Kazan - the Age Group Story

By Paul Groves | 10 Aug, 2019

The best experience of my life so far, truly amazing. - Emily Austin, GBR
“Прекрасный город Казань! - Lyudmila Voronova, RUS

A truly inspiring weekend of racing took place last weekend in Kazan. With the Elite stealing the show on Saturday, it was the Age-Group athletes who kicked the whole show off on the Friday with the Parade of Nations and then who provided the finale on Sunday with the race in the morning and the Awards Ceremony just after lunch. The video that was shown throughout the weekend was a great hit. Click here, turn up the sound and enjoy once more.

Ironstar, the event organisers, have seen massive increases in start numbers since their first venture into the international calendar in 2015. Back then, in Sochi, they delivered an impressive ETU Cup Final for the elite athletes alongside their open event. About 150 athletes had signed up for the open event then but nowadays their races attract triple figures. Check them out here.

The ETU Championships were boosted this weekend with a variety of other events, using the same infrastructure; opening the sport to young, old, teams and long-distance fans.

We were delighted to meet up with one of the Japanese athletes who had raced the World Winter Triathlon Championships in Asiago, who had booked his visa and, by plane and train, had made his way over to Kazan to race the Ironstar 113 event. Takahiro Mishina wasted no time and soon found his first photo opportunity.

The journey to Kazan for many began with their qualification events and then, once they had the confirmation that they were going to be part of the team, the decision had to be made. For some, Russia was a step outside their comfort zone and for others, it was a chance to go somewhere for a real adventure.

Some of us can remember the days when your passport was stamped on every entry and exit from a country. A true sense of travel, bags of loose change that you inevitably needed for the loo and, as you travelled, completely different language, food, clothes and experiences. These days, unless you leave the homogenised comfort zone that Western Europe has become, the true sense of travel is denied but this trip, for so many athletes, their families, friends and supporters, the memories will last long.

From the moment that the visa application was submitted (including giving your fingerprints) you knew that this would be a bit different. On arrival in Moscow, the port of entry for most, everything was new for those who had never had the privilege of visiting the country before. For some, it was a chance to renew their acquaintance with Russia.

One of them, John Allen had a great tale to tell, as he was part of the support team that went to the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Having the chance to compare the “then and now”, he was of course interviewed by the TV Media Team there.

As athletes from all over Europe settled into their hotels, venturing out to explore the city and of course to walk up to the magnificent Kremlin that watched the triathlon venue from above, it was a chance to renew acquaintances, make new friends and for some, to try a few words of Russian that they had learnt ahead of the trip.

The Triathlon Village was being built when we arrived and it was immediately very clear that the Age-Group transition area would be top-quality. Wide corridors, already carpeted, with more than enough space and with a backdrop that was second to none was awaiting them.

The Parade of Nations, led by Team GB as they had hosted Glasgow, led the athletes to a square on the riverfront that had, as a centre-piece the stage that would host the Awards Ceremony. Team Russia, as hosts, came in last to the cheers of their supporters. For some, this was the very first time that they had worn the national uniform for their country and they were welcomed into the European Triathlon family.

Dancers from Tatarstan set the ceremony off and of course, there were the usual speeches but what impressed so much was the warm welcome from the Russian Triathlon Federation, delivered in Russian and English and then the welcome from Vladimir Leonov Aleksandrovich, the Minister of Sport for Kazan.

His speech sounded impressive in Russian but when, almost as if a switch had been flipped, he went into perfect English, it was gold stars all the way. Kazan is rightly named, the Sports Capital of Russia and the Minister is no stranger to Olympic Sports but this was his first opportunity to see a triathlon championship and he spent almost the whole weekend either on site or watching the race on TV.

The TV company that provided such impressive coverage for the Elite stayed on to broadcast the Age Group races too. With an 08:00hrs start and with each wave chasing the one in front, it was indeed a truly exciting spectacle.

As for Weert, the ETU Technical and Media teams ensured that the heartbeats sounded loud as well as the booming music that follows the start signal. And why not! Age Group racing is the solid foundation of our sport. Never a side-show, always spectacular.

The weather had changed from the scorching heat of the Saturday and some early rain cooled things down. The roads stayed good and the rain passed by quickly.

