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Olympic champ Brownlee laments injuries, short race

England's Jonathan Brownlee said he had struggled for fitness after a femur problem in January prevented him from running for five or six weeks
AFP

Gold Coast (Australia) (AFP) – Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee cursed his injuries and said he would have done better in a full-length race after he flopped in the Commonwealth Games triathlon on Thursday.

Brownlee finished 10th with his brother Jonny, the Olympic silver-medallist, seventh over the Gold Coast course, way behind South African winner Henri Schoeman.

Alistair Brownlee had hip surgery last August and a calf problem in the run-up to the Games, while the sprint-distance race — a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run, half the length of the Olympic course — also did him no favours.

“I would have preferred it to be a full-distance race on a super-hard course,” the 29-year-old said, adding that he was hardly able to run in the final weeks before the Games.

“I would have preferred my calf to be good two months ago, if it was and I was able to train in that time, I reckon I would have been able to win that race.”

Younger brother Jonny, 27, said he also struggled for fitness after a femur problem in January prevented him from running for five or six weeks.

“I started running and I thought, ‘Oh dear, I’m in trouble here’, but I gave it everything, I ran as well as I could,” he said.

“My body has let me down this year more than Alistair’s.”

As the Brownlees dropped back in the running leg, Schoeman took full advantage as he sprinted off to win in 52min 31sec, 7.0sec ahead of Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle with Marc Austin of Scotland third.

“It was a tough race, the swim was rough, but it was so amazing to have run for my country,” said Schoeman, who finished third behind the Brownlees at the last Olympics.

“I just kept thinking: ‘Don’t give up, anything can happen’… That last 50 metres felt amazing,” he added.

In the women’s event, world champion Flora Duffy claimed gold for tiny Bermuda, and Canada’s Joanna Brown took bronze just a month after breaking her shoulder in a bike crash.

Duffy, the 2016 and 2017 world title-winner, stormed to victory in 56:50 to end Bermuda’s 20-year Games medal drought and become the islands’ first female medallist.

“The coolest part is that Bermuda’s a tiny place, but at this point we’re leading the medal tally,” Duffy laughed, after winning the Games’ opening event.

“It’s a really big moment for Bermuda. I think in Bermuda it’s going to be a pretty big deal at the moment, everyone will be going crazy.”

The 30-year-old, who will also compete in mountain biking, powered away on the run to win by 43 seconds from England’s  Jessica Learmonth, with Brown coming in five seconds later.

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