Joy, tears and controversy for Super League Stars

There was joy, tears and controversy for a host of Super League stars who were attempting to secure their place in next year’s Olympics at the Tokyo test event.

With so much on the line it was little wonder that emotions were running high before, during and after the races.

Tyler Mislawhuck took the win in the men’s event thanks to a thrilling sprint finish. The Canadian, who finished fourth in the Super League Championship Series last year to ensure his place at the opener of this season in Jersey on September 28-29, pipped Casper Stornes and Hayden Wilde – another automatic qualifier – to the win.

Gustav Iden and perennial Super League fan favourite Jonny Brownlee rounded out the top five.

Perhaps the biggest cheer for a Super League athlete was for Jonas Schomburg, ninth in the 2018 Championship Series, whose performance guaranteed his place in the German team for Tokyo 2020.

The women’s race created controversy and debate. After a shortened 5km run due to the heat, Super League star Georgia Taylor-Brown crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with British teammate Jess Learmonth only for the pair to both be disqualified.

The race officials citied rule 2.11.f which states: “Athletes who finish in a contrived tie situation, where no effort to separate their finish times has been made, will be disqualified”.

Debate has raged ever since over whether the rule was correctly applied, and whether it should be modified.

Either way, it ended up being a comeback win for Flora Duffy. The Bermudian finished behind the Brits but was bumped up to first after the pair were disqualified. After a year out with injury it was a remarkable return to the top-level triathlon scene.

The final podium had Italy’s Alice Betto in second and Vicky Holland, a Super League star and ace commentator, in third. Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes was fourth.

Last season’s sixth placed women in the Super League rankings, Summer Rappaport, became the first American to qualify for her country’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic triathlon team finishing in fifth.