The atmosphere in the holding pens was great; laughter, posing for photos and general chatter but the focus on what was about to happen grew the closer the athletes got to the blue-carpeted pontoon.

Under starter’s orders; the heartbeats, silence and then the start signal.

Water being thrashed as the best position was fought for and soon enough, the athletes were into their rhythm for the 750m swim.

The fastest times were recorded by Malta for the women, with Hannah Cutajar taking the overall win and to the delight of the home crowds, it was Evgenii Khabarov RUS, who posted the fastest time, stopping the clock at 1:00:20

We’ll start at the youngest Age-Group, the 16-19 yr-olds. What an adventure! Gold here went to Great Britain’s Emma Austin in her first outing wearing the GB uniform.

She was naturally very happy with the result, “Under 20s EUROPEAN CHAMPION!!! Gold medallist? What an experience of a life time…. from only starting triathlon 2 years ago and being a complete novice, I didn’t expect to be European Champion 2 years later? The best experience of my life so far, truly amazing.” A good swim (working as a lifeguard must have its training opportunities) and a superfast T1 saw her head out onto the bike with a clear advantage. She put more distance between her and any threat by posting the fastest bike split too. Not hanging around in T2, her running was enough to hold on to the lead and her finish time of 1:13:28 ahead of Elizaveta Arsenteva and Elizaveta Ionova who started the medal haul for the host nation. Emma’s next trip out in GB kit will be Lausanne.

For the men, it was also a British victory, with Russia filling silver and bronze positions. Zachary Taylor was the youngest on the start line but undaunted, the Wolverhampton Grammar School pupil and member of one of Britain’s oldest clubs, Black Country Triathletes, was sent off from his home town with the support of the local press.

The Express and Star can now add a fine follow-up photo, with him wearing the gold medal. Silver went to Grigoriy Baranov and bronze to Maksim Zuev and the medal count went up for Team Russia.

In the 20-24 Age Group we got to see the two athletes who were first to appear at the main hotel. Izzy Rayner and David Pearson.

For Rayner, it seemed that each race she entered, her finish position improved. This would be a big test for her indeed. With three podium appearances behind her though, it was Holly Dixon GBR who came to Tatarstan as the most likely to get to the podium. She lad the swim and then sped through T1 to take to the roads that took the athletes over the Kazanka river in a loop to bring them back to the riverfront. Behind her, Lemi Wutz AUT, the Kärnten athlete with a background in Cross-Country running, was chasing hard on the bike but the power of Dixon was too much. With silver medal position safe, Lutz still posted the fastest run time with a delighted Rayner hearing on the finish line that she had indeed made the podium. “Bronze medal ? at the ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championship for AG 20-24! First time on the podium! Thanks for all those who have supported me: Evo tri Club, University of Glasgow Sport, WESH Athletics Club, Bio Synergy, KYMIRAsport, parents, Hannah Gregory, Sabrina Gregory, Izzy Mackin (who came all the way to Russia with me!) and friends who train with me and those who comment and like every post!”

The men’s race was also won by a Brit, with David Pearson claiming the title. This year has been a successful one for him, with the Sprint Duathlon title and now this Sprint Triathlon title in his name. After a shocking crash in Düsseldorf, ask him nicely and he will show you the scars, he was runner-up in Glasgow but here in Kazan it was his race. A strong swim from Antoine Waltzing BEL, who moved up to this Age-Group this year, led them out onto the bike course. Pearson was playing catch-up, with Russia’s Evgeniy Ostrovskiy, a former National Team member ahead. A good attack on the bike and it was game on. Pearson caught up and then used his pace on the run to break away from any threats. It was a great victory for Pearson, whose race stats read, 5 starts, 4 podiums, 3 wins. Not bad, eh!

The first two Age-Groups saw Team GB collect the gold for both men and for women but that was all going to change for the 25-29 categories, with victories going to Malta and to Hungary.

The title for the women went to Hannah Cutajar MLT. Running under her maiden name, Pace, we have seen her race the Standard and Sprint Championships in the past in the Maltese uniform. A win over the longer distance in 2013 in Alanya gave her the taste of gold, in Geneva, at the Sprint, she won bronze. In Lisbon, it was a silver, Düsseldorf was bronze again but this was her first gold at this distance and her first overall win.

