18-year-old Katie Crowhurst makes huge impact with PTVI Commonwealth Games gold
Just 12 months ago, national Para swimmer Katie Crowhurst B3 was encouraged to take up triathlon. On Sunday morning in Birmingham, she put together a dream major Games debut, passing Jessica Tuomela B1 (CAN) on the third of four bike laps and then pulling clear all the way through the 5km run to take the tape alongside guide Jessica Fullagar and become the 2022 Commonwealth Games PTVI Champion in front of a delirious home crowd.
After a strong swim and bike, Tuomela struggled to come to terms with a hilly run course, and it was Northern Ireland’s Chloe Maccombe B3 who was able to find the extra gear, passing the Canadian to earn a famous silver.
“We ran past my family and I started crying, the support has been incredible and the last lap was amazing,” said a shocked Crowhurst. “To be honest I didn’t know what to expect and on the bike I just kept telling myself I had the energy to get through the run. It was great to do that with Jess and the team has been really supportive, telling me to keep pushing, and now I just want to take things as they come. I’ve just finished school so I’ll be focussing on my sport for the next year and Paris is the aim.”
It was Jess Tuomela and guide Emma Skaug in the water first as the sole B1 athlete, trusting her rhythm to keep a good pace all alone through the 750m swim, Katie Crowhurst quickly setting about her task of trying to reel in her rival. It was a minute’s difference as they hit the transition ramp, Scotland’s Alison Peasgood B2 a further 10 seconds back while Erica Burleigh and Chloe Maccombe were unable to gain ground, hoping to use their bike abilities to close in.
There was just 16 seconds difference to second after the first of four bikes laps, and Tuomela could sense the home favourite by the time they reached the halfway point, eventually passed on lap three and Crowhurst began to pull away.
An accident sadly ended Alison Peasgood’s challenge for a medal, but by the bell Crowhurst was flying and the 18-year-old already had a 20-second advantage over second.
Out of the second transition, the leader attacked the first run climb and while Tuomela began to feel the pace on the hills, Maccombe looked very much at home, eating into the deficit as the first kilometres of five ticked by until she had Tuomela in range.
While Crowhurst came back into the grandstand for the final time and took the tape to cheers, Maccombe had made silver safe, eventually crossing with guide Catherine Sands half a minute ahead of Tuomela who battled to third. Judith Maccombe (NIR) finished fourth, four minutes behind her twin sister, South Africa’s Linsay Engelbrecht B3 and Erica Burleigh B3 (AUS) in fifth and sixth.
“Walking up to the podium it really hit me that we came second in the Commonwealth Games!” said Maccombe. “I couldn’t have done it without Catherine. It was a technical bike but I had full trust in what she said and again in the run when she said we could really push for second. I really hope this inspires other people to try the sport and give it a go.”
“We came in knowing I have a bit of an issue but decided to do this as a team and i’m at peace with that decision,” said Tuomela. “My internal metronome is not accurate so I just wanted to stay calm on the swim and feel good and relaxed. I always check on who is up and coming and I figured Katie would be there in the top three and it’s great for the sport to have that.”
Full results can be found here.
09:56 - 30 Jul, 2022