U.S. competitors Austin Hindman and Taylor Knibb took the Men’s and Women’s Junior World Championship gold on Friday in sprint distance races in Cozumel, Mexico.
Austin Hindman of the United States came from behind with a 2nd-best 15:47 5k run to win the ITU Triathlon Junior Men’s World Championship by 10 seconds over runner-up Charles Paquet of Canada and 18 seconds over 3rd place Ben Dijkstra of Great Britain.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Hindman told ITU media. “Coming into this race I was feeling strong. To be able to take first place is really a dream come true. I can’t believe it.”
With just a 750 meter swim, there were no breaks and just one minute separated all 75 competitors who emerged in one big line, led by Alberto Gonzalez Garcia of Mexico in 9 minutes flat, Oliver Blecher of Canada and Michal Oliwa of Poland (9:01), then Charles Paquet of Canada and Casper Stornes of Norway (9:03), while Hindman (9:06) followed in 11th.
Endre Espedal of Norway made up for his 9:23 swim in a hurry, carving his way through a 37-man lead pack to finish the first lap of the bike with a 5 seconds lead. With Youth Olympics Junior Champion Ben Dijkstra charging, Espedal was run down and the 37-man pack was reduced to 32 by the time the lead pack arrived at T2.
Daniel Hoy of New Zealand and Dijkstra, who sprinted to the finish at the 2014 Youth Olympics, took the lead out of T2. “I thought if I go off hard, I’ll see who goes with me,” Dijkstra told ITU media. “I like it to be a hard race.”
However, Canada’s Paquet accelerated past the leaders and finished the first lap of the run with a 7 seconds lead on Dijkstra, Hindman and Hoy. Timing his move to perfection, Hindman made a late pass on Paquet, closing with a 2nd-best 15:47 5k run to finish in 54:02 with a 10 seconds margin on Paquet (16:00 run) and 18 seconds on Dijkstra (16:15 run).
“I faded 2k into the run, my quads started feeling tired,” Paquet told ITU media. “ “The heat was so hard today, I just tried to drink a lot of water. I was trying to keep the pace [because] I knew Austin was coming.”
Taylor Knibb of the U.S. won the women’s ITU Junior World Championship with a race-best bike split and a 2nd-fastest run to finish the sprint distance course in 59:05, with a 36 seconds margin of victory over Lisa Tertsch of Germany and 45 seconds over 3rd-place Hye Rim Jeong of Korea.
Japan’s Fuka Sega and Minami Kubono and Hungary’s Dorka Putnoczki led the swim in 9:28 to 9:31, putting 10 seconds on a large pack and 43 seconds on top contenders Knibb, Tertsch and Jeong.
A crowd of 32 women came together on the second lap of the 20km bike leg, including pre-race favorites Knibb and Cassandre Beaugrand of France.
On the second lap, Knibb, Lena Meissner of Germany and Therese Feuersinger of Austria broke away to a 20-second lead on the pack. On the third lap, Knibb rocketed away to a 17 seconds lead on her breakaway partners and 35 seconds on the main chase pack.
After a race-best 29:42 20km bike split, Knibb took a half minute lead on her closest chasers into T2.
On her way to a 2nd-fastest 18:00 5k run, Knibb held off Tertsch, who closed to within 36 seconds with a race-best 17:56 run that brought her silver. Jeong ran a 4th-best 18:03 which brought her home in 3rd, 45 seconds behind the winner and just 1 second in front of 4th place Ines Santiago of Spain.
Jeong’s bronze was the first-ever World Championship medal of any level for Korea.
ITU Junior World Championship
September 16, 2016
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Austin Hindman (USA) 54:02
2. Charles Paquet (CAN) 54:12
3. Ben Dijkstra (GBR) 54:20
4. Daniel Hoy (NZL) 54:23
5. Alex Yee (GBR) 54:24
6. Oliver Blecher (CAN) 54:28
7. Matevz Planko (SLO) 54:35
8. Samuel Dickinson (GBR) 54:38
9. Abraham A. Rodrigues Moreno (MEX) 54:41
10. Vasco Vilaca (POR) 54:47
18. Graham Pimental (USA) 55:45
61. Grant Jarvis (USA) 1:00:17
1. Taylor Knibb (USA) 59:05
2. Lisa Tertsch (GER) 59:41
3. Hye Rim Jeong (KOR) 59:50
4. Ines Santiago (ESP) 59:51
5. Cecilia Santamaria Surroca (ESP) 59:56
6. Desirae Ridenour (CAN) 1:00:02
7. Lena Meissner (GER) 1:00:07
8. Minami Kubono (JPN) 1:00:08
9. Kyleigh Spearing (USA) 1:00:16
10. Ekaterina Matiukh (RUS) 1:00:25
34. Audrey Ernst (USA) 1:03:57