Leading them in the swim, she worked with GB’s Hayley Rigby to create space. Out onto the bike and it was Rigby and Cutajar upping the pace. Rigby was superior on two wheels but once out onto the pan-flat 5k course, an out-and-back one, it was the Maltese uniform that moved into the lead. Behind them, Russia’s Anastasia Vasileva had begun to use her strength on two wheels too and was moving up the field. Not able to catch the British and Maltese athletes, she settled into her pace to round off the podium.

The Maltese Triathlon Federation were delighted with the news that made its way back at record speed and soon enough the island’s press were reporting on the victory. “To actually come across the line as the fastest female on the day was something I had never thought I could achieve. It goes to show what you can do when you have the right people supporting you as well as an extremely dedicated coach.” Prosit !!

For Vasileva, “Итоги IRONSTAR KAZAN, В рамках соревнований проходил чемпионат Европы по спринту среди AGE GROUP. Честно, не знала чего ожидать от себя и от соперниц. Мою подготовку сложно было назвать подготовкой, а количество иностранных соперниц зашкаливало и держало в тонусе! Однако, каким то образом, я выскребла себе бронзовую медаль в категории 25 - 29 лет. Сказать, что я довольна - это ничего не сказать.  Позже напишу отчет об этапах и организации, а пока бокал пшеничного и болеть за половинчиков.  Спасибо моему тренеру @denistriathlon за мотивацию и подготовку, я честно, старалась иногда выполнять на 100%, но только иногда).  Cпасибо @e_danilovaa за стартовый костюм)) В последний момент выручила?  И, конечно, спасибо родным и друзьям за поддержку - это многое дает!
P.s. Казань - чудесный город, встретил нас невероятно и дополнил и без того приятное впечатление о соревнованиях. А еще - наш уютный отель в центре города @hotelart добавил приятных эмоций.
Всем спасибо, я отдыхать!

Results of IRONSTAR KAZAN, The European Championships, Age Group races were held. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, either from myself or from the other competitors. My training and preparation did not go so well and the standard of the other competitors was very high. Somehow, I scraped a bronze medal in the category of 25 - 29 years. To say that I am pleased is an understatement.  Thanks to my trainer @denistriathlon for motivation and preparation, I honestly tried to do 100% sometimes, but only sometimes). Thank you @e_danilovaa for lending me your race uniform. And, of course, thanks to family and friends for the support - it gives a lot!
Kazan is a wonderful city, met us incredibly and added to the already pleasant impression of the competition. And yet - our cozy hotel in the city centre @hotelart added pleasant emotions.
Thank you all, I rest!”

Amongst the men, it was gold to Hungary, with András Czigány claiming the title. He led the swim with a comfortable advantage of almost a minute over any challenger in the group. No hanging around in T1 and off to the bike course. It was here that Mateusz Kołodziej GBR began his attack and a small pack formed to eat up the kilometres. Coming into T2,  Czigány was still holding the lead and was in fact the first male athlete to cross the finish line.  Kołodziej’s run was impressive but came too late to nudge the Hungarian from the top of the podium and he goes home with silver. 34 seconds adrift came Joris Aerden BEL for bronze.

In the women’s 30-34 Category, it was once again a chance for Team GB to collect gold. Anna Larkins and Ty Preston came here with experience from Weert, Ibiza, Glasgow and Tartu and Larkins pulled out the only sub-13 minute swim of the wave. Leading by a significant margin, Larkins was truly in command and crossed the finish line almost three minutes ahead of her rivals to notch up the fifth fastest time for all the women. Preston had an uncharacteristically slow swim by her standards (check out her time for Weert) but was powerful on the bike, having time for Russian language lessons out on the 20k course. Silver to her. A storming run from Mariya Shinkevich brought her right up through the ranks to win bronze.

