FAST FINISH: Whakatane’s Hayden Wilde, right, sprints to the finish with Frenchman Leo Bergere at the end of the under-23 mixed relay ITU The World Triathlon Final on the Gold Coast on Sunday. Photo Tommy Zaferes/ITU Media

A POST-RACE disqualification left triathlete Hayden Wilde heart broken on the Gold Coast.

Whakatane’s Wilde was part of the New Zealand under-23 mixed relay team at the ITU The World Triathlon final on Sunday. He looked to have snatched a dramatic gold medal for his team after a sprint finish to Sunday’s race.

He battled Frenchman Leo Bergere down the finishing chute and the pair crossed the line together. But race officials ruled that Wilde had stepped outside of the course and the team was disqualified.

“I was absolutely over the moon when I crossed the finish line. But only after three minutes of joy, my team and I were hit by a massive blow which left me heartbroken.”

“I cut a cone running to the transition,” Wilde said. “There was no direction line to follow and it only would have given me a metre. I was the only one that did and it wouldn’t have changed the result.

It was tough for Wilde as he saw the relay race as a chance for redemption after placing ninth in the under-23 elite race two days earlier. That race was also not without controversy.

“On my first lap of the swim I was in a good position in the front group. On the second lap I was targeted by another athlete and in the end he got a DQ because he was grabbing my shoulder. He was pulling me back which was caught on camera by the officials. After the second lap I was 45 seconds down.

“As frustrating as it was I charged on the bike giving it all I had and finally caught the second group.”

From there, Wilde sat and waited for the run and coming off the bike in 29th place, he surged into the top 10 to cross the finish line in ninth place.

“I can take some positives and negatives. Overall it was actually a very good race but unfortunately other people you race with don’t like to play fair.”

Three other Whakatane athletes also competed on the Gold Coast. Marina Fowell earned an impressive third place in the sprint distance 50-59 age group race. She clocked one hour 11 minutes for the race, less than a minute behind race winner Sally Musgrove of Australia. Emma Parsons placed 18th in the 35-39 age group while Will Rouse was 57th in the 40-44 age group.

Parsons placed 44th in the sprint race and Rouse crossed the line in 47th place. They also competed in the Aquathlon, a swim and run event, where Parsons placed third in her age group and Rouse placed eighth.

adyn.ogle@whakatanebeacon.co.nz

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