Olympic silver medallist Alex Yee handed Team England their first gold of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, leading a thrilling comeback over world No. 1 Hayden Wilde to win the men’s triathlon on Friday.
Yee, who won silver in the men’s triathlon at Tokyo 2020 and gold in the mixed relay, said his win in Birmingham was perhaps the crowning achievement of his career so far as he overturned a 16-second deficit to New Zealand’s Wilde in the 5km run.
“For me this is a home Games, the first time I have been able to race in front of my parents for a long time, this I would say is probably my greatest achievement ever,” he said.
“I have a lot of time for Hayden, he is a great competitor and brought the best out of me every single day we race.”
Hayden had a significant lead following the 750m swim and 20km bike ride, but Yee reeled him. The New Zealander was then handed a 10-second penalty as he went on to claim silver.
We came here weeks in a row meticulously preparing for this and I spent so many sessions doing the same hill every time and when we got there, I almost felt like I had done the race before.
“There were thousands of people out on the course and it was just crazy so I was making sure I was enjoying that but digging in and chasing Hayden as well.”
In the women’s event, England’s Georgia Taylor-Brown was beaten to triathlon gold by Olympic champion Flora Duffy, who won the second Commonwealth title of her career.
Duffy had an annual public holiday in her home country of Bermuda named in her honour after she won gold in the triathlon at Tokyo 2020, and she became the first triathlete to follow up that success with Commonwealth gold.
“No-one has ever won twice and that was weighing on me. The crowd was really behind Georgia [Taylor-Brown] but I was soaking it up and it was really special,” Duffy said.
“It’s been a really strange start to the year and coming off the Olympics, and having Covid twice, but I knew if I gave myself time and patience I could put on a good performance here.”
Duffy said of her battle with Taylor-Brown: “It’s special, I was laughing when it was the two of us, just like the Olympics. We have a real friendship too, happy to smash each other on the course.”
Meanwhile, England’s netball team got their gold medal defence underway with a comprehensive 74-22 win against Trinidad and Tobago. They went into the break 37-9 up and closed out the victory in style at the NEC in Birmingham.
England are looking to retain the title they won at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, when they beat hosts Australia in the final. They face Malawi in their second group match on Saturday.