For Preston, “A tough swim start for me, but made up time working hard on the bike with another Russian athlete, both in high spirits and sharing words of encouragement throughout. With my mind set stuck on ‘be strong and stay focused’ throughout the run. I followed the cadence of my fellow male athletes to keep my position. Hearing some positive words from team manager Jon making me aware of my overall position. Kept me fighting for a silver medal podium position.
Over the moon to have achieved one of my BIG 2019 goals! - To stand on an ETU/ITU podium ✔️ 2nd female in age group and 9th female overall in an amazing field of European athletes - CELEBRATION TIME

The Men’s race saw the fastest time of the day, with Evgenii Khabarov RUS out-swimming and out-biking everyone. His main challenge came from teammate Evgeniy Rulevskiy whose superior run speed threatened the leader but Khabarov had done enough to secure the gold and overall win. Silver did not go to Rulevskiy but instead to Andrey Pokrovskiy who simply could not catch the leader. Khabarov went later to Tallinn, where he posted a 9:21 finish time for the full distance event there.

Moving up to the 35-39 Age-Group and it was GB’s Angela Wray who had the race of  a lifetime to take the title. Glasgow was a long and distant memory, as she battled with UK-based Czech athlete, Martina Tredgett. It was Tredgett who had the stronger swim but the advantage she had built in the swim was lost in T1 and Wray soon applied the power on the bike course. The run decided it all, with Russia’s Elena Novoselova showing greater pace over the 5k to claim silver.

Wray was unaware of the result until, sometime after she had finished, the live-tracking was checked and the provisional finish times and positions could be seen. The moment she got the news was captured by Jon Cowell, GBR Team Manager.

For Wray, “I can’t quite believe it…but I got the GOLD!!! To get what I’ve always dreamt of but never imagined possible in reality is utterly mind blowing! Biggest day of my life so far. (…) THANK YOU to my wonderful family and friends - you were so kind not only in support through the constant training (&going on about it?) and weird food/no booze lifestyle - but without all the financial help and kind words you all put in - I quite literally could not have done this without you all. Very lucky for my sponsorship from @laingorourke @dbscaffolding - I was very proud to have them on my kit. (…) It took years of qualifying, 7months of race training, a brutal winter season, 96 swim sessions, 96 bike, 37 runs with shin splints, no drink no sugar (no doughnuts or pizza or chocolate) serious back &leg injuries… and learning the hard way what discipline dedication and determination really mean. An absolutely life changing experience that has filtered from sport into life as a whole.”

Martina Tredgett was similarly delighted, “What an experience at the Tri Sprint European Championships 2019…With up & downs during the past weeks of training, I didn’t expect more than having a good race and enjoying it. I’m well chuffed to say I have exceeded my expectations and came 3rd in AG. Two Czechs competed in the race and both are taking home a bronze medal. Many thanks to Jon Cowell & John Tredgett for their overall support.”

For the men, it was another clean sweep for the host nation, in fact Russia filled the top five positions. It was a gold medal for Anton Chuchko. The former elite athlete has been on the ETU and ITU racing circuit since his debut as a junior in Velden in 1998 at the ETU European Championships. Back then, a certain Tim Don came second. Wind the clock forwards, Chuchko had some top ten finishes, an Asian Cup win in 2009 and some disappointing results in 2012 and 2013. Time off to reflect and his return to the sport with the family delivers him a well-earned gold. Silver went to Ilya Slepov who is also a medal winner in Winter Triathlon, with his bronze in Tartu back in 2013. Sergey Kruglov claimed the bronze and a medal for Kazan, his home town.

Chuchko’s advice was simple, “Короче, если вы еще не занимаетесь триатлоном, то срочно начните, а если закончили... то немного отдохните и начните снова? Всем Спорт! To make it simple, if you are not involved in the triathlon, then I urge you to get involved and if you are done ... then take a little rest and start again? Sport!, Everyone join in!”

The Brits were back on top for the 40-44 category, with Jane Eaton enjoying her first podium. She dominated the race, with the fastest splits for all three segments, taking the title comfortably ahead of the Russian duo, Irina Matveeva and Natalya Studenikina.

There was a tremendous battle at the front in the men’s race, with Russian, Mikhail Kuzmin swimming stroke for stroke with GB’s Andrew Martin. They exited the water together and ran through to T1, got their helmets on, grabbed their bikes and were out onto the bike course together. Kuzmin got the better of the Welshman, Martin over the 20k by just one second but Martin’s second transition was faultless and he escaped out onto the run course ahead of the Russian. 5K is long enough but with your home crowds cheering you on, the Russian managed to find an extra gear and the battle was won on the run. Gold to Russia but behind Martin came fellow Brit, Matthew Finch who seriously upgraded his 23rd position in Glasgow to a podium place. Birchington-based Finch runs a gym and has certainly made improvements over the years.

