World Triathletes, Gold Coast

World Triathletes, Gold Coast

By Courtney Akrigg on 15/09/18 at 11:32 am

The best triathletes from across the globe descended on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, to line up and contest at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, the pinnacle event on the triathlon calendar.

Moments of personal triumph and champion status from our World Triathlon age-group triathletes.

Daniel Paddison, Australia, Male 18-19
It wasn’t what I was expecting. I only started triathlon four years ago andi have loved it ever since. I came out of the swim pretty well and I just tried to hold them on the bike, then on the run there was a guy from the USA and I was trying to catch him. I put a bit of a sprint on in the last kilometre and it got over the line.
I am so happy, I am exhilarated.
I am from Brisbane, so I am a local and it is great to have this race on local to me.
I was doing karate before triathlon and made the Queensland team a few times for that. I used to swim at school for fitness and my swim coach suggested I do it and I really enjoyed it.
I am hoping to progress through the sport in the next few years and try and get up to those elites.


Matthew Murray, USA, Male 20-24
It is hard when you are not the first wave because you are passing people and don’t know who is who, so I was just running on my own and focusing on my own race.

Todd Buckingham, USA, Male 25-29
It is great. I did the sprint on Thursday and won that one so I was hoping to back up but Malcolm King from NZL wouldn’t let me catch him until the last minute, so it was a battle. It was awesome.
I have just graduated with my PhD at Michigan State in the physiological performance related variables associated with my finish time in the Olympic distance triathlon. So I might have had a bit of an advantage against the field.
It is has been great. I got in on Monday and just tried to acclimatise to the time zone while I was getting out seeing the beautiful country. I didn’t want to come all this way just to race. After Thursday’s race I just focused on recovery and it paid off.

Kristy Harnett, Australia, Female 20-24
I did not expect that at all. Top 15 was the goal. I just enjoy the sport for what it is, the racing is just a bonus. I would happily just train and not race when you get results like this you can’t help but get that post race high.
I come from a running background and my swim and run are by far my strongest legs. Today’s result is from lots of 4am starts, a good coach and lots of training. I just stuck with the front group on the swim and went for it on the bike and pulled together what ever I could on the run.
I am studying nursing in Sydney, I work in a running shop and teaches kids to swim, I love my jobs and what I do. After today I might have to take my triathlon a bit more seriously.

Kristelle Congi, France, 25-29
I am very very happy it is a formidable race. I was hoping for a good result but first place is very good.

Owain Matthews, Great Britain, Male 35-39
I did a second pack swim and came out pretty good and there was only a couple of guys ahead of me and I managed to get past all of my pack on the bike and then rode 40km solo. I caught the two guys ahead of me on the early part of the run and then just went as hard as I could.
The course is quick and it was a little bit faster than I thought I would go but it was a grat race in perfect conditions.
From Luton, lives in Australia in Sydney.
I came up with the family. My wife did the sprint and we have the kids here so it is a great week, brilliant holiday with some great racing.

Laura Armstrong, New Zealand, Female 30-34
Coming into the race I knew I had a fairly good chance. I have been training very well but I knew it would be a very strong field. I knew where my strengths lay in comparison to them and a lot of it came down to the bike. I hit the bike in 14th place and from there it was just hammer down. I knew if I had the gap my run would be able to back it up.
This is my first world title so it is very exciting.
I am from Te Aroha in New Zealand but living in Melbourne. So it was come to the Gold Coast pick up a world title and go back to work on Wednesday at Sport and Recreation Victoria. They are very good and very supportive of my triathlon endeavours.

Scott Ashcroft, Australia, Male 40-44
I raced well in the qualifying series so I knew I would be there abouts but having a long winter with no racing you come in with a lot of unknowns. The numbers in training were pointing in the right direction.
If I get the world championship I will be over the moon, it might even retire me. I don’t think I could go around again, I am getting too old for this. Too many kids and too many responsibilities, I need to race on a professional program where I get paid to race. That would be alright.
PE teacher at a Girls School in Sydney and the kids would not accept anything but first place, anything less and they will be into me.

Frederic Tete, Tahiti, Male 45-49
I have won two world titles this week, it is wonderful. I was third when I started the run and when I crossed the line I was first…wow a surprise. I was fast on the run. I feel good and I was able to back up and win twice.
In Chicago I won the three titles, Aquathon, Sprint and Standard distance

Jeremy Critchett, Australia, Male 50-54
It was absolutely unexpected. I went into the sprint race on Thursday with an injury and a head cold and it all got worse after the race and I have been in lock down for three days going to physio and massage, so to win a double world championship is a crazy result.
This is the first world championship I have ever done. I was up and down with illness and injury for ten years I only got back into age group racing about five years ago and I am still trying to build my momentum.
It wont sink in until I get back home as to what I have done.
It is too surreal, it is amazing, I can’t fathom it at the moment.

