Mem­o­rable world ti­tle vic­tory

Multisport Mecca - - NEWS -

AGE shall not weary Jonathan ‘Jo’ Ham­wood.

Queens­land’s old­est team mem­ber com­pet­ing at the world In­ter­na­tional Triathlon Union age group cham­pi­onships in Den­mark this month proved one of the most suc­cess­ful, se­cur­ing the 70-74 age group aquabike ti­tle.

The 70-year-old from Mons pro­duced a mon­u­men­tal ef­fort on the day to claim is maiden world ti­tle — his first tilt at the swim-bike for­mat af­ter knee is­sues marked an end to his 33-year triathlon ca­reer.

Ham­wood com­pleted the 3km swim in 54min 54 sec, and then de­liv­ered an out­stand­ing 3hr 30min 50sec bike leg over 120km to win by two min­utes from Great Bri­tain’s Michael Small­wood.

Ahead of the race Ham­wood had done his re­search. Trav­el­ling to Canada last year to see how the event un­folded, he an­a­lysed re­cent re­sults and knew Small­wood was the man to beat.

Af­ter getting through the swim ahead of all his age group ri­vals, Ham­wood hit the bike full of con­fi­dence.

“I was mo­tor­ing along quite smartly and set­tled into a good pace when a guy in a blue race kit flashed by go­ing like a rocket. As I glanced at him I read his name on the back of his suit – Small­wood,” he said.

“My heart sank. How the hell could a guy in my age group be go­ing so fast?”

Ham­wood had to make a quick de­ci­sion: Let all that time, plan­ning, ef­fort, train­ing and money count for noth­ing or do some­thing about it? He opted for the lat­ter.

Dig­ging deep he bridged the gap while main­tain­ing the le­gal five bike lengths apart. Hang­ing on “like grim death” when they ap­proached the 80km mark, Ham­wood no­ticed his heart rate was grad­u­ally fall­ing.

With about 25km to ride op­por­tu­nity knocked when Small­wood opted for a ba­nana at an aid sta­tion.

“They are dif­fi­cult to peel with one hand and con­sume while you are rac­ing. I belted past him as fast as I could go and de­ter­mined to put some time into him. I was jump­ing out of my skin as I knew this was my best chance to win a world cham­pi­onship,” he said.

“For those last 25km I busted my buns and was not go­ing to die won­der­ing.

“As it turns out, he did not pass me and I had that warm glow of hav­ing had my best and most chal­leng­ing race ever. Not only had I beaten him, I had out­ma­noeu­vred him.” His per­for­mance was so quick it would have earned a sil­ver in the 65-69 age group, and fourth in the 60-65.


BIG EF­FORT: Jo Ham­wood won the gold in this year’s aquabike at the ITU world age group cham­pi­onships.

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