Braden Currie, one of the favourites for the podium at the men’s IRONMAN World Championship in Nice, has spoken out about the penalty and DQ saga which ruined his chances of glory on the Cote d’Azur.
Currie was struck with a five-minute penalty for littering out on the bike course on Sunday, a ruling which left him devastated as a race which promised so much was ripped away.
After initially trying to argue with the race referee out on course to no avail, a dejected Currie rolled into transition ready to give up, but was encouraged to continue onwards by supporters and appeal the penalty after finishing the race.
Having not served his penalty, the Kiwi was disqualified after crossing the finish line. However, after then going through the appeal process, both his penalty and disqualification were overturned. Thus begging the question, how could the day have panned out if the right call had been made?
Fine margins for Braden Currie
Sharing how disheartened he was upon receiving the news that he had been given a penalty, Currie explained the circumstances surrounding the call and how his emotions got the better of him.
“Marginal gains – that’s what we fight for day in day out leading into these races. Marginal calls – this is what we hope will never happen as this type of fight is tougher than anything we face in training.
“Yesterday I received a marginal call, which was a 5 min penalty at 107kms on the bike for intentionally littering. I was in 5th position and to be honest I was having the world champs race where I felt everything was possible.
“You never know how the race would play out yesterday but I am gutted to have lost my chance to contest. After being given the penalty I argued with the ref on course and then emotionally I gave up as I knew that losing 5 minutes meant I was out of position to win.
“It was the hardest moment of any race I’ve ever been in. I rolled into transition expecting to take my 5 min penalty and bled time doing so as I felt beaten. I was done and I wanted to walk away.”
The fight goes on
Dejected and ready to throw in the towel, Currie underlined how it was only through the support and encouragement of the people around him that he carried on with the race after finishing the bike leg.
“There’s good people out there and the good people supported me. They did everything in their power to encourage me to keep going, and not take the penalty and just keep racing. I felt my DQ was coming but I finished the marathon because I wanted to give something back to everyone who supports me.”
Knowing what was coming, Currie revealed that he was told of his disqualification immediately after finishing and ready to call it a day, before again being encouraged to follow the appeals process and fight for his side of the argument against the penalty.
“Then it came, the DQ within 30sec of passing the line. Again, the good people encouraged me to follow due process and officially appeal the penalty. It was the last thing I felt like doing but I’m glad I did.
“The penalty and my DQ was overturned in the end. I know that Ironman and technical officials panel who made this decision were 200% committed to making the right decision. I am really grateful for this.”
Currie is not the only athlete to have had the biggest race of their season adversely impacted by disputable penalties at the IRONMAN World Championships in recent years.
In 2022, Magnus Ditlev (Kona) and Sam Long (IM 70.3 WC St George) were both given questionable drafting penalties on the bike, whilst more recently in Lahti, Lionel Sanders was caught out by an “imaginary line” ruling at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.