New Zealand elite triathlon mixed relay team ninth at world champs
The New Zealand mixed relay triathlon team finished ninth at the world championships in Hamburg on July 17, with Wanaka triathlete Tony Dodds saying the athletes have more to learn before tackling the discipline at the 2020 Olympics.
"We were expecting it to be a lot tougher now as it is in the Olympics, with most countries putting in their best team. We know we are a very strong team, it is just about where to put us athletes in which order. That is what we experimented with today," Dodds told Tri NZ after the race.
"We thought why not change it up and if the race goes the way we are hoping then we are going to do well.
"I think different people suit this type of racing. There are guys and girls out here who aren't particularly strong in Sprint or Olympic but are insanely good at this distance and that showed today, and they put their athletes in the right positions at the right time. We have a bit to learn still, and may have to," Dodds said.
The team at Hamburg comprised Dodds, Andrea Hewitt, Deborah Lynch and Ryan Sissons.
The quartet had earlier competed in individual sprint distance championship races, with Sissons finishing third, Hewitt sixth and Lynch 43rd.
Dodds was not able to finish his individual race, after a puncture and bike crash, and threw his all into the relay.
The mixed relay order of woman-man-woman-man, each completing a 300m swim, 7km cycle and 1.6km run, has been a world championship event for nine years.
Monday's race was the first event since the announcement the discipline would be included as an official Olympic sport for Tokyo 2020.
It was won by Australia's Charlotte McShane, Matthew Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle and Jacob Birtwhistle, with a fierce come from behind finish. The USA scored silver and The Netherlands got the bronze.
It was anyone's title for much of the race, with USA finally ahead of the bunch going into the final tag off, and Canada appearing to have the silver in the bag.
But hard pushes from the Aussies, Brits, and Dutch brought five nations together to compete for three medals, with Birtwhistle gunning his rivals down in the final metres.
The International Olympic Committee has also announced mixed relays in athletics and swimming and 3-on-3 basketball, among new events approved for Tokyo 2020.
IOC President Thomas Bach said the new disciplines would make the games "more youthful, more urban and will include more women".