Germany sent a small team (only 15 athletes) to Kazan but they were to be the most successful team, pro-rata, of the Championships.

Unser Bild zeigt den europäischen M80-Vizemeister Manfred Klittich (3. v.l.) und Bronze-Gewinnerin Kristina Hänel (5 .v.l.). Foto DTU / Lothar Lakies.

The first of their golds came with Kai Sachtleber’s victory in the 45-49 Age Group. A veteran of international racing in Europe, she first appeared on the podium back in 2007, with a bronze at the ETU Long Distance Championships in Brasschaat. Since then, 15 podiums and Kazan would be her third outright win. Leading comfortably in the swim, her biking kept her ahead and then it was a relatively easy run to the finish line. Having won bronze in Transylvania only two weeks before this race and then at the middle distance well, it makes this performance even more impressive. All this with a hefty cold too!

Racing with her teammate, Olaf Geserick , they were full of praise for the course, „Alle Straßen waren in einwandfreiem Zustand, meist neu asphaltiert und schlaglochfrei. All roads were closed to traffic, mostly with fresh asphalt and pot-hole free.” As Sachtleber was out on the bike course, she was overtaken just before the half-way point by Geserick who had Michael Bock with him. They were in the next Age-Group and had started a wave behind her. Sachtleber knew that she was leading and now knew that Geserick was leading with Bock. Good news for the Deutsche Mannschaft.

Silver medal went to Catherine Cooke and GB rounded off the podium with Hilarie Maisie Johnston.

Johnston was delighted with her medal and her “trip of a lifetime”. Full of excitement, “I can hardly believe it…bronze medal? Amazing race, wonderful experience! Swim was fantastic, got into a great group on the bike, two Brits and two Russians, then pretty decent run. Super excited to get on the podium, unbelievable experience. Loved every minute! Big thank you to the lovely Hosts at Kazan, beautiful place.”

The men’s race was pretty much dominated by Mark Yeoman GBR. His swim strength took him out of the water over 45 seconds ahead of any challengers. He kept up the pressure on the bike course, posting the fastest split there too and by the time he was in T2, he had only the 5k to hold together to claim the title. The out and back run course was dead flat and on the way back he could see the main threat was coming  from James Cox who was cutting through the pack with incredible speed. Cox simply did not have enough run course to claim the win, which went easily to Yeoman but Team GB certainly benefited from Cox’s 17:56 split on the run, to deliver gold and silver to the visiting team. Russia’s Sergey Kuznetsov came away with bronze.

Yeoman started out young and his hard work has certainly paid off.

Germany topped the podium for both men and women in the 50-54 category. It was Anke Lakies, the 2011 ETU Sprint Champion from her victory in Pontevedra who has raced consistently over the year but for whom the gold medal has been frustratingly out of reach. Her success has been more visible in duathlon races but in Kazan she clocked the second fastest swim behind a superb performance from experienced open water swimmer, Pauline Foot who exited the water in 13:51. Lakies had work to do in order to cut into that lead of over two minutes and wasted no time in T1. Once onto the bike and it was clear that her riding would tip the balance in her favour. Overtaking Foot at the 15k mark, she was off the bike and into her running  shoes in a flash. A clear run to the finish line gave her gold. Foot, after her swim, lost out to the stronger biking and running of Fay Barrington and so it was Gold for Germany and silver and bronze to Team GB.

Lakies explained, „Das Laufen, eigentlich eine Disziplin, die mir neben dem Radfahren viel Spaß bringt, fiel mir diesmal äußerst schwer. Ich fühlte mich untrainiert. Die fünf Kilometer zogen sich in die Länge wie ein Kaugummi. / The run, usually something that along with the bike I really enjoy, was really difficult this time around. I felt a lack of training. The 5k stretched out like a piece of chewing gum.” Coming here to race after a pretty awful crash in Transylvania, where she injured her shoulder and hip, it was really a question of getting back on and putting the crash behind her. She did just that, with style!

