Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

It's 2-0 to Yorkshire and Non Americans

And talking of global superpowers, it was good that another one made sure that the Americans weren't having things all their own way last week.

Yorkshire, the sixth most successful nation at the Olympics, showed that the legacy was alive and well on Saturday afternoon as BBC1 sent Sonali Shah to Spain to present coverage of the World Series triathlon from San Diego.

For a moment I thought there has been a tiny bit of confusion but it turns out that wee Sonali was on the Costa Blanca to meet up with the fabulous Brownlee boys.

Clearly it was going to costa too much to send her to California.

Where the World Series differs here is that non-Americans are allowed to compete and this began to become apparent in the highlights of the gruelling women's race as GB (we just love initials too) took a surprise second place.

Matt Chilton – the voice of triathlon – his words, not mine, was our guide to the madness that is this three-legged race that involves no chubby children and less screaming parents on the sidelines, with the women bounding in lemming-like fashion into Bonita Cove.

I had images of competitors having to dodge bananas but it was oranges that were mainly bobbing up and down as dozens of identically dressed women in black wetsuits and luminous tangerine swimming caps splashed about.

The more you watch triathlon the more it becomes apparent that setting off like a scalded halibut in the swimming is a mistake, while pedalling like a Colombian drugs baron in the cycling is also a bad idea.

The boys are sorted from the men, or girls from the women, in the running as the early leaders are inevitably chased down and overtaken, including in the dying stages, a last-gasp dash by Non Stanford clinching second and a big bunch of bananas.

That is her name, it doesn't mean she did not attend a prestigious US university, and nor did Olympic champion, Alistair Brownlee.

He went to t'university of life, pounding the dales for 26 hours a day, eight days a week, with nothing but a mug of tea and a whippet between two slices of Hovis making him the man he is today. And he was also at the University of Leeds.

As Chilton (a voice not yet snapped up by Tom Jones or Jessie J) explained: "Alistair Brownlee – MBE, seven-times Yorkshire cross-country champion and now, of course, the Olympic triathlon champion.

His main challenger was Richard Murray from South Africa, the seven-time Cape Town egg and spoon champion, but he could do nothing to stop Brownlee's canter to the line, where he was warmly embraced by the cast of Emmerdale at the end.

The next race is in Yokohama.

As we speak, Sonali Shah is bound for the house of John Lennon's missus with a gammon under her arm.

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