Australia’s Matthew Hauser produced a stunning bronze medal performance in the Men’s Individual Triathlon Final, winning Australia’s first medal of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
It was yet another almighty showdown between England’s Alex Yee and New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde that brought the Sutton Park crowd to its feet in Birmingham on Friday morning, as the local hero closed down and eventually passed his rival to take the tape, even before Wilde was forced to serve a 10 second penalty for an equipment infraction, eventually crossing just ahead of Australia’s Matthew Hauser with an excellent bronze.
Hauser who came into the Games in career best form, just three weeks off the back of his first WTCS podium in Hamburg, put together an impressive run leg to go one place better than his promising debut at the Gold Coast 2018 Games, where he finished fourth and two seconds off the podium.
“I knew I’d be up there with them (Yee and Wilde), I mean I’ve been challenging them for half a year, so it was really good to be in the race and to know where that feeling is,” said Hauser.
“I knew I had a strong run in me and knew I could tough it out in the hills, so I tried to use that to my advantage. I was confident if I put myself in the race, I’m strong enough to hold on. And with all the crowd and cheers, and my training partners, and my Mum and Dad, Grandpa and Girlfriend in the stands, it was incredible, and that pushed me all the way through.
“I knew my form was there today to jump on the dais, and I’m so happy to execute. It’s a great honour to kick the Games off for Australia.”
Behind Hauser was Gold Coast 2018 Silver medallist and fellow Australian Jake Birtwhistle who showed his running form in Birmingham, finishing fourth behind Hauser, and Brandon Copeland with a strong performance throughout finishing 22nd in his Games Debut over the 750m swim, fast 4-lap 20km bike and 2-lap, 5km run sprint distance course in Sutton Park.
“It was a solid race - we don’t have too many run courses like that, I got off the bike and my legs felt really good for about 100 metres, and then we turned up the hill and I thought you know what I might have a tough day ahead of me here,” said Birtwhistle.
“It’s been a rough year, but I knew deep down it was still in me and I know I’ve been training well so it’s nice to put together a decent swim, bike and run and get myself back in the mix.
“It’s super nice to be here at a Commonwealth Games again and it’s always a massive privilege to wear these colours and represent Australia and to do it in front of my family and friends is really special.
Cheered on by family and friends in the crowd, Birtwhistle says it was a confidence boost for Team Australia ahead of the Mixed Relay where the Australia will be defending champions on Sunday 31 July.
“We should have a really good team for the relay, I’m really looking forward to it, and we’ve had a lot of success in the past so really looking forward to going back and hopefully being able to recreate that result.”
For the full results, click here.
3rd Matthew Hauser 00:50:50
4th Jacob Birtwhistle 00:51:06
22nd Brandon Copeland 00:54:20