Beccles athlete, 71, wins aquathlon in Ibiza
- Credit: Archant
A 71-year-old athlete has claimed aquathlon glory at the European Championships in Ibiza.
Beccles Triathlon Club member Brian Tate won the aquathlon over 70 races at the European Championships in Ibiza.
Representing Great Britain, the 71-year-old, blitzed the field in the 1km swim, 5K run, and was also faster than any athlete in the 65-69 category. He was also the fastest competitor from Britain over 60.
The Spanish organisers had taken the unusual decision to start the swim one kilometre offshore, with competitors ferried out to the start on a large boat.
From here they had to jump into the sea and tread water between two buoys ready for the starter's horn.
The water temperature was 23 degrees so wetsuits were not allowed, whilst on the day the water was quite choppy making the 'siting' of the first 500m marker buoy very difficult.
Tate was in the first wave of swimmers, who were all 60 years of age and above, and amongst the competitors were a range of European nationalities, some from as far afield as Russia.
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From the start Tate had a strong swim and, apart from swimming slightly wide, he exited the water not too far from the lead swimmers and well placed in the second group.
Once into his running shoes Tate quickly caught and passed his main category rivals and steadily built up a lead of nearly three minutes, comfortably winning the gold medal and becoming a European champion.
Tate took first place in 42:17 (18:35 swim/22:58 run) ahead of British team-mates Michael Smallwood in 45:08 (18:24 swim/26:04 run) and Alexander Heron in 46:45 (21:35 swim/24:22 run).
This win has qualified Tate for the World Aquathlon Championships 2019 to be held next May in the Spanish town of Pontevedra.
This follows up his World Sprint Triathlon title in 2017 reinforcing his standing as one of the top older triathletes in the country.
The elite men's race was won by Ukraine athlete Sergij Kurochkin in 27:43 (10:45 swim/16:31 run). Czech ace Tomas Svoboda was second in 27:59 (10:49 swim/16:51 run) with Samuel Dickinson (GB) third in 28:22 (10:42 swim/17:19 run).