Wright delight, Turner takes top prize

SUPER LEAGUE triathlete Ollie Turner admitted he felt like he had been ‘hit by a bus’ after winning Team Jersey’s Island Games qualifier.

Island Games triathlon qualifier. Olympic distance Richard Tanguy. Picture: JON GUEGAN.
Island Games triathlon qualifier. Olympic distance Richard Tanguy. Picture: JON GUEGAN.

The sprint specialist joined his colleagues in stepping back up to Olympic-distance triathlon for the first time in 14 months on Sunday, as the Jersey Triathlon Club continued their adjusted hunt for medal contenders amid ongoing Covid-19 regulations.

Over 30 athletes were released in three waves in St Catherine’s Bay, with five spots up for grabs in the male and female categories for Guernsey 2021. Cyclist-turned triathlete Richard Tanguy claimed second overall, with Jack Kennedy – second behind Turner in the Games relay qualifier seven days earlier – taking third.

Rower-turned-triathlete Jade Wright, who won the virtual Jersey Triathlon this summer – beating Guernsey’s 2019 Island Games silver medallist Megan Chapple – claimed top spot in the women’s race, ahead of Games stalwarts Jo Gorrod, Mel Messervy and Claire Forbes.

‘That’s the first Olympic-distance triathlon I’ve done since the last Island Games in Gibraltar,’ said Turner, who claimed individual bronze in 2019, helping Jersey to team gold. ‘I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.

‘The conditions were pretty tough, which probably worked in my favour in the swim and run. Richard Tanguy closed the gap on the bike but I knew I had to run 10km on a hilly course, so I didn’t want to put myself into a ditch too soon. I wasn’t too concerned and I ended up running well.’

Turner – a member of British Triathlon’s national performance centre in Cardiff – added. ‘I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to race. Not too many places are racing at the moment so it’s great that the [Jersey] Tri Club are putting races on with the Covid conditions.’

Turner scrambled from the water over a minute clear of the next-best swimmer in Kennedy, who himself began the second phase almost 90 seconds ahead of fellow teenager William Atkinson in third.

Wright, on the other hand, relied on a strong finish to claim top spot in the ladies’ race, having trailed the likes of Gorrod, Messervy, Forbes and Della Roderick into the first transition. Clearly adept on two wheels and two feet, Wright clocked the 11th quickest times overall on the 40km bike and 10km run legs to finish almost two minutes clear of perennial Games medallist Gorrod.

Sam Lee claimed fifth in the women’s event, with Nick Thorne and Charlie Bird taking fourth and fifth respectively in the men’s event to offer their names up to the selectors for Guernsey.

Wright, a doctor who moved to Jersey in 2018, said: ‘I’m very happy ... very relieved that all the training paid off and there were no disasters on the day. It’s great just to be able to race again after everything being cancelled.

‘It would be very exciting to represent Jersey at the Island Games. It feels like home now and I’ll definitely be here for at least another year.’

With a half-ironman event in the Netherlands in mind for October, Wright added: ‘I think Olympic-distance is actually harder ... my strength is longer endurance. We did a super sprint last week which was okay, but I much preferred the Olympic-distance race [on Sunday].’

A decision on whether the 2021 Island Games will go ahead is due to be held by Guernsey officials in the coming weeks.

Full list of results in today's JEP.

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