Santa Marta, Colombia – Junior emerging triathlete Niel Skinner has finished third at the CAMTRI Santa Marta Aquathlon American Championships. The Barbadian triathlete participated in his first International Triathlon Union (ITU) sanctioned race last Sunday in Santa Marta, Colombia, and captured his first podium finish with a bronze medal in the junior category.
The Aquathlon event consists of a 2.5km run followed by a 1000m swim followed by a 2.5km run. The event fielded a small but talented group of junior (16-19 years) and under 23s and elite athletes from Aruba, Barbados, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and host country Colombia. All the athletes started together at 12:00 pm EST. on a very hot and humid day with a temperature of 33 degrees Celsius at minimum. Head coach Oein Josiah who accompanied Niel remarked: “Niel pushed on the first half of the first 2.5 km run to keep up with the front pack but that came at a price as he lost pace at the end of that run. He entered the 1000m swim in 12th place overall but swam well as he made up distance to exit the water in fifth place overall and first in the Junior category. However, he had two delays, a fall and a minor collision with another athlete.”
Skinner lead for the first 500m in the last 2.5 km but was caught by the eventual (junior) winner. He ran in second place until a sprint finish at the end and was edged out at the finish line to place third in the Junior category and eighth overall in the event. First place junior champion Jeisson Fierro Calderon (Colombia) finished in 0:33:14.70 minutes, Samuel Piña Barco (Venezuela) finished in second with a time of 0:34:00.72, and Skinner (Barbados) finished 0.07 of a second behind Barco for third place with a time of 0:34:00.79 minutes.
When asked about his performance Skinner responded: “It was my first CAMTRI race and the level of competition met my expectations. I would give my performance a nine out of ten based on the fall which caused some discomfort later in the race. In my opinion, my swim is what separated me from everyone else, it allowed me to make up the time I lost in the first run segment. The first run was quite a challenge as it was extremely humid and I was trying to keep up with pace of the U23s and elites. I am honoured to hold an international ranking in aquathlon.”
Skinner was recently selected as one of three athletes to the newly formed Junior Emerging Athlete Program (JEAP). The programme was created to develop athletes with long term potential to achieve high coaching and competition support. The goal of JEAP is to create a supportive, challenging and inspiring environment to help aid and guide athlete development.
Skinner is now ranked 50th in the ITU Aquathlon rankings and has a very good chance of qualifying for the inaugural Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) World Beach games which was to be hosted in San Diego, California in October 2019 but recently revealed they were looking for another host country. (PR)