Italian Nicola Strada claimed a career-defining win in London, but it wasn’t quite enough to snatch the Arena Games world title from South Africa’s Henri Schoeman.

Arena Games Triathlon, Grand Final, London, Uk, 2023,
Arena Games Triathlon Grand Final, London, UK on the 8th April 2023, at the London Aquatic Centre : photo @That Cameraman

Rio Olympic bronze medallist Schoeman had his victory in the Switzerland round of this year’s series to thank for giving him the bump in points that ultimately meant Strada’s win left him just short in a fierce evening of competition inside the London Aquatic Centre.

Three hotly-contest rounds of swim, bike run – run, bike, swim – swim, bike run were completed in front of a sellout crowd, many of them keen to see how Ironman world champion Gustav Iden would perform having only made the final by scrambling through the afternoon’s repechage.

While Iden never looked in a position to vye for the win, he showed formidable resilience to come fifth in the stage, with New Zealand’s Kyle Smith in third and Switzerland’s Simon Westermann in fourth.

It meant that Westermann joined Schoeman and Strada on the overall podium and completed a dramatic 2023 series of racing that travelled from Montreal to Sursee to the climax in London.

Here’s how the action unfolded…

Arena Games Triathlon, London, Uk, 2023
Arena Games Triathlon Grand Final 2023, London, UK Mens Podium on the 8th April 2023, at the London Aquatic Centre. Photo Jesper Gronnemark


USA’s Chase McQueen was first out of the water, closely followed by Strada and Schoeman, with Iden bringing up the rear in 10th at 13sec back.

Smith pushed the pace on the bike to join Strada and McQueen at the head of the field, but with no drafting involved in this year’s Arena Games, there was no advantage to be gained by sitting on another athlete’s wheel.

Strada was first off the bike and led out the run, but while Smith stayed on his virtual heels, McQueen was quickly slipping back through the field and with it his chances of winning the overall world title. 

Schoeman finished the leg in third place ahead of France’s Maxime Hueber-Moosbrugger and Canada’s Jeremy Briand.


The second stage started with a 1km run and it gave Germany’s Johannes Vogel and Switzerland’s Fabian Meeusen, who both came through the morning’s repechage, a chance to shine. Vogel clocked a 2:37 run as everyone else stayed in contention except McQueen, whose race looked run as he dropped another 20sec.

The 4km bike leg was a chance for Iden to show his firepower, but Strada was in no mood to step aside as he edged out Iden to be first off the bike – although both athletes were then forced to serve a 5sec penalty for a transition infringement.

It meant it was all change on the swim, as Schoeman used his renowned talent in the water to touch alongside Strada and ahead of Westermann and Vogel. Iden finished the stage in sixth, 12sec back, while McQueen – way out of the race by now – kept the crowd entertained by switching to butterfly.


Strada finished the second stage with a combined advantage of 7sec over Schoeman, needing one more athlete to come between him and the South African if he was to have a chance of the world title. 

If it was going to be anyone, it initially looked likely to be Smith, who was 13sec behind Schoeman and had beaten him in the previous day’s heat. Westermann, Vogel and Iden completed the top six.

Strada and Schoeman quickly started making headway on the final bike leg of the evening with Smith, Westerman and Vogel laying chase, but even though the Italian was opening up a gap in the lead, Schoeman had a comfortable 20sec between him and the pack which would be enough to secure the title.

Strada – who improved immensely from his fourth place in Sursee – was imperious as he strode to the victory with Schoeman in second and Smith just holding off Westermann for third with Iden in fifth.

Sign up now