Sprint finish decides Tamworth winner

FRESH from an eighth place finish at the World Championships in New Zealand, Gunnedah’s Matt Fitzgerald battled the rainy conditions to take out the first Tamworth triathlon of the summer at Kootingal on Sunday.

But the 25-year-old didn’t run away with it, with Inverell teen and NIAS athlete Callum Dolby hot on his heels most of the way.

“Callum was really good,” Fitzgerald said.

“I was surprised.

“I had a good swim and then I thought I’d bombard him on the bike but he held on really well.

“In the run I felt pretty good and we had a sprint finish at the end.

“At the moment the swim is probably my strongest but that was my first bike since New Zealand and I will be working on that from now on.”

Fitzgerald was eighth in the 25-29 male “sprint” in Auckland and is already planning for next year’s world titles.

“It’s the best I’ve done so far.

“In January I go to the qualifiers to go to London again for the World Championships in 2013.

“That would be very good.

“My ultimate aim is to get up into the long course race against the top guys.”

Fitzgerald has been competing for four years and has had plenty of local support from John and Donna Hickey, whose son Jack is Gunnedah’s best triathlon export so far, but by no means the only one.

The town is producing more than its fair share of good athletes.

The Tamworth race is just one more opportunity to keep race-fit and complements Fitzgerald’s training.

Working at Anytime Fitness gym in Gunnedah helps in that regard too.

Fitzgerald’s winning time was 54 minutes, 20 seconds, with Dolby just two hundredths of a second behind.

Third went to Pat McMillan from Armidale in 57.47.

Young Calrossy student, Rowena local and NIAS triathlete Zoe Radford, won the women’s race in a time of 58.37. She performed particularly well in the run to move clear of Jodi Heeney (59.33) and Kelly Moore (59.51).

In the short course race, Sam Ellicott won the men’s in 37.18 while another NIAS member, Maddy Robinson, took out the women’s event in 35.03.

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