing as the sport continues to grow.

With 21 medals in total it goes without saying that the medals ceremony was peppered with athletes draped in Union Jacks (ok, and the odd Saltire!). The GB athletes, aparently famed for being the brainiest athletes on the world circuit were as calculated with their medal count as they were with the training in that the 21 was made up of 7 Gold , 7 Silver and 7 Bronze medals.

It does have to be said that despite a great men's team performance it was the ladies that had the upper hand with golds coming from Danielle Stewart (25-29), Gillian Palmer (30-34), Christine Howard (40-44), Hillary Ross (55-59), and Elspeth Knott (60-64).  Stewart was second overall in the whole race and was only prevented from being the overall winner by an outstanding performance from the American, Gail Kattouf who had relegated Esther Evans and Julliette Minter to the still highly prised silver and bronze spots on the 35-39 age group. Silver medals were also taken by Lucy Commander (25-29), Louise Bardsley (30-34), Mel Varvel (40-44) and Jan Farmer (60-64).  Taking the final podium steps for the ladies were a delighted Becky Glover (25-29) and two very popular team members, Penny Edwards (55-59) and Barbara Law (65-69).

The men were no slouches themselves with 'the Ross's' Fawcett and Landon taking Gold and Silver respectively in the 18-19 category leaving Stuart Hall's super fast 1:51:30 time to give him the other male gold medal.  After a build up plagued by injury Pete Wheddon took a defiant silver in the 55-59 category and 'uber-bikers' Richard Wilder (35-39) and Robert McLean (50-54) rode through the field to take Bronze medals in their age groups.  Finally, for the men, the ever reliant Arnott Kidd added to his medal mountain with a bronze in the 75-79 category. 

The build up to the event was not the smoothest for quite a number of the team who's airline had decided that perhaps it was best to fly them out without bags or bikes but if anything the kit-swapping and bike borrowing in the days proceeding the event just seemed to make the team cohesion even stronger on race day.

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