Jessy our new champion
AGNES Water has a new world champion in one of the toughest events on the planet.
Teenager Jessy Grant toughed it out at the weekend to win the 18-19 age group of the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in Okalahoma. Not only did Grant endure a marathon 4km swim, 120km ride and 30km run, he had to do it in 30-plus degree heat at the US venue.
Add in a kick in the face during the swim leg that made him lose his goggles, two flat tyres that forced him to push his bike for the last 2km of the ride and a bout of heat exhaustion during the run leg and you start to get the idea of how good this win was.
In the competition that boasted all grades up to Open professionals, more than 350 competitors didn't finish the race.
Grant was fortunate he had established a healthy lead after the swim and ride to be able to manage his heat exhaustion and cruise down to win in a respectable seven hours and 24 minutes.
Competing at these distances for the first time, Grant had plenty of people cheering him on at the event and back home. His mum, Angela Furneaux, was one of those up in the early hours of Sunday morning at Agnes Water to cheer her son on.
"I think there was plenty here in Agnes up all night tracking his progress," she said. "There was also lots of relative and friends across the country who were up and about watching his progress."
The family and friends were keeping a tab on Grant's progress via an internet tracking program. Angela said she had spoken to her son via Facebook since his win.
"He said he was very tired but elated to have won," she said.
"It was the toughest event he's ever done. We are over the moon and so proud of him."
Grant will now be hoping his win, and a 41st place overall in the race, will qualify him for a professional licence in triathlon.
From competing as a seven-year-old in a Weetbix Kids triathlon, Grant has progressed through the ranks to win his age group at the Hell of the West event at Goondiwindi in February, with a second at the Hervey Bay 100 last year.
A professional licence would be another step towards his goal of competing at the pinnacle event of the sport, the Kona Ironman Championships in Hawaii.
"His passion is long-distance events," Angela said.
"He trains by himself so he's looking to get a coach now and hopefully some sponsorship so he can realise his dream of going to Kona."
Grant was part of the Australian team of athletes at the Oklahoma event.