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 > Home Page > About > Latest News > HAMSTRUNG BIRTWHISTLE OVERCOMES INJURY TO RUN AWAY WITH UNDER 23 WORLD TITLE

HAMSTRUNG BIRTWHISTLE OVERCOMES INJURY TO RUN AWAY WITH UNDER 23 WORLD TITLE


HAMSTRUNG BIRTWHISTLE OVERCOMES INJURY TO RUN AWAY WITH UNDER 23 WORLD TITLE

 

Tasmania’s Jake Birtwhistle has become only the third Australian male in history, overcoming a grade one hamstring tear, to win the coveted ITU Under 23 world triathlon championship in Chicago earlier today.

 Birtwhistle joins the first ever under 23 world champion– 2008 Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt, who won in 2002 in Cancun, Mexico and Olympian-elect  Aaron Royle who won the title in Auckland in 2012.

 Five Australian women, Nikki Egyed (2003), Annabel Luxford (2004), Erin Densham (2006), Emma Jackson (2010) and Charlotte McShane (2013) have all won the Under 23 world crown too.

 And Birtwhistle has done it with the same coach as Royle - Wollongong Wizards master coach Jamie Turner.

JAKE BIRTWHISTLE CHIC1 


The Triathlon Australia National Talent Academy star also joins an elite group of triathlon royalty – champions who have taken the title on their way to the top of the sport.

 Four-time world champion and Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez winning in 2003 in Queenstown; 2012 Olympic champion and 2009 and 2011 world champion Alistair Brownlee (2008) and his brother, 2011 world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Brownlee in Budapest in 2010.

Birtwhistle produced a courageous performance to overcome a grade one hamstring tear, suffered in training a week ago and a series of cramps, to etch his name into the ITU history books.

But under the care of Australia's medical team, physio Dean Sullivan and team doctor Mark Young and under the watchful eye of National Performance Director Bernard Savage and coach Turner the 20-year-old from Launceston sprinted away over the final kilometre to win in a time of 1:40.51 from Spanish pairing David Castro Fajardo (1:41.05) and Nan Oliveras (1:41.15).

Australia's Declan Wilson, who led the chase group on the bike and up to the lead group finished 22nd and Matt Baker was 25th.

A carefully managed plan devised by Triathlon Australia's medical team the multi-talented 20-year-old from Launceston sprinted away over the final kilometre.

Birtwhistle was quick to praise the efforts of team physio Sullivan, who put a detailed daily plan together for the young star.

“Dean said at the time I would be right to race but I think he was a bit optimistic,” said Birtwhistle.

 “Basically when it happened all I could do was just rest.

 “He admitted it to me last night he actually wasn’t too positive about it.

 “I did everything I could and with the help of Triathlon Australia and the team we were able to get on top of it and manage it and I’m glad I was able to come out here and get a good result and I have to thank them as well.

 “There wasn’t any stone left unturned…we were doing absolutely everything in our control for me to get on top of it and get to the start line.”

JAKE BIRTWHISTLE CHIC2 


Sullivan managed the plan, which Birtwhistle stuck to religiously, right down to the final sprint.

“He ran at 90 percent yesterday and we were waiting to go 100 percent over the final 200 metres – it is so pleasing when a plan works and so happy for Jake – if anyone deserves this win he does,” said Sullivan.

It capped an eye-catching first year on the World Triathlon Series for the boy who had to choose between a career on the running track and a career in triathlon.

A magical Chicago sunrise on the Lake Michigan horizon heralded a new dawn and the new champion but only after Korean Seunghun Seo opened up a 13 second lead after the swim, which saw Birtwhistle already well placed.

The bike course started out with a group of 30 men led by Canadian Alexis Lepage and Great Britain’s Gordon Benson but with the chase down by just over 30 seconds.

But halfway through the bike course, the chase made a huge push and was able to make up over 10 seconds on the leaders. That push would continue for the remaining two laps until the bell sounded signaling the final bike lap, the chase merged to the front and caused a peloton to form that tallied 41 athletes.

With a lead pack large in size, the second transition zone was busy and crowded. But that didn’t stop Birtwhistle, Benson, Lepage and Kevin McDowell (USA) from blasting through and taking an early lead to start off the run leg.

During the first 2.5 kilometres, Lepage dropped off and instead was replaced by Spaniards Castro and Oliveras. The five men grouped together and ran as leaders until the nine kilometre mark.

Not until the last kilometre did the podium seem to work itself out.

Birtwhistle kicked in a last burst of energy to sprint ahead and run into the finish line solo and claim his World Championship crown.

