Britain’s Kate Waugh produced a sensational display to take gold in the women’s U23 World Championship in Abu Dhabi.
Fourth in the event in 2019, she fully justified wearing the #1 bib in what was her last year as an U23 athlete, the decisive move coming alongside teammate Jess Fullagar at just over the halfway point on the bike.
The advantage she gained there – over a minute by T2 – proved to be enough on the run as she crossed the line 25 seconds ahead of Germany’s Annika Koch, with Italian Bianca Seregni rounding out the podium.
Swim – Seregni shows the way
In perfect, calm conditions the swim was all about Seregni.
She has consistently been one of the quickest swimmers in the sport and recently helped Olympic champion Flora Duffy string out the field en route to a top 10 at WTCS Bermuda.
Here she was soon out on her own and a narrow advantage over Yifan Yang (CHN) at the end of the first of two 750m laps had been extended to 22 seconds by the time they exited the water for a second time and headed to T1.
A chase group of six were a further 14 seconds back and they included Brits Waugh and Fullagar, who guided Katie Crowhurst to gold at the Commonwealth Games over the summer.
Bike – British duo make their move
Seregni was out on her own at the start but her advantage of over half a minute from the swim was soon whittled down by the chase pack.
So much so that the catch came early on lap two of eight and what was now a group of six – comprising Seregni, the two Brits, Germans Koch and Selina Klamt along with Hungary’s Márta Kropkó – settled down to work together.
And that proved effective – they’d opened up a lead of 45 seconds after lap two and by the halfway stage had extended it to 1:08.
It held steady on lap five and then came a big move from Brits Fullagar and Waugh who put the hammer down and created a gap to the other four.
With two laps remaining they led by 18 seconds and they pushed on to extend that to 1:05 over the four chasers by T2, with more than two minutes back to the rest of the field.
Run – Waugh powers to glory
Waugh and Fullagar started the run together but the former was soon out on her own, with Waugh 35 seconds ahead of her teammate at the end of the first of four 2.5km laps.
Koch (+58s to Waugh), Klamt (+1:11) and Seregni (+1:14) were still very much in the hunt, but Kropkó was dropping back.
Halfway through and Koch was up to second and looking strong, with the gap now down to 46 seconds to Waugh.
Speaking to us beforehand Waugh had talked about missing some run training this season on account of injury and now was very much the moment of truth.
And while the gap did come down, not quickly enough for Koch as Waugh crossed the line in triumph to win by 25 seconds from the German, with swim leader Seregni claiming the bronze.
Fullagar would cross the line in seventh, a place ahead of fellow Brit Daisy Davies.
U23 World Triathlon Championship 2022 Results
Yas Bay, Abu Dhabi
Friday 25 November 2022 – 1.5km / 40km / 10km
- 1. Kate Waugh (GBR) – 2:00:18
- 2. Annika Koch (GER) – 2:00:43
- 3. Bianca Seregni (ITA) – 2:01:14
- 4. Selina Klamt (GER) – 2:01:43
- 5. Tanja Neubert GER) – 2:01:59
- 6. Costanza Arpinelli (ITA) – 2:02:30
- 7. Jessica Fullagar (GBR) – 2:02:42
- 8. Daisy Davies (GBR) – 2:02:49
- 9. Marta Pintanel Raymundo (ESP) – 2:03:15
- 10. Barbara De Koning (NED) -2:03:42