Teenage triathlete Ashlee Bailie has brightened up an otherwise cold and miserable day in Beijing today with a stunning silver medal in the Dextro Energy ITU Junior Women’s World Triathlon Championship race.
The 19-year-old Wollongong-based Western Australian pushed eventual winner Mikayla Neilsen from New Zealand all the way to the finish to record her best ever international result with Germany’s Hanna Philippin taking bronze.
Bailee relocated to Wollongong to link up with respected NSW coach Jamie Turner 18-months ago and the move has certainly paid handsome dividends.
“I had no expectations coming into this race whatsoever,” said a beaming Bailie, who’s mother Kerry was her lone voice of family support on a dismal day in the 2008 Olympic city.
“I just wanted to have a good swim, a solid bike and finish it off with a good run and for me it worked out perfectly.
“The weather wasn’t a concern at all. It is the same for everyone and you have to expect anything in our sport – it’s what it’s all about.
“It was so special to perform here in Beijing, which has so much history for Triathlon Australia (after the gold and silver medals won by Emma Snowsill and Emma Moffatt at the 2008 Olympic Games here).
“No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t catch Mikayla towards the finish but for me winning the silver was as good as winning the gold.
“I was just so happy to have my mum Kerry here who has been such a great supporter and who has travelled around Europe watching me compete and having a holiday at the same time.
“It’s a nice way to re-pay her for all her support today, I know she’ll be so happy.”
Bailee will now head to the USA and on to Mexico for her ITU World Cup debut and the start of what she is hoping will be a promising Under 23 career.