The largest ever contingent of Irish athletes to race at a triathlon World Championships has been announced by Triathlon Ireland.
A total of seven triathletes will travel this week to Hamburg to race across two days in what promises to be the most anticipated event the sport has seen since the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
On Saturday Con Doherty, Maeve Gallagher, Carolyn Hayes, Erin McConnell and Russell White will compete in the men’s and women’s individual races at the Hamburg Wasser World Triathlon event.
The following day, Ireland will line out a four-person team to compete in the Mixed Team Relay World Championships which will be selected from the five athletes in the individual event, plus Ian Mathey and James Edgar.
The World Championships designation was awarded to Hamburg just last week after Montreal was forced to cancel its event. The Hamburg triathlon will be run over the sprint distance, which will see athletes cover a 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike and a five kilometre run.
The event is the first to resume on the World Triathlon calendar since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and will see the world’s best triathletes line up in Hamburg, including reigning World Champions, Katie Zaferes (USA) and Vincent Luis (FRA), as well as double-Olympic medallist, Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) and World Champions Mario Mola (ESP), Flora Duffy (BER) and Vicky Holland (GBR).
The Irish team travelling to Hamburg is the strongest in a number of years and Stephen Delaney, Performance Director with Triathlon Ireland said the athletes are excited about getting the opportunity to race.
“It’s going to be really interesting to see how everyone fares, there hasn’t been any racing done for months so we’ve no benchmarks. Everybody is going to be coming to this hoping that their training is going well but training is not racing. Our guys have done well over the lockdown period, they’ve come out of it in good shape so we are quietly confident about it.”
Saturday’s event will be the first international triathlon race for an Irish athlete since Carolyn Hayes won a silver medal at the Mauritius African Cup in March.
Hayes, pictured above, who is Ireland’s top-ranked triathlete said she didn’t expect to be able to race again this year and believes this World Championship will be an important step towards next year’s planned Olympic Games.
“I am super excited, obviously there are nerves but they are the good nerves. This is my first ever World Champs and I am looking forward to lining up against everyone because that’s the level I want to race at. Come the Olympics next year they are the people I will be competing against”, said Hayes.
A series of COVID-19 precautions have been taken to ensure athlete safety ahead of the event including multiple swab, temperature and respiratory tests in Ireland and Germany. All Irish athletes will remain within a distinct pod for travel purposes and will quarantine for two weeks upon their return to Ireland.
Next week the focus of the international triathlon community will shift to the Czech Republic where Con Doherty, Carolyn Hayes, Erin McConnell and Russell White will line out for the Karlovy Vary World Cup.
Triathlon Ireland is sponsored by BMW. Carolyn Hayes is supported by William Fry.