Ryan Bailie dug as deep as he’s ever dug in his life to anchor Australia to a determined bronze medal in yesterday’s frenetic triathlon Mixed Teams Relay debut at Glasgow’s Strathclyde Park.
While England’s Brownlee brothers led “dream team” always had the gold medal all wrapped up, the race was left wide open after the first three legs for silver and bronze with New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Australia all in the mix.
In the first ever Games appearance of the 20-20 version of triathlon “each of the four members of the teams had to complete a “mini triathlon” of a 250m swim, six km bike and 1.6km run.
Australia started with Emma Moffatt, followed by Aaron Royle and Emma Jackson and they were forced to play catch up for the entire raced with English foursome Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee, Vicky Holland and Jodie Stimpson (the British world championship winning team) set the field a merry chase.
And in a thrilling finish it was left up to Bailie, the 24-year-old South African born-Wollongong0based Western Australian Bailie, appearing in his first ever Relay event.
Bailie, who trains in Vitoria, Spain with the Wollongong Wizards in the Australian winter, held his nerve to keep Ryan Sissons (NZL) at bay as he and Canadian Andrew Yorke staged what was a thrilling head-to-head tussle for bronze.
But Bailie’s final kick to break away from Yorke, could quite easily have ended with silver as the tiring Richard Murray from South Africa, one of the noted runners on the IUT WTS circuit, only just held on for the silver in the closest of finishes.
“I just kept telling myself over and over…no one remembers who finishes fourth…no one remembers who finishes fourth…I just wanted to get the team on the podium and I backed myself to win a sprint finish,” said Bailie, who was fifth in the individual Standard distance event on Day One of the Games, which saw Murray win bronze and Yorke finish fourth.
“And all of a sudden I could see Murray in front of me and silver was right there but just a little too late.
“But I loved the event and I thrived on the pressure “it was great to do it for my team mates and for Australia.
“It’s nice to come away from these Games with a bronze medal.”
Moffatt started out for Australia and tagged Royle in seventh place and it was the highest ranked Australian male and former Under 23 World Champion who pulled out the fastest split of the day “clocking 17 minutes 24 seconds “quicker than both Brownlee boys “to put the Australians back in the hunt.
Royle gave Jackson a chance and she clocked 19:17 to tag Bailie in third and it was game on for a thrilling finish to decide the medals and it was Bailie’s grit determination that got the green and gold onto the podium.
ENGLAND (Vicky Holland, Jonathan Brownlee, Jodie Stimpson Alistair Brownlee) 1.13.24. SOUTH AFRICA (Kate Roberts, Henri Schoeman, Gillian Sanders, Richard Murray) 1:14.13 AUSTRALIA (Emma Moffatt, Aaron Royle, Emma Jackson, Ryan Bailie) 1:14.14.