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Doherty dazzles down under

Sport

IN THE ZONE Con Doherty crosses the finish line in first place at the 2019 Gold Coast OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup in Brisbane, Australia. Pic: Triathlon Australia

Ger Flanagan

WESTPORT’S Con Doherty found himself on top of another international podium recently after winning gold at the 2019 Gold Coast OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup in Brisbane, Australia.
It was Doherty’s third race on his trip to the Southern Hemisphere, where he recovered from what he called a ‘poor performance’ in the New Plymouth World Cup seven days previous, where his performance was hampered by a stomach bug, to take top spot in Brisbane.
The former World Junior Champion has taken a semester out of his studies in the University of Limerick to focus on obtaining the necessary points to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The current world number 62 defeated some world-class athletes in the race, battling back from a 10-second penalty and being slowed to a halt due to a crash to romp home as the winner.
“The race took place at 6.15am on the Sunday morning… as 74 guys lined up for the beach start with each one of us feeling a bit more nervous than usual due to the first turn bouy being located just 60 metres in front of us,” he said. “Exiting the water in the top half of the swim, making one of the best, if not the best swims, I ever had.
“A nifty T1 [transition] saw me make up a few more positions, with just 15 seconds to catch up to the first guys, and we caught up within 3k. But as we made our way along the second of three laps, a crash happened in front of me. I was lucky in that I could see it happen a few seconds before, but I knew I couldn’t avoid it, but I managed to avoid falling to the ground.
“As quickly as I could I jumped back on the bike and time trialled hard for the next two to three minutes to get back to the front group… I managed to exit sixth onto the run.”
The run consisted of two laps and Doherty was in front after 600 metres but was penalised for something he wasn’t aware of. He decided to take the 10 second penalty as opposed to trucking on and appealing it after the race, facing the risk of disqualification and it turned out to be a brilliant decision.
“I catch the guys within 300m and pass them out. But unexpectantly I hear Australian athlete Max Neumann on my shoulder. I realise it’s going to be a sprint finish and my history of sprint finishes isn’t paved with gold.
“But as we approach the finish, I empty myself and it’s enough to take the win.”
Doherty feels the win justifies where he’s at currently and is looking forward to another solid month of training in his high performance camp Down Under.
The world top 50 is now firmly in his cross hairs, which would see him gain entry into the Olympics.

MEANWHILE, Con’s younger brother, Aaron, has been selected by Triathlon Ireland to represent his country in the 2019 Quarteira ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup in Portugal at the end of the month.
This is one of the most hotly contested European Cup races in the schedule, where Doherty will have the honour of representing Ireland in his third different discipline (athletics and cycling the others).
The younger of Doherty brothers suffered a double crash at last year’s World Cycling Championships in Innsbruck, so is using this race as a benchmark to gauge where he is ahead of the this year’s World Championships.