Stephe Popelar, USA, Female 50-54
I am so blessed to have been able to do this so many times.
The other girls were nice to me today, I gotta chalk it up to that a little bit and the other girls pushing me. We are competitors out there but it is a sisterhood and a humanhood where everyone helps each other. Whether we are gritting our teeth or snarling at each other it is that momentum that pushes us along. I love it.
I have been doing triathlon since 1996 and I have been fortunate to start racing worlds in 2003. I have a few more good results in there but never at the top. I have had a few podiums, seconds and thirds but this is the first time with an overall win.
The Gold Coast we leave me with fond memories.
Not just because of the racing but the organization and the volunteers, nothing can be done without the volunteers.

Klaus Kuhbler, Austria, Male 70-74
This is my fifth title. I had a very good race a little windy but it doesn’t matter we all have the same conditions. It was very, very fine. Good volunteers and friendly people.
I am nearly 73 but I feel so young. I was here the first time in 2009 and I got second behind Brian Barr the famous Australian sportsman.
We are staying here for another week and going to Fraser Island and enjoy our days in Australia.

Greg Bush, Australia, 65-69 Male
I won on Thursday so I got the double so I am really wrapped. I did world in Manchester but I froze and all the athletes from the cold countries went straight past me. So it is great to be racing here in Queensland.
I have been doing triathlon for 25 years and did the first ever event in South Australia.
Luckily I am a swimmer so I came out with a two minute lead, so I just built on that. I am wrapped, it is really good.

Daniel Palmucci, Italy, Male 55-59
I was here training with Miles Stewart and his father Col in 1992 to learn the job of triathlon. I needed to learn from the best and was here for four months and it was the best.
Now 26 years later I am back at the same place that I used to train. It is like being at home. I have won two titles and I am delighted. Double world champion is a great achievement.

Robert Plant, USA, 75-79 Male
I don’t over train, that is my secret. I stay within myself and if I am too tired, I don’t do it. I have always done light mileage but I am doing Kona this year.
I have had about seven second places at worlds and I finally got the big one. So I am pretty pleased about that.
I had a good bike ride and a steady run after swimming off course. I am not great at swimming, biking or running but I am consistent at all three.
Well I am trying to get the band back together again (Led Zeppelin) but I want to grow that long blond hair again, I am tired of the wig (this Robert Plant is bald!

Sarah Barrett, Great Britain, Female 70-74
This is my fifth world title. I came out of the swim first which was a nice surprise, I had a great bike ride and was first in and I knew all I had to do was do the run and I did it. I won my first title in Hamburg when I was 60. I have two silvers, two bronze and a gold at Duathlon as well.
When I moved to the east of England I was asked if I would like to have a go at running, so I did and discovered that I was good at marathons and won my first marathon in Ipswich, England then when I was 52 someone said, ‘You can swim, you can run, so why not get a bike?’. I said what for? My husband was a racing cyclist so he showed me how to ride a bike. The rest is history and I am thrilled.

Sibyl Jacobson, USA, Female 75-79
I had a long course win in Denmark and at the IRONMAN 70.3 Worlds in South Africa and I got second in the sprint and made it here.
I can’t remember how many other titles I have won because I am all about today,
Today was hard especially in the swim but all in all it was great. I love it over here. I have come very close to winning before, like second and whatever, but I am very happy to win today.

Jokyon Ward, Australia, 80-84
I am 84 and I started triathlon about 15 years ago. I was pretty active before but it is one of those things you have to keep at it or you lose it.
I am from the Gold Coast so it is nice to be racing the world championships here.
I have heard so many people saying that they think this is the best venue for triathlon and they are rapt to be here.

Lachlan Lewis, Australia, 80-84 Male
It was just a relief to get in under the wire. I was nervous that I wasn’t going to make it because I have worked hard all morning and it looked like I was going to lose it right at the end but I did it. It was a real test of willpower.
This is my 36th ITU event so I think it might be a national record. They are all special and the equipment is getting better while I am getting worse.
I have done Longcourse, Olympic, sprint, Aquathon, Duathlon so you can see I love it.
I will be 82 next birthday and I have been nominated for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Senior of the Year and I am trying to set a positive example to all ages. I am very strongly committed to my country and if there is something I can do in return to set a shining example, that is my goal, my mission.
I have run all the big marathons including the marathon on the Great Wall of China which I did with my daughter. I did the Boston marathon three years in a row, New York and I did a double one in the North Pole, 84km over the permafrost.
When I turned 50 I had plantar fasciitis so I thought I had better start cross training and that was how I got into triathlon. It was a case of a problem turning into an advantage.

Find more details about this event - 2018 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast