July 26,2014(ISN) – GLASGOW, Sco.—Canada’s triathlon squad came heartbreakingly close to its second
medal of the Commonwealth Games on Saturday after finishing fourth in the exciting
new mixed relay format that is pushing for inclusion into the Olympic Games.
With Olympian Kyle Jones racing home to be with his wife that is due to have the
couple’s first baby, Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland, Matt Sharpe, Sarah-Anne Brault and
Andrew Yorke, jumped into battle against the world’s best Commonwealth countries.
With Victoria’s Sweetland leading the charge, the underdog Canucks put up a fight
till the end, clocking a fourth-place time of one hour, 14 minutes, 17 seconds in
the woman-man-woman-man relay.
“Oh man, that was so nerve racking, it was so fun though,” said Sweetland, who won
silver in the women’s individual race on Thursday. “We were so close, right in the
mix, right to the very end. We almost put in more effort into this because you’re
part of a team and you don’t want to let the team down.”
The 25-year-old Sweetland set a blistering pace for the Canadians opening a sizeable
lead after completing the 250-metre swim, six-kilometre bike and 1.6-kilometre run
course before tagging off to fellow Victoria resident, Matt Sharpe. The 23-year-old
Sharpe was rock solid despite getting caught by individual silver medallist,
Jonathan Brownlee of England.
“Kirsten did such an incredible opening leg and I just went out of my mind and raced
as hard as I could,” said Sharpe. “I pushed it as hard as I could on the run and
collapsed at the finish. Everyone is excited. It was a great day for our Canadian
Tagging to Quebec City’s Sarah-Anne Brault for the third leg, the Canadians battled
to the end with South Africa and Australia for the final two spots on the podium as
England pulled away.
“I executed what I knew I could do,” said Brault. “There is a little less pressure
in that third leg, but I just wanted to had it off to Andrew in a good spot to have
a chance for a medal.”
With the Kiwis pulling away near the end of the anchor leg, Andrew Yorke, of
Caledon, Ont., ran shoulder-to-shoulder with Australia’s Ryan Bailie until the final
200 metres where he ran out of gas for one final kick.
England grabbed the gold with a time of 1:13:24. South Africa surprised the field
with a silver medal at 1:14:13, while Australia edged out the Canadians for the
bronze after clocking a time of 1:14:14.
“I wanted to get a medal. I was tactical on the bike and felt I was in good position
to have a chance for a medal,” added Yorke as rain began to pour down over the
Glasgow course at the finish. “It was tough to get ran away from at the end. The
rest of the team did an awesome job giving me the chance to fight for a medal. I did
all I could and hopefully next time we’ll be on the podium.”
The mixed relay, a new exciting race format which is seeking inclusion into the
Olympic lineup, caps off an impressive week of racing for the Canadians in a key
benchmark on the road to Rio 2016. Kirsten Sweetland became the third Canadian ever
to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games when she was second in the women’s race.
Andrew Yorke shocked the field to also finish fourth in the men’s individual race.