Guernsey Press

Solo qualifier replaces Jersey Tri

THE Island Games qualifying race will still commence in July despite the cancellation of the pivotal Jersey Triathlon.

Guernsey's Josh Lewis won gold in the Gibraltar 2019 Island Games triathlon. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28293169)

Guernsey Triathlon Club president Mark Naftel and his committee have brainstormed a time trial-based qualifier after Jersey organisers decided to convert the mass-participation race, set for 19 July, into a virtual-only event.

The two-stage Games process initially consisted of the Jersey Tri and then, several weeks later, an event staged at Rocquaine to replicate the demands of the proposed Games route and decide a local pecking order.

But Naftel says that they now intend to test athletes with a solo 1,500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run to replace the Jersey event.

‘It will be for all athletes, whether they are locally based or in the UK, and we will try to make the playing field as level as we can,’ said Naftel while noting that this format will allow athletes such as reigning Games champion Josh Lewis to compete.

‘We do not know whether we will expect them to do that all in one day or give them the whole month [of July] to do their best performance in all three disciplines.

‘We are taking away the element of triathlon competition, but we will see raw performance from all of them.

‘It will be different but I think the end result will be that the same people end up being selected as would be normally.’

Naftel feels that a return to local triathlon competition – even if using starting waves or a time-trial format – is entirely feasible by July given the guidance set out in the States’ exit from lockdown plan.

This means that he is still somewhat optimistic of hosting the local qualifier set for 2 August.

If travel restrictions prevent the likes of Lewis from attending, as is the most likely scenario given current States guidance, they will still be able to qualify via the ‘exceptional circumstances’ rule and form shown in the time-trial.