Two local athletes will be hoping the Olympic spirit that saw so many British successes last year is still burning in London, as they take part in the World Triathlon Championships on Friday, September 13.
Richard Hamilton, who grew up in Kirkcolm and attended Stranraer Academy, will compete in the amateur section, while Stranraer’s Ian Hannah, well known as a Galloway Harrier, will represent Great Britain in his age group section.
Although he had some experience in duathlon events, Richard managed to qualify for the Age-Group World Championship despite only starting to take part in triathlons this year. Asked to explain his success, Richard said: “I’ve done a lot of cycling, and for people that’s often a weak sport.
“I’m training all the time, except for work.”
The trial by fire has proved excellent preparation, and Richard feels the three qualifiers that led to the big stage have left him ready. “I was more nervous about the qualifiers.
“It was very tough, competition was fierce. I think particularly so because it’s in London and people have been training on the back of the Olympics.”
Richard may have managed to get this far while fighting off tough opponents, but he isn’t holding out for a spectacular showing at the event. “I don’t expect a podium finish – it’s more about the great experience. I might catch the Brownlees out of the corner of my eye.”
The experience should prove well worth it. The Kirkcolm man will be joining up with over 5000 competitors in the various classes of his championship alone.
Also worth mentioning is the ever-present hope that major competitions within the country will act as a spark that sets young people towards participation, and Richard was keen to point out the opportunities back home in Dumfries and Galloway. He said: “There’s perfect conditions up there, with lots of quiet roads. It’s a great sport to get into.”
If you think you have what it takes, it’ll be well worth watching the event which organisers try to make particularly spectator-friendly. Expect to see Richard and Ian giving their all.