In what was a fitting end to a successful five days of competition for Team GB at the 2014 ITU Grand Final, a team of talented youngsters took gold in the inaugural U23/Junior Mixed Relay Championships. Sophie Coldwell, Chris Perham, Lucy Hall and Gordon Benson, who each had already competed in their own individual events in Canada, came together to form one of the strongest teams ahead of the new-to-a-Grand Final event.
Coldwell, fourth in the World Junior Champs, was the first to tackle the lightening quick 300m swim, 6.6km bike, 1.6km run course, tagging fellow junior Perham (15th in the individual event) in fourth place behind Germany, Italy and the USA.
Perham did a fine job to maintain fourth place before swim supremo and senior racer Hall, 22, took over proceedings. Making light work of the 300m route, Hall was instrumental in building an unassailable deficit over the proceeding bike and run for final athlete Benson, who won bronze in Saturday’s U23 World Champs.
Cruising to a light jog, Benson crossed the line in 1:22:58, 23secs ahead of Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle, the junior men’s silver medallist. The home crowd, meanwhile, were rewarded with a bronze.
Great Britain has excellent form in the senior Relay event, having won three of the four one-day championships and taking gold in its first outing at a Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. A bid to introduce the format into the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo is already in place.
World Junior/U23 Mixed Relay Championship results
1 Great Britain, GBR 1:22:58
2 Australia, AUS 1:23:21
3 Canada, CAN 1:23:50
4 Germany, GER 1:24:54
5 Italy, ITA 1:25:08