By Olalla Cernuda on 06/04/18 at 3:05 am
The individual races may be over, with the stunning victories of Flora Duffy (BER) and Henri Schoeman (RSA), but triathlon action is far from finished in the Gold Coast at the Commonwealth Games, as the Paratriathlon will make its debut and the Mixed Relay event will take place both this Saturday. With thousands of spectators ready to cheer for their favourite athletes, get ready for the fast and furious format that will delight all.
Eight nations will compete to claim the second title of the Mixed Relay in the Commonwealth Games, and it looks like its going to be a fierce competition, with almost all countries having a real chance of being in the podium.
Most eyes will be set, of course, on the local. The Aussies are the reigning World Champions and even though they have until one hour before the start to announce their team -as all the Nations do-, they have some really strong names to make their squad, including the recent silver medallist in the Men’s event yesterday, Jacob Birthwhistle. If the Aussies are going for the same team who grabbed their first ever World title a few months ago, it is most likely that along with Birthwhistle will be Matthew Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle and Charlotte McShane, even though Luke Willian and Gillian Backhouse could also have an option.
The other team which will have most eyes fixed on will be, most likely, England, with Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee trying to repeat their success in the last Commonwealth Games, and after their disappointing individual race, where they finished in 10th and 7th place respectively. Along with them, silver medallist in the individual event, Jessica Learmonth, will be one safe bet when it comes to sprint distances, most likely along with Vicky Holland, who was already in the team who won gold the previous Games.
Another team that knows what it is to be on the podium of the Commonwealth Games will be South Africa, with gold medallist Henri Schoeman giving all he has to try to earn a second victory in these Games. The team will be almost the same who competed in the 2014 Games, with Richard Murray, Gillian Sanders and Simone Ackermann.
With Joanna Brown on the podium on Thursday and Matthew Sharpe having finished 10th, expect Canada to be a team to contend with. They have been preparing the Mixed Relay event consistently since it has been included in the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020, and they have some great talents to choose for their team, even though the great start of the season of Tyler Mislawchuk will give him chances to be in the team, along with Dominica Jamnicky.
New Zealand could well be one of the dark horses on Saturday, after the brilliant performance of Ryan Sissons in the individual race, finishing 5th with the second fastest run split. He and Andrea Hewitt will be most likely the experienced ones on the team, while Nicole Van der Keey and Taylor Reid could be bringing the young generation to the stage.
And Bermuda can also be considered among the dark horses in this race. We can surely expect another flawless performance from the team leader, current World and Commonwealth Champion Flora Duffy. For the first time ever that the tiny nation will compete in the Mixed Relay, Duffy will be accompanied by Tyler Butterfield who will also be competing in Marathon, and two young athletes: Erika Hawley and Tyler Smith.
Two other Brit territories, Scotland and Wales, will have teams competing this Saturday as well, with Non Stanford leading the Welsh along with Olivia Mathias, Iestyn Harret and Chris Silver, while on the Scotish team all eyes will be set on the bronze unexpected bronze medallist in the individual race, Marc Austin, who will be racing with Erin Wallace, Beth Potter and Grant Sheldon.
The Mixed Relay race will set off at 13:00pm local time at Southport Broadwater Parklands in the Gold Coast. Live updates will be available on twitter at @triathlonlive.
Find more details about this event - 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games