We read above about Olaf Geserick and Michael Bock and how they worked together out of the swim and on the bike. The pair looked strong for a gold and silver pairing but a superior run from Fabrice Boisson FRA split the German podium. Boisson, defending champion had lost out on the swim and, missing the advantage of the leading group, had lost too much time to make a difference.

As for Sachtleber, Geserick came to Kazan with the Middle Distance event of Transylvania still in his legs. Winning that event and the Aquathlon Championships, this is his third gold in three races. Nice statistics indeed.

In the 55-59 Age Group, it was a chance once more to see the amazing Sabine Greipel AUT collect yet another title. ETU media has been there to see her collect both World and European Winter Triathlon titles this year, to win the ETU Cross Triathlon title in Târgu Mureș and now to collect the ETU Sprint title. She led the swim, held it together on the bike and did just enough to be crowned winner; her 8th gold medal.
Silver medal went to GB’s Kerstin Mogull. Runner-up in Glasgow, her biking and running in Kazan was better but time, lost in transition and in the swim just could not be made up. A successful year so far, with World and European silver medals in the Aquabike, her Kazan performance was solid.

Bronze went to Czech Republic’s Dana Hyláková. A great result for the Czech Triathlon Federation.

For the men, it was another gold for Hungary. The Magyar Triatlon Szövetség can reflect on a successful championships with their two medal-winners. András Khaut delivered a strong swim and bike to create the distance needed to run home for the title. Even with Igor Zavyalov’s fast pace, it was gold to Hungary and silver to Russia. Bronze went to Great Britain’s Martin Headman, who missed out on a podium appearance last year in Glasgow, when Fabrice Boisson took the title.

3rd, 2nd, 1st. A nice sequence and that is just what Karen Cole GBR did in the 60-64 Age Group. Before the race and buzzing with excitement, she wrote, “Woohoo, let’s go!” With a bronze in Rotterdam and a silver in Târgu Mureș in the Duathlon, she did just that and a bit more in Kazan to collect her first European title. She had to work after the swim, exiting the water with a deficit of almost 3 minutes on the leader but in T1 she clawed back the majority of that and then, with teammate Helen Evans set about hammering the bike course. The GB pairing did well and established a solid lead over the Russian, Marina Malikova. Cole’s closing run was enough to break away and take the win. Evans just lost out and comes home with silver. It was Germany’s Kristina Hänel, with greater speed over the 5k, who swept past Malikova to claim bronze.

Cole’s excitement, delight and enthusiasm made an infectious mix. Let’s hear from her, “European Sprint Championships, Kazan. Woohoo! Woohoo! Woohoo! I’m at home after THE most amazing time in Russia representing GB in what was a terrific event. After a certain amount of admin (obtaining visas and organising travel to Russia) Team GB arrived and were immediately impressed with Kazan and what the local organising committee (Ironstar) had produced.  Huge well done to everyone who competed - it was a great pleasure to meet up and spend time with so many of you - too numerous to mention you all and in fear of missing someone out.

On a personal level I had the race of my life and bagged top spot and have a shiny gold medal I cannot take my eyes off! Not one to reach dizzy podium heights very often, I am still buzzing and am on top of the world! I might be there a while! Am I going to apologise for my behaviour on the podium? Hell no!”

Oh, and a photo with the two best British Elite athletes.

It was Raffaele Buonocore for Italy who won the men’s title. 4th in Glasgow last year, he has since then won both the Ibiza and Târgu Mureș ETU Aquathlon titles. His swim saw him leave the water a few strides behind Russia’s Leonid Kapin but a swift transition saw him out on the road and away. That was pretty much it. His biking was so strong that he would not be caught and the final run was 5k where he could relax and enjoy the moment.

Behind him GB’s Tony Sawyer looked set for silver but the hugely experienced multi-terrain, multi-weather athlete, Iskandar Shakhov RUS, was running like the wind and in a thrilling sprint finish, with the Brits trying so hard to out-cheer the Russians, it was the fastest run of the day from Shakhov that nudged the Brit into bronze. A mere 4 seconds separated them when the clocked stopped.

In the 65-69 Age Group, it was gold once more to Russia, with Lyudmila Voronova comfortably winning ahead of GB’s Anne Witney and Josephine Parker.

