Island triathletes impress at worlds
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.