Guernsey Press

Triathlon qualifying criteria might have to change

ALTERING the qualifying process for the Guernsey 2021 NatWest Island Games triathlon is a distinct possibility – but it is far too early yet to make a definite decision.

Individual silver medallist Megan Chapple also helped Guernsey to team gold in the Gibraltar 2019 NatWest International Island Games triathlon last year. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 27781308)

That is Guernsey Triathlon Club president Mark Naftel’s opinion when faced with a fast-moving situation where the British Triathlon Federation have now suspended all activity until 30 June.

The current Island Games qualifying process entails two races, starting with the Jersey Triathlon in July before Guernsey’s important Rocquaine race in August, and still seems viable on the face of it.

But such is the fluidity of the Covid-19 situation that Naftel could see things going either way.

‘We are hoping that given the lockdown on the general population, we might be able to start competition earlier than 30 June,’ said Naftel optimistically.

Yet he added not long afterwards: ‘Given the way that things have changed for us and the whole world in the last few weeks, we could be in a position where we do not have qualifying races this year.

‘Is [Guernsey] 2021 going to happen? The whole world is in uncharted territory.’

Given the nearly unprecedented postponement of the Olympic Games, currently to early or mid 2021, Naftel is also wary of a potential knock-on effect this may have on Guernsey’s grand event.

Another consideration is that triathletes will not be at optimal race fitness this summer even if all goes to plan.

So Naftel feels that there may be a need to adjust the criteria, which currently include meeting certain time standards over recognised distances as a key part of the equation.

‘Our criteria was set four years ago and because it worked well, we’ve not had to change it.

‘We are encouraging people to stay fit but we are also encouraging people to stay healthy, and those two things are not the same.

‘The way things are changing, we are a while away from making any decisions. The option could be that we change our qualifying criteria.’