The ITU World Triathlon men’s event took place yesterday for the second race of the season in San Diego. Great Britain had a successful double to take home from the San Diego ITU World Triathlon Event as after Helen Jenkins win in the women’s event yesterday, Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee managed to storm to victory in the men’s event. The event which consisted of a 1,500 metre swim was then faced by a gruelling 40 kilometre bike ride before a 10 kilometre run to finish the race.
Sibling Rivalry on the Triathlon Track
Jonathan Brownlee who is the brother of the current ITU World Triathlon champion, Alistair Brownlee, was a pre-race favourite before the event took place in San Diego despite being away from competitive Triathlon racing for a good 7 months. The last time that Alistair Brownlee competed in a competitive race was back in 2011 at the WSCGF Beijing event where he finished 3rd behind his brother and Switzerland’s Sven Riederer.
However, not to be denied this time, Alistair Brownlee finished ahead of Sven Riederer of Switzerland to finish first in a time of 1 hour 48 minutes and 47 seconds to further lay down the dominance in men’s Triathlon of the Brownlee name. The Switzerland Triathlete, Sven Riederer, pushed Brownlee hard but in the end didn’t have an answer for the final few metres but will still be pleased with his silver medal.
Qualification for London 2012
For Sven Riederer, it also meant that he had qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games as he needed to finish in the top 15 in the San Diego event which he did so with ease. It will give him another chance to compete at the Olympic stage and hopefully improve on his bronze medal which he won at the 2004 Olympic Games held in Athens. Sven Riederer is also ranked at number 2 in the Men’s Olympic Rankings for London 2012 but incredibly he has yet to win an ITU season’s event since the 2006 Alanya ITU Triathlon Premier European Cup. The ‘nearly man’ has had a number of podium finishes to his name with three bronzes and two silvers.
Completing the top 3 was South African Triathlete, Richard Murray. Richard Murray was trading places with Jonathan Brownlee for the majority of the first lap in the run as they went head to head for around half of the 10 kilometre run. However Murray had to surrender to Brownlee who had the edge towards the very end of the race and also had to reluctantly fall behind silver medallist Sven Riederer.
Richard Murray Consolidates Sydney Performance
It was still a magnificent effort by Richard Murray who is still only 23 years old and has a bright future in Triathlon. The win has also put him first in the current ITU World Triathlon Series Championships after the first two events as his strong 2nd place finish in the first season’s event in Sydney, Australia combined with yesterday’s 3rd place at San Diego has put him in first place. It also is the first time than an African athlete has lead the ITU World Triathlon Series Rankings which will be a special accomplishment for Richard Murray personally to become the first person to do this. Although he has competed in both of the season’s events in comparison to Alistair Brownlee and Sven Riederer who both missed out on the first season’s event in Sydney earlier this year.
Much of the pre-race build up was about the Olympic spots up for grabs in the men’s USA team. Similarly to the women’s race yesterday, the USA National Olympic Committee set the qualifying criteria for the men which made them aware of where they needed to finish to compete for USA at the London 2012 Olympic Games in August. Laura Bennett’s 3rd place finish in the women’s race yesterday confirmed her place for London 2012 and Hunter Kemper was the successful male athlete for the USA in the San Diego event.
For the men’s event, it was confirmed that the first male athlete to cross the line from the United States will earn a spot in the London 2012 Games regardless of where they finish the San Diego race. Hunter Kemper managed to see off his nearest American competitor Manuel Huerta, by 13 seconds to secure the men’s Olympic spot.
It wasn’t straight forward either as both men exchanged positions to make it an exciting race for the Americans watching on. Huerta and Kemper weren’t the only Americans competing as they were also competing against Matt Chrabot and Jarrod Shoemaker. All 4 USA athletes were extremely close at the end of the 2nd transition as they all left within 20 seconds of each other which proved just how close they were.
Manuel Huerta was still intact with the leading pack and managed to get in 6th place heading into the final lap which surely by Huerta’s thoughts would’ve been high enough to earn his spot in the Olympic team. However, Hunter Kemper had other ideas and had Huerta in his sights just a few places ahead of him and the 36 year old Triathlete made an incredible late surge to go past Huerta and secure fifth place. Although Huerta eventually finished ninth, he managed to book his ticket to the London 2012 Games alongside Hunter Kemper. For Kemper it will be his 4th consecutive Olympics which puts him amongst a few select athletes to have done this. In each Olympics he has improved on his previous finish and will be hoping to continue this tradition as he finished 7th in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
The San Diego event also proved a successful event for the New Zealand team as despite not finishing any athletes in the top 5, they finished with 3 Triathletes in the top 10 which qualifies them amongst the top 8 National Olympic Committee’s therefore being allowed to take three athletes to the London 2012 Olympics. The three men representing New Zealand who finished in the top 10 are Ryan Sissons (6th), Bevan Docherty (8th) and Kris Gemmell (10th).