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Australia takes gold and silver in style

19 January 2013

Australian athletes have proved their worth taking away gold and silver in Saturday’s Mixed Relay Triathlon.

Australia Green’s Jacob Birtwhistle and Jaz Hedgeland backed up their gold medals in the individual events yesterday with yet another gold today in the teams’ event.

“It feels pretty awesome, I can’t believe it!” Hedgeland said. “I was so excited coming into today and then to come home with another gold is pretty cool, I’m really happy.”

Australia Green shared the podium with friends and teammates in Australia Gold. Birtwhistle who had the best course time of the day with an individual time of 16:52 was happy to share it with his team.

“It’s pretty exciting really that Australia can go 1-2” said Birtwhistle. “It shows that we pretty much have the eight best people here, it’s very exciting for triathlon in Australia.”

Australia’s Coach Craig Redman was very excited about the result having picked the teams strategically to give them the best chance of winning gold and silver.

“We could have gone with our stronger team and a weaker team,” said Redman, “but we’ve got eight really strong and consistent athletes so we thought if we look at the strengths and weaknesses of the athletes and get the teams right we could get this result and it turned out exactly how we planned which is fantastic.”

The course was kinder today than yesterday with the heat wave passed, and the Australian athletes took full advantage - starting strong and remaining at the front of the pack for the entire race.

Great Britain who took bronze at the finish put in a strong fight maintaining a fierce rivalry for the lead until Australia broke away in the third leg lead by Holly Grice of Redcliffe, Queensland.

“I liked the cycle,” Grice said about her break away leg of the race. “Just being able to get up there on my own - it felt good”

Silver medallist Anna Coldham of Australia Gold came back from a rough race on Friday where she collapsed over the finish line from the heat.

Coldham found Saturday’s race a lot more fun, embracing the team atmosphere.

“We’ve all bonded and become really good friends so it’s nice to have a final thing together before we all go home,” Coldham said.

Australia Green finished in a time of 1:11:37 followed three seconds later by Australia Gold both of which were convincingly in front of Great Britain coming in a minute later with a time of 1:12:41.

Saturday’s event concludes the triathlon for this year’s AYOF and leaves a smile on the faces of the entire Australian team.

Hayley Williams

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