Alex Yee celebrates with his national flag after winning the gold medal for the men’s individual triathlon at the Commonwealth Games on Friday. AP
England’s Alex Yee won the first gold of the Commonwealth Games on Friday, hailing his victory in the men’s triathlon in Birmingham as his “greatest achievement” despite taking Olympic silver last year.
The 24-year-old made up a deficit of 15 seconds following the bike section to overhaul long-time pacesetter Hayden Wilde on the run and finish the sprint-distance event in a time of 50 min 34 sec.
New Zealand’s Wilde briefly regained the lead but, with a 10-second penalty hanging over him, he patted Yee on the shoulder and waved him on to take the honours on his own.
“Just bizarre that it’s me doing this,” Yee told the BBC. “There were so many nations and athletes that I have not raced before.
“I feel extremely grateful and proud to be a triathlete today. This is a home Games and the first time I have been able to race in front of my parents for a long time. This is probably I’d say my greatest achievement ever.”
Yee also won mixed relay gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Wilde sat out his penalty — incurred for not putting his cycling helmet away properly in the transition — but last year’s Olympic bronze medallist still took silver. “I am chuffed for the guy (Yee),” he said.
“He played the perfect race. He was always in contention and I knew it was going to be a hard task (on the run).”
Wilde, who timed 50:47, said having Yee as a rival was a great motivation for him.
“We have had such great battles since Tokyo, with him getting the (Olympic) silver and me getting the bronze,” he said.
Australia’s Matthew Hauser, who finished three seconds behind Wilde, won bronze in an event in which 2018 champion Henri Schoeman pulled out before the start.