USA wins big as Hindman and Knibb take World Junior ITU Titles in Cozumel

by Erin Greene/ITU Media

The USA’s Austin Hindman won the men’s ITU Triathlon Junior World Championship race in Cozumel on Friday with a powerful come from behind run performance. Canada’s Charles Paquet took silver, followed by Great Britain’s Ben Dijkstra.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Hindman said. “Coming into this race I was feeling strong. To be able to take the win, that felt great, to come here and take first place is really a dream come true. I can’t believe it.”

The junior men started the day with a dive start into warm, clear ocean water for a one-lap 750m swim. The short course wasn’t enough for any of the athletes to split away from the school of swimmers, as only one minute separated the first and 75th athlete, meaning each athlete came out in one big line.

Norway’s Endre Espedal looked like he was attempting to break away from a 37-deep lead group after the first lap, riding through the transition area five seconds faster than anyone else. But with Youth Olympics Champion Dijkstra in the hunt, Espedal’s attack was held off. They did, however, manage to drop five men, cutting the end of the train off slightly by the end of the bike.

Daniel Hoy (NZL) and Dijkstra, the pair of whom sprinted to a photo finish at the 2014 Youth Olympics, looked to repeat their history from Nanjing, with them taking the lead out of T2.

“I thought if i go off hard, I’ll see who goes with me,” Dijkstra said. “I like it to be a hard race, that’s how I like racing. It was me, and a few others dragging everyone on the bike and I was happy to do it because I figured if the pace was hard it’d favor the strongest sort of athletes.”

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But it was Canada’ Paquet that charged through the first lap of the run with a seven-second lead, followed by Dijkstra, Hindman and Hoy. The early blast looked to be in Paquet’s favor, but Hindman bid his move perfectly, executing a late surge to bypass Paquet for the gold.

“It was pretty hard, I faded 2k into the run, my quads started feeling tired,” Paquet said. “The heat was so hard today, I just tried to drink a lot of water. I was just trying to keep the pace. I knew Austin was coming. I was so happy to be first and keep that place, but Austin was faster today. I’m pretty happy today though.”

Paquet hung strong for silver, followed by Dijkstra.


In the women’s ITU Triathlon Junior World Championship race at the 2016 World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumel on Friday, Taylor Knibb (USA) nabbed her first world championship title with a dominating bike and run performance. Lisa Tertsch (GER) produced a speedy run for second and in a sprint finish, Hye Rim Jeong(KOR) out ran Ines Santiago (ESP) for bronze. The bronze is the first-ever World Championship medal of any level for Korea.

“That was probably the worst swim of my entire life, I just had to be patient and move my way up,” Knibb said. “If someone had told me that was how the race would have panned out, I would have just laughed. I live in DC, so it’s been a very humid summer, so I’m kinda used to going out and feeling like you hit a wall of heat.”

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Japan’s Fuka Sega and Minami Kubono, along with Hungary’s Dorka Putnoczki, managed to maneuver their way through the swim first for a 10-second lead. While several pockets of women formed out of the swim, 32 women came together after the first of four bike laps, including pre-race favourites Cassandre Beaugrand(FRA) and Taylor Knibb (USA).

Lena Meißner (GER), Therese Feuersinger (AUT) and Knibb knocked out a 20-second lead over the field midway through the bike. On the third lap, Knibb stretched out her top place over the main chase to 35 seconds, while her break away partners Feuersigner and Miesner dropped to 17 seconds back.

While the pair continued to fall back to the chase as the bike ended, Knibb ran out nearly half a minute before the rest of the women arrived to T2. Nimble on her feet as she is in saddle, Knibb hung onto her lead after the first of two run laps, while Lisa Tertsch (GER), Hye Rim Jeong (KOR), Cecilia Santamaria Surroca (ESP) andInes Santiago (ESP) positioned themselves next in the run.

But there was no stopping or slowing Knibb as she cruised over the finish line to win the Junior World Title, meaning the US won both the men’s and women’s titles in the category.

Behind her, Tertsch went unchallenged in the final lap for silver, while Santiago and Jeong engaged in a sprint battle down the finish chute. In a last burst of speed, Jeong passed Santiago for the final medal.

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