Two days out from the next round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Yokohama and the local media attended a press conference featuring Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), Javier Gomez (ESP), Joao Silva (POR), Gwen Jorgensen (USA) and Maaike Caelers (NED).
The athletes were welcomed to the stage with a large turnout of Japanese media in attendance.
Maaike Caelers on a return to Yokohama, a course she finished third on last year.
I think it is a good course, I have raced here for two years, I like the course and I like Japan and am looking forward to it. You never know, I feel fit; I will give all of my best in everything so we will see what the outcome will be. I am still working hard on my swim so that is an important part, to be there with the swim. Then I need to make up where I am, maybe work hard on the bike or just sit in the group and see what happens and start with the run. I’m looking forward to it.
On her first WTS press conference:
This was a new experience for me, Kris Gemmell tweeted that maybe there is more to come so I will have to get used to it. It is actually very easy, it is no big deal.
Gwen Jorgensen on being in Japan:
I enjoy being in Japan, it is one of my favourite places to visit; I loved it last year and am happy to be back. It is exciting to be here representing the United States. Everyone here is so polite, everything is very clean and fresh, I love the food and love the people so it is great to be here.
On winning in San Diego and whether that changes her approach:
I think you go into every race with the same mentality, you don’t come to a race to lose, I am coming out here hoping for a good race.
Joao Silva on a return to a race he has won two years in a row:
I am happy to be here again, my third time in Yokohama, I am hoping it will be a really good race. I will give my best but those guys next to me (Javier and Jonny) decrease my hopes for another win, but I will try my best again. This year is a little different in a different season of the year, the weather is different and conditions will be different for the race.
On his form and the course:
I don’t know exactly how fit I am for the race but certainly with a lot of energy and focus to do the race. I like the course but I would prefer the weather a bit hotter and humid but I have to perform whatever the conditions are and I am ready for that.
Javier Gomez on the technical nature of the course:
This is my third time here also, I too am happy to be here. The course is very technical and makes the race hard with tricky corners. You have to sprint out of every corner. Conditions will be different to other years, it is always hot and humid here, this time it looks like a good temperature for racing, I will try to have a good race and give my best.
On the idea of the Triathlon Team Relay being part of the Olympic Games programme:
It is an exciting race and to be in the Olympics will be awesome and to integrate male and female into the one sport is special, I hope it is successful in becoming part of the Olympics and can be a great success.
Javier was in good humour when responding with a cheeky ‘hello’ when told by the press conference MC that a female friend of his wanted to say hello to Javier Gomez who is ‘popular with the women’ of Japan.
Jonathan Brownlee on what his brother means to him and on the overall depth in the sport:
What Alistair has done is very impressive and then for us to earn a gold medal and bronze at home Olympics was great. Alistair is mentor and role model to me, I have learned everything from him, from training to competing, pushes me hard in training, sometimes tells me not to train so hard. I have learned so much from him.
Triathlon at the moment is so strong, there are so many great athletes out there, Javier Gomez Joao Silva are both here in Yokohama and the female field is strong as well. There is not much else I can say.
On his late start to the season:
This is my first time here, I was injured at the start of the year so couldn’t race in Auckland and San Diego. I want to be World Champion again and there are just 6 races left in the season, I wanted to come here to Yokohama, this is very different for me. It is a technical bike course, and a perfect climate at this time of the year for racing, I am looking forward to it.
On 2012 and his hopes for 2013:
2012 was an absolutely incredible year for me; to get the bronze medal at your home Olympics and become World Champion was amazing. 2013 won’t beat that but to become World Champion would be very special again, that is what I am aiming to do and why I am here.
On Paratri (Yokohama will host a Paratri race on Sunday)
Paratri is great for the sport as a whole and will be at 2016 Olympics. Paratriathletes are great, I enjoy watching it and it is very very good for the sport.
On the possible inclusion of Triathlon Team racing at the 2016 Olympic Games:
Team triathlon is a great sport; it will be great to get into the 2016 Games. It is great to watch and great to take part in. I have raced in 2 world champs so far, it changes fast, you have male and female competing, it is a great event and if it gets in it will be good for the sport.
The elite women will race at 8:06am on Saturday morning Japan time while the men’s race gets underway at 11:01am, also on Saturday. Sunday will see age group and Paratri events take centre stage.
Be sure to follow all the action live through the ITU’s live video stream on www.triathlon.org/tv or follow via Twitter at @triathlonlive