‘London is the one to win’ Brownlee tells SJA

By Ian Cole
Alistair Brownlee, Britain’s triathlon world champion, knows it will be touch-and-go whether he will be fit to defend his title this summer.

Brownlee suffered a stress fracture of the upper leg while running on snow and ice earlier this year and he will definitely miss the first two legs of this year’s triathlon World Series.

The 21-year-old from Leeds, winner of the UK Sport Award at the SJA British Sports Awards in December, was the guest at our first sporting lunch of 2010, where he outlined his plans for the coming season and beyond.

“I’m having a scan next week and hopefully I’ll be given the go-ahead to resume full training in mid-April. That would rule out the first two legs of the World Series in Sydney and Seoul, so I’m targeting Madrid at the beginning of June,” Brownlee said.

If he makes it to the start line in Madrid, Brownlee can still fulfil the minimum requirement of competing in four races, before going on to the Grand Final in Budapest in September. Sandwiched in the middle of that series are the European championships in Ireland in July.

Most eagerly anticipated race is the Dextro Energy London Triathlon in late July, which is staged in Hyde Park over much of what will be the 2012 Olympic course, including a two-lap swim of the Serpentine.

“This one is hugely important to me,” said Brownlee, who notched up London among his World Series race wins in 2009. “This is the one to win. It is also great to lay down a marker in front of the home fans.”

More than 100,000 people now compete in triathlon every year in the UK, and thousands will also get a chance to compete over the same course as Brownlee over race weekend in July, with mass participation races in all age-groups at Hyde Park.

The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship London will feature men’s and women’s elite races, youth, junior and paratriathlon events, plus the age-group races, over the sprint and Olympic (1,500m swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run) distances. It will be broadcast live on the BBC and British Eurosport, with a highlights show on Channel 4.

At the SJA lunch ” sponsored by UK Sport and Sky Bet ” Brownlee explained that his injury has meant he and Joel Filliol, the British Triathlon Federation’s head coach, have had to re-structure the season.

“Normally I’d want to do five legs in case I have a puncture or a crash, but that won’t be possible this year.

“It has been a frustrating time. There was no particular incident that caused the fracture, just the wear and tear of trying to run on snow. At least the lay-off has meant I’ve done extra swimming, which doesn’t harm the injury.”

Brownlee, who has been hooked on the three-discipline sport of swimming, cycling and running since he was 10 is the most laid-back world champion you could imagine. But with the London 2012 Olympics approaching, he knows the relative anonymity he enjoys will surely end ” especially with younger brother Jonathan, already World Junior silver medallist and European Junior champion, chasing in his footsteps.

“When I won the title in Australia it was a really big thing down there. But when I got home to Leeds I soon realised life hadn’t changed at all. It was like ‘yeah, that was a good race, now let’s move on’,” he said.

Brownlee’s modesty is charming but he admits, “I quite like being famous”, and he has imagined himself standing on the Olympic podium with a gold medal around his neck ” and maybe brother Jonathan alongside him. “That would be interesting,” he says, with massive understatement.

Other SJA dates for your diaries
Mon Apr 12: SJA Spring Golf Day , to be staged at Surbiton GC. To book, contact Paul Trow (07973 862747).

Thu Apr 15: SJA 2010 Annual Meeting , at offices of UK Sport

Mon Apr 19: SJA/LOCOG guided tour of Olympic Park, 2pm For booking details, click here.

Sun Apr 25: SJA Cricket Day. Enjoy corporate hospitality with friends and colleagues, and bring along your partner, as Lancashire take on Surrey. Tickets £65 each. Click here for booking details.

Wed May 19: A Question of Boris:The SJA’s second “Sporting Question Time”, this time with London Mayor Boris Johnson at City Hall. This will be strictly for SJA members only. To book your ticket, click here to send us an email with your name, SJA membership number and address, writing “Sporting Question Time with Boris” in the subject field

Mon Sep 13: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC. To book, contact Paul Trow (07973 862747).

All dates and details subject to change.

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