Triathlon:Duo’s world mission

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Both are members of the Jersey Triathlon Club and both were Island Games competitors, with Clements winning individual bronze and team gold in Guernsey in the summer.Roberts qualified for her age-group in a competition in Pembrokeshire in September and Clements in Shropshire in June, in his first competition for two years.Although the World Championships are not until December, Roberts headed to New Zealand in mid-October to spend the month in training with the New Zealand squad under their coach Graham Park, who has been to Jersey twice to help train and prepare the Island squad.’I’ll be racing in Noosa, Australia, first, then I’ll meet up with Graham and return to New Plymouth in South Island with him,’ Roberts said before she left.’It wll be their springtime when I get to NZ and the age-group races are on 6 December.

The élite athletes compete the day after, so it will mean we can watch their race which will be really interesting.’Following the Jersey triathlon in mid-September, Roberts allowed herself a break from training before picking up again at the start of October, and said it was going well and she was increasing the pace and intensity.’It will be nice to get out to New Zealand, to see the roads and acclimatise.’ She added: ‘If Melissa (Messervy) was competing she would be the one to watch, but I don’t know many other triathletes who are likely to be competing in my age-group.”I’m getting quite excited about it, but I’m quite nervous too – I’ve never done anything quite on this scale before.

I’m trying to look on it as a two-month holiday so I can just enjoy the experience, however well I do.

It was just too good an opportunity to miss.’Clements, who was appointed two weeks ago as age group captain for the GB team and travels to the southern hemisphere today, concurred.’I am looking forward to getting out there and getting started,’ he said.He is enjoying his return to competitive triathlon – after an extended break, following the controversial decision not to select him for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in 2002 – and so he should be, with his first race back after two years the one in which he qualified for the World Championships (he was third in his age-group); since then he has qualified for the 2004 World Championships; finished second in the Jersey triathlon and won those Island Games medals.’I’m glad to be back – it relieves all the mental stresses!’ he said.Among those nations competing in Queenstown will be most of the European nations, including France, Italy, Denmark, Germany and Spain, plus teams from the US and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Japan.’The swim is in a glacier lake where the average temperature is around 13 degrees, so I’ve been trying to swim in the sea at least once a week as the temperatures here have dropped – to acclimatise – but I think it is going to feel very cold, even wearing a wetsuit.

The latitude of Queenstown, which is in the middle of South Island, is about the equivalent of the northern tip of Scotland – so imagine the temperature of a loch in a Scottish June!’Clements, too, will be training in the run-up to the event with Park.’I had a bit of a hiccup the week before last with my training, because I had a flu bug and was off for three days.

Despite the training build-up since summer it took me double that time to get back to the level I was at before I was ill.

If I hadn’t been pretty fit it would have taken longer.’His régime at present includes a steady-paced run for an hour or so at the weekend plus two speed sessions midweek; a two to three-hour bike ride on Saturdays plus two sessions of interval bike work on a cycle-machine, plus four early morning swims each week under the guidance of AIB Tigers coaches Paul du Feu and Matt Magee.

He is also most appreciative of the assistance he has received from athletics development officer Andrew Winnie.On top of the triathlon he has been selected to represent Great Britain in the world Aquathon event – a 1,000 metre swim (in that glacier lake again) and a 5 km run.’It’ll be a nice warm-up for the triathlon,’ he joked.A third triathlete from Jersey, Melissa Messervy, who won Island Games gold medals (individual and team) in the Isle of Man and Guernsey and was first woman in the Jersey triathlon, also qualified for the World Championships but will not be taking part this year.’I’m sorry I’m not going.

The decision not to compete is for several reasons, not least among them because I was struggling to find enough sponsorship,’ she said.She added that she also had problems getting that much time off work, as did her husband who she very much wanted to accompany her.’It’s a long way to go on your own, and it seemed a bit silly.

He is a New Zealander and it would have been me visiting his family and not him! It was a really difficult decision to make but we talked about it and, to be honest, we decided that this was not the best thing to do at this time.

But I’m still hoping to raise enough sponsorship to compete in the Iron Man in Hawaii next October, and I’m still in training although I’m able to cut back a bit now because there are no major events coming up in the near future.

‘I’d also like to try to qualify for the European and the World championships next year.

But for now I’m looking forward to spending a bit more time with my husband!’Clements is sponsored by Sarre and Co and supported by ESC.

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