Is­land triath­letes im­press at worlds

Times Colonist - - Sports - CLEVE DHEENSAW cd­heen­saw@times­

The top five was fine for Joanna Brown and top 16 sweet for Matthew Sharpe at the ITU world triathlon cham­pi­onships in Rot­ter­dam, Nether­lands on Satur­day.

Brown, a native of Carp, Ont., has blos­somed since re­lo­cat­ing to the na­tional triathlon train­ing cen­tre in Vic­to­ria. Sharpe, a native of Camp­bell River who moved down-Is­land to train and grad­u­ated from Clare­mont Se­condary, has ral­lied valiantly from a bro­ken col­lar­bone in April.

This year is the start of the qua­dren­nial lead­ing to the 2020 Tokyo Sum­mer Olympics and both 26-year-old Sharpe and Brown, 24, look well on their way.

“This is a sign for sure and a big state­ment that we are go­ing to keep build­ing,” Sharpe said on the phone from Rot­ter­dam af­ter his 16th-place show­ing.

“In April, with a bro­ken col­lar­bone, I was not even plan­ning on be­ing on the world cham­pi­onships, but I came back over the sum­mer and earned this op­por­tu­nity. These are the best guys in the world. I had to go to some dark places to­day, but I’m strong men­tally and pushed to where I needed to go.”

Brown also fought through ca­reer in­juries that had her ques­tion­ing her fu­ture in the sport, be­fore her move to Vic­to­ria un­der na­tional team coach Jono Hall.

“It feels a bit sur­real, but I guess this hap­pened to­day,” said Brown, who was fifth, for her fourth con­sec­u­tive women’s top10 fin­ish of the World Cup sea­son.

“It has been a re­ally con­sis­tent year. This is one year of many I want to build on to­wards Tokyo. I have done a lot of work this year and I’m so grate­ful to all of my team­mates who have pushed me, and the strong sup­port team I have behind me. I’m just over the moon with ex­cite­ment right now.”

Flora Duffy of Ber­muda and Vin­cent Luis of France won the women’s and men’s world ti­tles, re­spec­tively.

De­sirae Ri­de­nour of Cowichan Bay con­tin­ued stat­ing her case as a name to watch for Paris 2024 and Los An­ge­les 2028 by plac­ing eighth in the women’s ju­nior race at the world cham­pi­onships. Han­nah Henry of Vic­to­ria was 26th.

Pav­los An­to­ni­ades of Trois Rivieres was 15th in the ju­nior men’s race, Michael Milic of North Delta was 39th and Ai­den Longcroft-Har­ris of Vic­to­ria 64th.

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