Island Games Squad named

Triathlon Island Games Squad named

Guernsey Triathlon, newly sponsored by the Ana Leaf Foundation, have named their Island Games Squad for the Bermuda Games. The squad is a mixture of youth, development and experienced veteran racers and contains what is hoped to be some medal winning opportunities.

The Island Games race will be contested over the standard or Olympic distance of 1500 metre swim, 40 kilometre bike followed by a 10 k run. 

The team will consist of three woman, veteran Island Games triathlete Gail King, veteran Nikki Neal who has previously been better known as a runner and novice athlete Viki Marr.

King has represented Guernsey Triathlon over a number of years and was an individual silver medal winner at the Guernsey Games in 2003 where the Guernsey ladies team also took silver. At the Rhodes Games 2007 King again took silver and the Guernsey ladies team gold.

Of her medal chances in Bermuda King said At 47yrs old, I suspect I could be one of the oldest competitors in the Island Games Triathlon event this year!  On the plus side, I have gained plenty of experience from racing in the UK, in France and at Age Group World Championships and have a good background of competing in other sports too. I’d love to win another medal (of any colour) in Bermuda but suspect the competition could be tough out there, so just aim to be in tip top shape and have the best race I can.”

Neal has also qualified to represent athletics at the half marathon and is keeping her fingers crossed that the Games program is not altered, with the Triathlon scheduled on the first day of competition and the ‘half traditionally the final event of the Games which would allow her sufficient recovery time to be competitive at both events. However there is some speculation that Bermuda are looking to reschedule the ‘half to earlier in the week.

Owing to the expected high water temperature the swim will not allow wetsuits to be used and will therefore favour the stronger swimmers, weaker athletes are afforded some advantage by the extra buoyancy offered in a wetsuit legal swim.

The bike and run sections will see athletes complete a number of laps of a course in the North of the Island, yet to be finalised.

The men’s squad will consist of a brand new team, James Gower, Simon March and Phillip Le Pelley all represent Guernsey for the first time and have all come to the sport in the last few years and are training hard to give their best to the squad.

Coming from a strong running background and having made his triathlon debut at Guernsey Granite Man sprint event in 2009 Gower said I have been on a structured training plan for a few months now, focusing on improving my weakest link, swimming.  My greatest sporting achievements so far, are completing the Alpe d'Huez triathlon and cycling the entire length of the Pyrenees.  This will be my first Island games and I'm looking forward to the novelty of swimming without a wetsuit. 

Luke Walton has previously excelled at the much longer Ironman distance and qualified for the world Ironman championships in Hawaii in 2011. Ian Le Pelley has represented Guernsey at the highest level at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 and is hoping to qualify for Glasgow 2014. Both the Le Pelley brothers are currently based in the far East and are likely to be far better acclimatised to the hot weather conditions expected in Bermuda.

The men’s squad will also see talented local junior Luke Winberg compete in his first Island games for Triathlon. Winberg has been near the top of the island men’s swimming squad throughout his formative years, but has recently converted to Triathlon, dropping two of his weekly swim sessions. Luke was selected for the South West Triathlon training academy and has already represented Guernsey and the South West of England in UK junior Triathlon competition. Over the Easter period Luke has been invited to attend a Triathlon England Olympic Talent training camp in Loughborough.

 Luke received a £1000 bursary toward his Island Games training and competition from Bank of Butterfield and has maximized his training using triathlon coach Russ Smith from Stormforce and utilizing the Spearpoint high performance gym facilities at Footes Lane.

Club president Mark Naftel said ‘We have a strong squad for Bermuda, all the athletes have trained hard and will continue to do so in the lead up to the Games. I’m aware of a couple of minor injury worries, but we still have plenty of recovery and training time, we have some real medal contenders and I hope to see us place highly in both the individual and team medal positions’.





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