2002 Cancun, MEX. – In the bright sun of the Playa Langosta beach area of Cancun, Mexico, six nations took the 6 medals for the Elite Men and Women's events at the 2002 ITU World Aquathlon Championships.
The Men's race started with a very fast 2.5 km run, with 15 athletes entering the first run to swim transition together behind Leandro Macedo (BRA). In the group were Matt Reed (NZL) the 2000 Aquathlon World Champion, Daniel Fontana ARG), Chris Gemmel (NZL), Dimitry Gaag (KAZ), the 1999 Triathlon World Champion,
During the 1km swim Matt Reed retired, leaving 3 Kiwi teammates to keep New Zealand in the race.
At the end of the swim, the lead group was whittled down to 5 with Gemmel, Andrey Glushchenko (UKR), Filip Ospaly (CZE), Joe Umpenhour (USA), Brent Foster (NZL), closely followed by Csaba Kuttor (HUN), Martin Knarvek (CZE), then the remainder of the group of 15.
The run to transition allowed Gemell, Foster, and Glushenko to gain a slight advantage onto the final 2.5km run. At the turn around Filip Ospaly had made his way through the field to set himself up with a medal chance.
Rounding the final turn into the finish straight Chris Gemmel staked his claim on the race to finish a fast and close 1 seconds ahead of Andrey Glushchenko, with Filip Ospaly a further 18 seconds back. Joe Umphenour had a great second run to finish fourth, Brent Foster fifth, Paolo Mashyro (BRA) in sixth.
The Women's race started 2 minutes after the men, and again a fast group of 5 made the break, with Sandra Soldan (BRA), Jill Savege (CAN), Czech teammates Lenka Radova and Renata Berkova, and Gillian Moody (CAN), taking the leading positions into the first transition.
At the end of the 1km swim, Soldan and Savege had a comfortable 20-second advantage over the rest of the field.
By the halfway point of the second run Soldan, and Savege applied the pressure to gain a break over the remainder of the field. Lenka Radova ran strongly to gain the last medal position. Soldan finished strongly 11 seconds ahead of Savege, with Radova further 44 seconds behind in third. Nina Anisimova of Russia was 4th, with Poland's Ewa Dederko in 5th. Lucie Zelenkova of the Czech Republic was 6th.
Complete age group, under 23 and junior results are available on www.triathlon.org. The quality of all competitions bodes well for the emerging sport of Aquathlon.
The Triathlon world's focus now shifts to the Cancun ITU Triathlon World Championships next weekend with age group, juniors, under 23, athletes with a disability and Clydesdale competing on Saturday, and the elite men and women on Sunday. See www.triathlon.org for complete start lists and event details.