“I didn’t want anything today but gold!” said Birtwhistle.

 “I would not have been happy with anything else; I knew I could do it and I had to do everything in my control to make that happen and that’s what I did.

 “I’m very happy...it’s a great way to finish off the season after what has been a pretty up and down year.

 “There has been a lot of positives but there were some low points, a couple of WTS races and the Rio test Event.

 “It’s really good to get another race under the belt before the end of the season and definitely a positive moving into next season I guess...to (continue) to challenge for a spot in the (Rio Olympic) Games.”

FULL INTERVIEW…..

What Jake Birtwhistle said:

OVERCOMING THE HAMSTRING TEAR

“It happened in a training session last Wednesday, seven days ago, I pulled up after the second one kilometre rep and I had a bit of a hamstring issue; I thought it was just getting tight.

“It was a week ago in what would have been my last hit out before this race.

“But I saw the Australian team physio Dean Sullivan that night and he said it was a grade one tear.

“He said at the time I would be right to race but I think he was a bit optimistic.

“Basically when it happened all I could do was just rest.

“He admitted it to me last night he actually wasn’t too positive about it

“I did everything I could and with the help of Triathlon Australia and the team we were able to get on top of it and manage it and I’m glad I was able to come out here and get a good result and I have to thank them as well.

“There wasn’t any stone left unturned…we were doing absolutely everything in our control for me to get on top of it and get to the start line.”

 MAKING THE WINNING MOVE

 “I actually made my move with 1.5 kilometes to go; I planned it; I thought it was a good spot on the slight downhill after the U turn and I figured I would be able to stride it out a bit easier and make the most of that and take advantage of that.

 “ I thought about that on lap two that was where I was going to go and that’s exactly what I did.”

 CRAMPING MY STYLE

 “I started cramping…first of all my calf went in the swim with about 300m to go.

 “I pushed through it and tried to stretch out while I was running and it actually went away but as soon as I jumped on the bike my left quad went, it cramped up and then another kilometre down the road my hamstring went and right on the spot but I kept pushing through it and tried to stay in the saddle a bit and it went away and I guess it was more of a cramp than anything.

 “Once it that had gone and I was feeling tight and I felt that it might affect my run but it was fine…and we got through it.”

 NOTHING BUT GOLD

 “I didn’t want anything today but gold!”

 “I would not have been happy with anything else; I knew I could do it and I had to do everything in my control to make that happen and that’s what I did.

 “I’m very happy...it’s a great way to finish off the season after what has been a pretty up and down year.

 “There has been a lot of positives but there were some low points, a couple of WTS races and the Rio test Event.

 “It’s really good to get another race under the belt before the end of the season and definitely a positive moving into next season I guess...to challenge for a spot in the Games…”

 THE RESULTS

 U23 Men ITU World Championships, Chicago

1.

Jacob Birtwhistle

AUS

U

01:40:51

2.

David Castro Fajardo

ESP

S

01:41:05

3.

Nan Oliveras

ESP

S

01:41:15

4.

Kevin Mcdowell

USA

S

01:41:38

5.

Gordon Benson

GBR

B

01:41:56

6.

Russell Pennock

CAN

A

01:42:04

7.

Juan Jose Andrade Figueroa

ECU

C

01:42:09

8.

Alexis Lepage

CAN

A

01:42:18

9.

Christophe De Keyser

BEL

E

01:42:27

10.

Shachar Sagiv

ISR

L

01:42:31

View Full Results >>

PROFILE

Jacob Birtwhistle

DOB: January 4, 1985

AGE: 20

BORN: Launceston, TAS

LIVES: Wollongong, NSW

TRAINS: Wollongong, NSW/ Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain)

COACH: Jamie Turner

Profile: In 2014 Jake struck gold in the ITU World Junior Duathlon and represented Australia at the 2014 ITU World Junior Triathlon Championships where he won individual and teams silver. Jake has just completed his first year on the elite ITU World Triathlon Series circuit and is already ranked in the top 25 in the world. He produced his first top 10 finish with a 9th in the WTS round in Yokohama. Jake started his ITU season with a second in the ITU World Cup race in Mooloolaba before making his WTS debut in Auckland, where he was 38th. He was quick to re-group under coach Jamie Turner and bounced back to finish 9th in Yokohama and 11th in London. Illness and injury have plagued the backend of his season but realised a major step to be selected to contest the Rio Test Event and today in Chicago he was crowned the 2015 ITU Under 23 world champion.