Great Britain's Ben Dijkstra claims Youth Olympic gold in Nanjing 2014 photo finish
Triathlon at the Olympic Games has delivered another nailbiting finish, as Great Britain’s Ben Dijkstra was crowned Youth Olympic Champion in a photo finish from New Zealand’s Daniel Hoy in Nanjing on Monday August 18.
After a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run in wet conditions at Nanjing’s Xuanwu Lake on Monday, Dijkstra and Hoy battled it out down the blue carpet of the finishing chute right until the finishing tape. But it was Dijkstra who just reached there first, claiming gold for Great Britain.
“I gave it it everything and I’m so glad this is the result, it’s amazing,” he said. “I just had to keep on going, none of us were going to give up when there is an Olympic gold medal at stake. So I just had to keep on going and going, and know that the hard work I put in would just pay off. It’s absolutely brilliant. Thanks to my family, my friends who have got me here. The result is just amazing.”
Dijkstra was initially 25 seconds down after the swim, but bridged up to the lead group along with 16 others on the first lap of the bike, but then had to fight back to the leaders in the run after a slow transition.
“The swim was so aggressive and my swim isn’t the strongest, but I just had to bridge across on the bike. So I think the gap was 25 seconds so it wasn’t massive, so bridged across on the first lap and then made it stick. The run was really tough because I had bad transition… (after the race) I was just on the floor I was just exhausted, and now I’m just over the moon.”
With no rain but high humidity, the men’s race started in slightly cooler temperatures than the girls. With a non-wetsuit swim it was Israel’s Omri Bahat, Hungary’s Lehmann Bence and Italy’s Giulio Soldati who exited the water first.
But on the first lap a lead group of 17 formed, including Dijkstra, Hoy, eventual bronze medallist Emil Deleuran Hansen, the USA’s Seth Rider, Canada’s Charles Paquet, Germany’s Peer Sonksen and more. As the started the four-lap 20km bike course rain started to fall and the slick conditions were the only thing to disrupt that lead group throughout, with first Mexico’s Diego Alejandro Lopez Acosta and Austria’s Philip Horwarth going down and then Hong Kong’s Michael’s Lam. While they all continued on, they lost time that put them out of touch with the leaders.
Behind the leaders, a chase group led by Australia’s Jake van Stekelenburg, and included Cuba’s Victor Manuel Herrera de la Hoz and and Singapore’s Bryce Sheng Cher Chong tried to make up ground but instead kept the gap steady at around one minute.
From transition, it was Belgium’s Romain Loop who surged to the front on the run but then dropped down after taking his 10-second penalty for an earlier transition infringement. After one lap on the run it was Hansen, Djikstra, Hoy and Sonksen who had taken the lead. Heading down the blue carpet to the finish tape, it was Dijkstra and Hoy who found another gear.
In a tough race, Hoy was still happy with his silver medal.
“It was a super tough race, someone went down on lap two and a bit of a break and got away but they got reeled back in so basically it was all down to the run and it went all the way down to the finish line,” he said. “It’s a lot of training and a long way to go, but second is still a good position. So I’m really happy with that.”
Denmark’s Emil Deleuran Hansen finished with a strong run to finish third and was thrilled. “I thought about a top-10 maybe, but this result is just amazing.”
The triathlon competition continues at the Xuanwu Lake Triathlon venue on Thursday, with the Mixed Relay
Australia's Brittany Dutton rode a gutsy solo bike breakaway to claim Youth Olympic gold in Nanjing, on Sunday August 17.11:45 - 16 Aug, 2014