Ryan Bailie helps `Wollongong Wizards' to Games bronze

Aaron Royle, Emma Moffatt, Emma Jackson and Ryan Bailie celebrate their Triathlon Mixed Teams bronze medal. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Aaron Royle, Emma Moffatt, Emma Jackson and Ryan Bailie celebrate their Triathlon Mixed Teams bronze medal. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

After leaving empty handed in the individual triathlon, the Wollongong Wizards turned bronzed Aussies after a stunning late surge from Ryan Bailie to snatch third in the Commonwealth Games mixed relay event in Glasgow.

Bailie, who finished fifth behind the Brownlee brothers a couple of days earlier, found another gear in the desperate late sprint for medals.

At one point it appeared Bailie would even upstage South African rival Richard Murray - a noted runner - but while silver was out of reach, it sealed a brilliant bronze.

In a group of three, Bailie had lassoed in the then second-placed Kiwi athlete within moments of getting on the bikes.

He made a false start attempt at a break away of his own then bided his time to make his move in the run.

"I had a bit of a dig up the hill [on the bike] and tried to drop them but obviously they were all watching and six kilometres is not long enough to do anything," Bailie said.

"It was all about having a good T2 (second transition) which I managed to have - I think I was first out - and tied to settle into a bit of a rhythm over that 1600m (final run leg) which is a bit hard to do. I felt I had (Andrew) Yorke on the ropes, the Canadian, coming into the second lap and just went for it and managed to somehow get third."

So relieved was teammate Aaron Royle, he tackled an exhausted Bailie as soon as he had crossed the finish line.

The mixed relay might be something of a novelty event - running four mini-sprint triathlons alternating by tagging each other into the race - but it at least provided a moment of succour and redemption.

Australia began poorly, gathered momentum and from third last after the first leg, managed to finish third at the final line. Even as the rain broke for the first time at these Scottish Games - the weather would not rain on their parade for the podium.

"That was awesome I think all of us wanted to redeem ourselves after the individual and put on a good performance today and to get a bronze medal at a Commonwealth Games is awesome," Royle said.

Royle, indeed, redeemed as much as any athlete.

After Emma Moffatt got Australia away to a surprisingly poor start Royle completed the quickest stage of any athlete, man or woman, for the day. That includes being quicker than both of the world-dominating Brownlee brothers.

Moffatt was appreciative of her teammates for elevating her onto the podium feeling at a loss to explain her own form.

"I am very disappointed with how I raced so I am lucky I had three superb athletes that followed me. To be on the podium I definitely owe it to these three but I will make the most of it and be proud to be in this team," she said.

"I just don't think it has been my year there are probably a few things I need to go and reflect on and improve. Obviously I would have liked to have been up there closer to the front girls."

England won. Of course they did. How could they not? Two days earlier they had won both golds a silver and a bronze in the men's and women's events. They had the Jonathan and Edward Brownlee brothers, so it always shaped as a race for a place.

Royle made sure Australia was in the hunt for that medal place. When he tagged in Emma Jackson, Australia was back into fifth and in contention. AAP


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