The Bermuda Triathlon Association has announced Bermuda’s team for the Small Island Games to be held in Jersey, Channel Islands next month.
33 year old Tucker Murphy, who competed for Bermuda in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and was 3rd in last Sunday’s AON National Sprint Triathlon Championships, will lead the men’s team. Tucker placed well in the last Small Island Games held in Bermuda in 2013 placing 6th in 2hrs 06 mins 41 secs with the second fastest run split on the day. The winner was the Orkney Islands Bobby Oag in 2hrs 00 min 04 secs.
43 year old Travis Cooper has represented Bermuda at various events including as an age grouper at the World Championships and finished 5th in Sunday’s AON National Sprint Triathlon Championships with a solid all round performance that shows that his preparation for these Games is going well.
The women’s team will most likely have the best chance of collecting a medal with Martina Olcheski Bell, who this year has already won our national olympic and sprint distance triathlon championships, Karen Smith and Julia Hawley all likely to be in the mix with Belinda Castree providing the basis for a strong women’s team.
Martina finished 8th in the Bermuda Island Games but has improved considerably since then and her confidence will be high going into these Jersey Games after her two championship wins. Her time in the Bermuda Games was 2 hrs 24 mins 16 secs behind the runaway winner, Kerry MacPhee of the Western Isles who finished in a very quick 2 hrs 10 mins 52 secs. However, the bronze medal was won in 2hrs 19 mins 39 secs by Bermuda’s Laurie Orchard who will not however be in Jersey.
Karen’s form going into these games will be uncertain as she has been deliberately protecting a recurring foot injury as she concentrates towards getting ready for these games and therefore did not finish in either the Bermuda National Olympic and Sprint Distance Championships despite leading off the bike in both events. If she can get her injury under control and get in some good run training then Karen will be the most likely medal winner for Bermuda.
Julia Hawley has tremendous experience having competed for Bermuda for many years and was just 27 seconds behind Martina at the Catlin Olympic Distance National Championships where she took silver.
In the past few years Belinda Castree has emerged as one Bermuda’s leading female triathletes and she is noted for her strong swim and bike. Her run has been her Achilles heel but if she can improve on it before 28th June she should place well at these games.
The competition this year is likely to be much tougher than in the 2013 Bermuda Games as most of the top small island triathletes come from Europe or that part of the world and many of those top triathletes were unwilling to travel to or could not afford the trip to Bermuda in 2013. Jersey however is much closer and with 17 islands entering teams, many with larger teams than came to Bermuda, our team will have its work cut out.
In addition to the individual event there is a team competition for men and women with the lowest combined time for the top three men on each team counting towards the men’ medals and the lowest combined time for the top two women on each team counting towards the women’s medals. Bermuda took silver in the women’s team category in 2013 and the men narrowly missed a medal finishing in 4th. However in Jersey only the women will be eligible for the team medals as we only have two men competing but with such a strong women’s team we should be in with a good chance of a medal.
The triathlons will be over a course used each year for the Jersey Triathlon, a tough course over 1500 meter swim, 40km bike and 10km run. The triathlons take place on 28th June, day 1 of the Jersey Games, with the men starting at 4.15PM and the women at 4.30PM Jersey time ( 4 hours ahead of Bermuda). The start / finish and transition area will be on the waterfront in St. Helier, Jersey’s capital.
The team will be managed by Neil De Ste Croix.