Alex Yee grabbed England’s first gold medal of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with victory over Hayden Wilde, who suffered a 10-second penalty in the men’s triathlon at Sutton Park.
Yee came through the pack after trailing following the swimming and the cycling but proceeded to chase down New Zealand’s Wilde to clinch victory in 50 minutes 34 seconds, finishing 13 seconds clear, with Australia’s Matthew Hauser three seconds further back.
There was further success for Team England in the women’s triathlon as Georgia Taylor-Brown picked up silver, with Team Scotland’s Beth Potter claiming the final podium position.
With a gold medal round his neck, Yee said: ‘It’s a bit of a fairytale, isn’t it?
‘I’ve worked hard for this, this is my big race of the year and I’m just proud I could do it for Team England, myself, my family and for everyone.
The 24-year-old had finished the swimming leg in 16th place and around 15 seconds behind the leading pack with some work to do.
Yee soon battled back during the cycling and found himself jostling with Wilde for the top podium finish.
He said: ‘I never gave up, I knew this course is tough and honest, and that the hill can kill you every single time so I knew if I was able to push on, on that hill, then there was a chance that I would catch him.
‘It was just incredible to be a part of that and to have that moment, I don’t know how often I will get that moment so it’s really special.’
Wilde was in front of Yee for much of the encounter but suffered a 10-second penalty for his transition off the bike as he appeared to unclip his helmet earlier than he was allowed.
At that moment, Wilde was leading heading into the five-kilometre run and was setting his sights on gold to back up his bronze at Tokyo 2020.
A moment of great sportsmanship was witnessed at Sutton Park as Yee started to breathe down the leader’s neck, the Englishman passed Wilde and was applauded by his rival as he hit the front.
Asked about the penalty, Yee admitted it was unfortunate to decide the race on a ‘little mistake.’
He added: ‘I’m really sorry Hayden got his penalty, you never want to see that. It’s just a bit unfortunate that our race is determined by something technical and a little mistake by him but that’s racing.
‘I’ve got a lot of time for Hayden and I really feel like he brought the best out of me today so I’m really proud.’
In the women’s triathlon, Taylor-Brown finished second to Bermuda’s Flora Duffy who cruised home to retain her Commonwealth Games triathlon title.
Duffy came home in 55 minutes and 25 seconds and a convincing 41 seconds in front of Taylor-Brown who was competing in her first Commonwealth Games and saluted the winner with a bow as she crossed the finishing line.
There was also a place for Scotland on the podium as Potter ran home in third and a further 40 seconds behind Taylor-Brown.
Duffy and Taylor-Brown jostled for the front two positions for much of the encounter, as they swapped one-two several times during the cycling.
But Duffy emerged the better from the transition onto foot and raced into a five-second lead and that advantage lengthened over the five kilometres as she cruised home.
Potter led the opening stages of the race as she sprung out the water in under 10 minutes, better than the chasing pack, and finished strongly.
After her medal success, Potter said: ‘I’m buzzing – It was a real target to get a medal this year and I’m just glad I could do that.’
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