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Home / News / Henri Schoeman wins 2018 Commonwealth title

Henri Schoeman wins 2018 Commonwealth title

In-form South African tops the podium ahead of Australia's Jacob Birtwhistle and Scotland's Marc Austin, as Brownlee brothers falter on the run to finish seventh and 10th

South African Henri Schoeman cruised to Commonwealth Games gold on the Gold Coast, with home hope Jacob Birtwhistle running through for silver and Scotland’s Marc Austin holding on for bronze.

After the women enjoyed sweltering sunshine for their race, a fierce storm moved in for the men’s event leaving the entire field shivering on the pontoon.

Of course Leeds-born-and-bred athlete Alistair Brownlee was unfazed, taking the lead from the first few strokes and during most of the 750m choppy swim. Only Tayler Reid (NZL) was able to stay on his side, both hitting T1 together.

On to the 2okm bike and they were swiftly joined by the younger Brownlee, Jonny, Schoeman, Matthew Hauser and Austin; the sextet forming the lead group throughout.

Despite the Brownlees’ best efforts, in wet conditions with several 180° turns, to extend the gap to the chasers – a large group including Richard Murray (RSA), Ryan Sissons (NZL), Birthwhistle, Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) and Matthew Sharpe (CAN) – the deficit remained at 25 seconds until T2. Decent, but not comfortable enough.

With this in mind, Schoeman shot out of T2 to open up a small gap as the quintet behind was slowly reduced to Jonny Brownlee and Austin.

With 2.5km to go, Alistair Brownlee had dropped back to eighth place, 43 seconds down.

Birtwhistle, meanwhile, was quickly picking off the pack; his colossal effort paying off with not only with the fastest run split of the day (14:36mins for the 5km) but also a silver medal, the first for the host nation of the Commonwealth Games.

More impressive was Schoeman’s performance, the Rio Olympics bronze medallist executing the perfect race to take the tape and the title.

“I have no words,” said Schoeman at the line. “It was a tough race, the swim was rough, but it was so amazing to have run for my country.

“My legs were exhausted at the start but I gave it a surge and kept up the momentum, I just had to stay cool and save energy. I just kept thinking: ‘Don’t give up, anything can happen’. That last 50 metres felt amazing.”

On winning silver on home ground, Birtwhistle commented:

“I am super happy to be in second place. It would have been nice to to go one better, but I just couldn’t run it down. I left it all to the run, and I put everything into that. It’s amazing to be competing with such talented guys and I am so stoked with a silver medal.”

In third place, Austin, who left the younger Brownlee behind in the final meters and pushed hard enough to keep another Aussie, Matt Hauser, in fourth place, said:

“My race today was pretty great, I knew that I really needed to work hard but also save my energy. Everything went according to plan and I knew that I couldn’t have given anything else.

“My training leading up to the Games has been perfect and I knew that if ever I was going to deliver my best performance, it was going to be today.”

Jonathan Brownlee eventually crossed the finish line in seventh; his older brother in 10th.

“From start to finish I didn’t feel great, I had ups and downs,” explained a disappointed Jonny Brownlee after finishing. “I dived in and felt pretty weak on the swim and I started riding and I found it really hard to catch up.

“I started running and I thought, ‘Oh dear, I’m in trouble here’, but I gave it everything, I ran as well as I could.”

Top image: ITU Media/Delly Carr

Profile image of Liz Barrett Liz Barrett 220 Deputy Editor

About

220 deputy editor Liz Barrett started work on the magazine in 2007 as staff writer. Since then, she’s reported live from almost every major triathlon across the globe, including the Ironman World Championships, 70.3 Worlds, six ITU Worlds, Challenge Roth, the 2014 and 2022 Commonwealths, the London Olympics and the Rio Paralympics, to name but a few. Name a pro and chances are she’ll have interviewed them, so, unsurprisingly, she’s our go-to pro-athlete expert on the team. When not covering races, you’ll find her whipping words into finely-crafted shape for both the magazine and website.