D Days
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until the 2018 Commonwealth Games commence.
Longines Time
April 4 to 15 2018

Jake Birtwhistle claims Australia's first medal

Triathlon
5 Apr 2018 by Hope Kerslake

Jake Birtwhistle won Australia's first medal of the Games, claiming silver in the men's triathlon on the first day of competition.

South Africa's Henri Schoeman claimed gold, however Birtwhistle's gallant run leg helped him break away from the chasing pack to finish second, just seven seconds after Schoeman's time of 52:31.

"I am super happy to be in second place. It would have been nice to to go one better, but I just couldn't run it down," Birtwhistle said after his race. 

"I left it all to the run, and I put everything into that. It's amazing to be competing with such talented guys and I am so stoked with a silver medal.

"This is the start of something special for us Aussie boys. We are young for the sport and I can't wait to see what we can achieve.

It was so good to be running on my home track, I loved every minute of it. It's so great to see so many Aussie supporters, even in this bad weather. The crowd really brought me home in that last lap."

Birtwhistle could have easily been in contention for two other sports at GC2018, had he not made the decision to go with Triathlon.

Juggling both athletics and triathlon as a a junior, the Australian No.1 ranked triathlete excelled in both.

He was an Australian junior champion in athletics 11 times.

The Commonwealth Games debutant also had a few discussions with Cycling Australia about a possible career path.  

However athletics and cycling both missed out, with the the 23-year-old deciding to dedicate his time to the three-disciplined sport just six years ago.

“Yeah, I guess it was [a difficult decision to make],” Birtwhistle told GC2018.com.

“It went on for a few years, people saying, ‘you need to make the switch soon’, ‘what are you going to choose?’ and at the time I thought, I’m still pretty young, just let me keep doing what I want for the moment.

“There was never really a conscious moment where I thought ‘now I’m going to do triathlon’. 

“It was very much a natural progression where I started to focus more on triathlon. If there was ever a clash of an athletics and a triathlon event, I’d pick to go to the triathlon."

Birtwhistle's results at GC2018 indicate he made the right decision.

Last year’s highlights from the ITU World Triathlon Series included second-place finishes in Hamburg and Edmonton and a World Teams title claim.

The silver medal win in the Canadian City could’ve easily been a gold with Birtwhistle miscounting his run laps, bolting for the finish line, whereupon he realised his mistake, returned to the course but fell behind Spain’s Mario Mola by 10 seconds. 

Finishing his 2017 season winning the Noosa Triathlon Championship and with a world ranking of 12, Birtwhistle felt that he could've done better.

“Looking at it, I wouldn’t say I’m overly happy with the overall ranking, but the season as a whole I think was quite good,” he said.

Birtwhistle also competed in mixed team relay on Saturday 7 April, claiming Australia's first gold in the event alongside world relay teammates, GC2018 Triathlon Ambassador Ashleigh Gentle, and Matt Hauser, and women's ninth place triathlete Gillian Backhouse.

There are still a a number of inspiring sporting moments to come and you can see them live by snapping up your tickets today.