For Людмила Воронова Lyudmila Voronova, “Прекрасный город Казань! The beautiful city of Kazan!” Just have a look at her profile on Facebook and see the pure joy at winning. With a guaranteed place in Nice on 7th September for the half distance, this win will give her all the confidence she needs to race hard.

For the men, a bronze in Glasgow, after a win in Tartu, saw Stephen Williams arrive in Kazan in a determined mood. A disappointing result in Weert, where for some unknown reason his swim and run went to pieces, was reason to pull a good one out of the bag and he did just that. Swam well, biked and ran supremely and took the gold with time to enjoy the glory. Silver went to Russia and to Евгений Марочкин Evgeniy Marochkin and bronze to Bernd Stegmann GER.

We all know that athletes like the moment of stepping up onto the podium but behind our athletes are whole teams of supporters, coaches, sponsors and of course, family members. For son, Oleg, “Евгений Марочкин второе место в возрастной группе 65-69 на ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championship. Папа, мои поздравления! Для меня ты всегда Чемпион!  Евгений Maročkin second place in age group 65-69 at the ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championship. Dad, my congratulations! For me you are always a champion!”

Anne Fish GBR did not have the usual battle with Germany’s Inge Stettner GER. The defending champion in this 70-74 category had a miserable time in Russia. Firstly, she suffered at the hands of pickpockets in the airport and then, her bike did not arrive until 22:30 the night before the race.

ETU Media spoke to her at the start of the race. She had come down to support her team. She was really demoralised and, to be honest, it was quite painful speaking with her. A multiple champion, a regular visitor to the podium, we can only wish her well for her next race and wish that the thieves who targetted a lady born in 1948 are consigned to a particularly nasty corner of Hades.

For Anne Fish, however, she dug deep and delivered a good split on the bike to finish and claim the title. She enjoyed a rather special moment with her husband, Grayhame who won bronze in the same category.

The men’s race was won by Anatoliy Shakhmatov to give the host nation another gold medal. A mighty 17:44 swim took him into the lead and this initial advantage looked under threat from teammate, Anatoliy Afonenko whose biking made the race into a battle between the pair. The final run was where Shakhmatov was able to stamp his authority and so it was gold and silver to the Russians. Bronze went to Grayhame Fish.

The final two categories were all-male and in the 75-70 Age-Group, it was Germany’s Günter Frank, who proved too strong for the two Brits racing against him. Bachir Fakhouri edged past Rod Paton on the bike and was able to hold onto that lead all the way to the line. Fakhouri’s last appearance was in Lisbon, where he finished some way down the list. A silver medal here is a great improvement. For Paton, a 4th in Düsseldorf and another top ten in Glasgow but a podium finish here, to the delight of his wife, Barbara who got VIP treatment at the finish line.

Our last Age Group was for athletes aged between 80-84. Sadly the great Boris Kirilov was unable to make the start and so it was that Vladimir Shitov RUS and Manfred Klittich GER raced for gold and silver. Shitov was faster over all three disciplines but Klittich, with his greater experience of racing (4 starts, 3 podiums, 1 win) was faster in transition on both occasions.

The Russian Triathlon President, Peter Ivanov and Ironstar CEO, Andrey Kavun were present out on the course for the duration of the race. Encouraging all athletes and calling out to those they knew. They joined ETU President Renato Bertrandi in the Finish Area.

Media interest was intense and it was Galina Shipovalova, General Secretary to the Russian Triathlon Federation as well as being a member of the Executive Board of the ETU, who stepped in to provide support at every opportunity.

To celebrate and honour the hard work that had gone into making this such a great event, Andrey Kavun was presented with a commemorative medal before the big finale of the Age Group Medel Ceremony.

The Awards Ceremony had many highlights but for all there, the climax was seeing all the medal winners together on the stage. ETU President Renato Bertrandi had been handing out the medals and congratulating each of the medal-winners. With control of the microphone he invited everyone back to the stage for one final photo. Flags, national uniforms, medals and smiles united the 10 medal-winning nations. Selfies were taken and the moment enjoyed by those on the stage and by those watching.

The final medal table for the Age Group athletes showed Team GB once more at the top.

