For a club with a modest triathlon contingent, it was a proud weekend in Weert, Netherlands
when 2 members competed for GBR in the European Championships.
In the women’s elite race on Friday evening, Jenny Manners competed in her highest profile
race and was rightly very proud to be selected for this prestigious event. She had been
presented with her triathlon suit the evening before the race by Alistair Brownlee as this was
her first GBR championship race. The standard distance event comprised a 1500m swim,
40k bike and 10k run. Coming out of the swim in the lead group, in 17.26, Jenny was in the
strong peloton of 18 athletes and they worked hard to close-down the threat from the chase
group. The lead grew until it was over 90 seconds with Jenny well placed as the group
entered T2 with a 54.08 bike leg. The twisting and technical course for the 10k run took its
toll after a recent lay off from running, but nonetheless Jenny achieved 37.00 for an overall
time of 1.49.22 and a superb 19 th place, 3 rd GBR. In the circumstances Jenny was very
pleased with her result and looks forward to another season of high-level competition.
Two days later Royal Agricultural University student Oliver Pritchard took part in the men’s
age group 20-24 race. Again, this was Oliver’s highest profile race having qualified for
selection after he competed in a standard distance event in Arundel, West Sussex last
summer. On the same technical course Oliver, who has been deaf since birth, enjoyed the
overall experience and exited the swim in 24.32. His strong 59.20 bike leg kept him with the
main contenders, but he found it was a run for survival in heat of 25 degrees, but still
achieved a very credible 40.45. Overall, Oliver achieved a superb 11 th place and was 4 th GBR athlete home in 2.08.40 and was delighted with the experience.
Oliver’s mantra “It’s abilities not disabilities” has truly been accomplished in this outstanding performance. Oliver is also aiming to raise awareness for deaf athletes and deafness in sport and encourage other children not to feel put off by sport if they have a health condition. He is aiming to turn professional after he finishes his final year at University.