Former two-time national triathlon champion Oein Josiah gifted himself a wonderful birthday present on Sunday when he was crowned the first-ever Barbados Federation of Island Triathletes (BFIT) Duathlon champion in a competition held yesterday at the Bushy Park Circuit, St. Phillip.
Josiah celebrated his 31st birthday and captured victory in less than an hour (59:32) while Amy Cox (1:11.32) won the women’s title during the event which was held for the third consecutive year. This, however, was the first time where champions were recognised. The championship event featured a five kilometres run, 20 kilometres bike race and a two-point five-kilometre run.
What turned out to be a triumph for Josiah in perfect overcast weather conditions was heartbreak for his rival Darren Matthews who crossed the finish line first but then realised he had misjudged his run on the final two-point five kilometre race.
Matthews was forced to retrieve his ankle chip from the officials and swiftly complete the remainder of his run which ended up being another half of a kilometre. In the end, Matthews earned silver in 1:01.11 while teenager Niel Skinner (1:01.59) took home the bronze.
After the race, both men spoke with Barbados TODAY. Josiah said his strategy was to push hard on the first five-kilometre run, work on the bicycle and finish off strong again in the final run.
Josiah also praised his rival Matthews despite the technicality, saying: “Darren Matthews had a fantastic race and I guess maybe it is just the experience in multisports at this time. I know he originally started off in triathlon but unfortunately, he exited the course before he actually finished, and when he did go back I eventually won. That is unfortunate and I must say based on the time he is the champion for today.”
Meanwhile, Matthews, as expected, was heartbroken but also credited Josiah for doing well. He said: “A little heartbreak but it is what it is. I mean Oein was complete. If I failed to complete the course that was at me and I am gracious in defeat. But I ended up completing the race and I am happy with the result but not the outcome.”
Matthews would also like to see BFIT host a few more duathlons on a yearly basis. Based on what was a well-organised event with a good complement of competitors in different categories, Matthews explained that would be a good enough reason for him to compete more in triathlons having started out in the sport some years ago.
In the women’s duathlon championship, second to Amy Cox was Sabrina Thompson in 1:24.53 and Janelle Clarke produced 1:40.06 for a distant third.
In the adults and 15-plus category, Jerome Blackett clocked 45:42 overall for a gold medal performance having competed on the mountain bike section. The closest rival was Kamal Lewis-Gopie in 55:33 while Jeremy Gunn [58:27] was good enough to round out the top three.
National athletes Flynn Armstrong [44:01] and Lucas Austin [44:15] dominated the top two for the adults and 15-plus as they both competed in the road bike section. Ian Maynard [48:24] was good enough for the third-place finish.
In the 11 to 14 age group, Luke McIntyre took centre stage in 22:03, Cain Banfield also did very well in 22:58 for second and Nikel Phillips [23:26] was third. Meanwhile, in the girls, Hailey Brathwaite registered 21:01 for the first position ahead of Isabelle Mayers [18:16].
The 11 and under were not left out as Zindele Renwick-Williams was a strong finisher in 9:01, Storm Riley (9:25) and Laila McIntyre (10:34) were the next best finishers.