Nationality   Gold Silver Bronze
GBR 11 11 9
RUS 6 11 8
GER 4 1 2
HUN 2    
AUT 1 1  
ITA 1    
MLT 1    
FRA   1  
BEL     2
CZE     2

The Championships were over for another year. The memories will last a lifetime. What was very clear for all to see in Kazan was the result of the hard work and co-operation between the National Federation and the Ironstar team. With Peter Ivanov, President of the Russian Triathlon Federation ensuring that his team was ready to assist the LOC by checking every detail of the race course and sharing with Ironstar the valuable guidance held within the ITU Event Organisers’ Manual, race day gave him every assurance that the mix of LOC and NF had worked.

Delight on the faces of athletes from near and far. Recognition of a job well done in the faces of Kazan’s Minister of Sport, Vladimir Leonov and ETU’s President, Renato Bertrandi. For all the spectators, this event, with its incredible backdrops, with the hundreds of athletes proudly wearing their race uniforms and carrying their country flags to the Opening Ceremony and to the Awards Ceremony, hit the right buttons. It looked superb. Numerous Age-Group athletes took time to thank the organisers and representatives of the Russian Triathlon Federation. For them all, the race of a lifetime.

The level of European Championship events was moved up a notch or two in Kazan.

ETU would like to wish all those athletes who are set to race in Lausanne later this year a safe journey to Switzerland and great racing. Oh, and if anyone asks you about the best race of the year you have had, tell them, KAZAN!

A big thank you to all those athletes, federations and coaches who posted on Social Media and who have helped to make this article - your photos and comments really share the great atmosphere of the Ironstar ETU Kazan Championships.

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Related Event: 2019 Kazan ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships
26 - Jul, 2019 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Gordon Benson GBR 00:52:03
2. Samuel Dickinson GBR 00:52:04
3. Rostislav Pevtsov AZE 00:52:36
4. Jan Celustka CZE 00:52:54
5. Felix Duchampt ROU 00:52:55
6. Alexandre Nobre POR 00:52:58
7. Igor Polyanskiy RUS 00:53:02
8. Jordi García Gracia ESP 00:53:07
9. Nicola Azzano ITA 00:53:09
10. Constantine Doherty IRL 00:53:12
Results: Elite Women
1. Julie Derron SUI 00:58:49
2. Petra Kurikova CZE 00:59:11
3. Tamara Gomez Garrido ESP 00:59:23
4. Carlotta Missaglia ITA 00:59:30
5. Anastasia Abrosimova RUS 00:59:43
6. Kseniia Levkovska AZE 00:59:53
7. Antoanela Manac ROU 00:59:59
8. Ivana Kuriackova SVK 01:00:00
9. Elena Danilova RUS 01:00:07
10. Yuliya Golofeeva RUS 01:00:19
Results: 16-19 Female AG Sprint
1. Emma Austin GBR 01:13:28
2. Elizaveta Arsenteva RUS 01:17:50
3. Elizaveta Ionova RUS 01:24:42
Results: 16-19 Male AG Sprint
1. Zachary Taylor GBR 01:13:44
2. Grigoriy Baranov RUS 01:14:19
3. Maksim Zuev RUS 01:18:59
4. Vasiliy Zazhigin RUS 01:19:19
5. Nikita Volkov RUS 02:06:35
Results: 20-24 Female AG Sprint
1. Holly Dixon GBR 01:08:30
2. Lemuela Wutz AUT 01:10:05
3. Isabelle Rayner GBR 01:14:06
4. Bethany Joslin GBR 01:14:38
5. Eden Backhouse GBR 01:16:29
6. Anastasiya Orlova RUS 01:17:41
7. Elizaveta Burtseva RUS 01:18:26
8. Cindy Flameyn BEL 01:22:45
9. Sofiya Bashirova RUS 01:27:24
Results: 20-24 Male AG Sprint
1. David Pearson GBR 01:01:12
2. Evgeniy Ostrovskiy RUS 01:01:41
3. Antoine Waltzing BEL 01:02:00
4. Aleksandr Trebunskii KGZ 01:02:36
5. Gregor Weigl AUT 01:03:12
6. Alex Harrison GBR 01:04:24
7. Benjamin Sommerville GBR 01:05:13
8. Ethan Tomkies GBR 01:06:16
9. Alvin Martin GBR 01:08:16
10. David Fryer Winder GBR 01:08:52
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