SINGAPORE — They may have come in only second in Singapore, but Britons Beth Potter and Alex Yee earned themselves the honours of becoming inaugural e-sport triathlon world champions on Saturday (7 May) for their consistently brilliant efforts in the Arena Games Triathlon series.
Racing amid heavy rain at Marina Bay, the duo kept pace amid the unique and frenetic race format to pip their rivals in the overall standings of the three-leg series, which had seen races in Munich and London last month.
Unlike the traditional triathlon race format of outdoor swim, cycle and run, the Arena Games Triathlon format was conceived in 2020 for indoor cycling and running amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After the triathletes' swims at Marina Bay, they did their bike and run legs on smart trainers and self-powered curved treadmills at the Marina Bay promenade. They would do this three times in the eight-person finals.
"The race format was so frenetic, I didn't have much time to react and plan my race strategy," said the 24-year-old Yee, who won an Olympic gold in the mixed triathlon relay at last year's Tokyo Games.
"But when I go back to traditional triathlon after this series, I think I'll be able to react better, so this is a valuable experience for me in my preparations for the next Olympics."
While Yee would relish his overall title, New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde was the star of the men’s final, as he overtook the Briton and Germany's Justus Nieschlag in the third cycling leg to clinch the gold medal in Singapore.
There was drama in the women's final, as Jess Learmonth - Yee's partner in their mixed triathlon relay triumph at the Tokyo Olympics - had to retire while in the lead after suffering a hip injury in the first run leg.
It eventually came down to a duel between Potter and Hungary's Zsanett Bragmayer. In a tight finish, it was Bragmayer who overpowered Potter on the final 1km run to land a gold medal in Singapore. Another Briton, Georgia-Taylor Brown, finished third on the podium.
“I was in a world of pain, but I gave it everything,” said Potter, who suffered cramps after her race.
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