Barbados’ top triathlete Matthew Wright produced a career best performance to finish fourth at the Pan American Triathlon Championships.
The 2023 event held on September 3, 2023 in Veracruz, Mexico, featured triathletes from the Americas all vying for valuable points towards the 2024 Paris Olympics.
His fourth-place finish propelled him onto the list of qualifiers for next year’s Olympics.
“For the first time to see my name on the list is beyond belief and I am excited,” Wright said.
He competed against 50 triathletes in the Elite Men division, which comprised a two-lap 1,500-metre swim, a 40-kilometre bike of eight laps around a course with minor hills and a flat 10 km run.
American John Reed claimed the top spot on the podium with an overall time of 1 hour 43 minutes and 49 seconds, while Martin Sobey and Brock Hoel, both from Canada claimed silver and bronze in 01:44:39 and 01:44:41, respectively.
Wright finished just outside the medals in a personal event-best time of 01:44:52.
He exited the water in sixth place about five seconds back from leader Hoel, who established a lead group of approximately 13 triathletes into the bike transition.
Wright who produced the fourth fastest time of 53:55 on the bike leg, used his experience to police the group to maintain a safe distance away from the chase group, who got within 10 seconds at one point but eventually faded to more than a minute behind.
In the run, Reed took the lead with no real challenger behind. A group of five, including Sobey and Hoel, along with Wright, Jesus Gildardo Espiritu of Mexico and Diego Moya of Chile, followed closely behind.
In the last lap of the run, Wright attacked the group in an attempt to push for second place, which saw him and the Canadians fighting for the last top spots on the podium however, he was unable to maintain his fight and eventually settled for fourth place.
Wright was delighted with his performance as he had set himself the goal to finish in the top 10.
He will now turn his attention to the Pan American Sprint Championships in Colombia on Saturday, with hopes of making the podium and racking up more points en route to his Olympic qualification bid. (RB/PR)