Jackson fades to fifth in triathlon

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Australia’s Emma Jackson felt achingly short of claiming a medal on the opening event of the opening day of the Commonwealth Games.

The world under-23 champion finished fifth as Australia claimed three places in the top 10 of the triathlon.

Jackson was fifth, 38 seconds behind gold medallist Jodie Stimpson as England took a commanding gold and bronze on the opening event of the games. Emma Moffatt was seventh and Ashleigh Gentle ninth.

Stimpson won gold in 1 hour 58.56 minutes, ahead of Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland in second and England Vicky Holland picking up bronze.

Jackson was with the leaders until the last three kilometres of the run when the winning trio lifted the pace and she had nothing left to go with them. She said she was “wrecked” by the first swim leg when she gave everything to cling to the lead pack.

“That was such a tough day out there today. The swim was just so fast I was seriously trailing that group the whole swim. I just tried my hardest to keep up with the pack. That first lap of the bike seriously was the hardest first lap I have ever done so I was pretty wrecked from that or the rest of the race,” Jackson said. “I was very happy I was in the front back but it was some hard work.”

When the lead group of 10 climbed off the bike for the run Jackson and Moffatt were among the number. Jackson was unfairly criticised by on-course commentators for sitting at the back of the lead cycling group suggesting she was allowing others to do the bulk of the work.

When five runners pushed hard to break away Jackson, who came eighth at the London Olympics as a 20-year-old, was able to hang on while Moffatt slid slightly adrift into the next lead group.

Jackson found a rhythm to stay with that group for the first two of the three running leg laps and was fourth at the bell for the final lap, but was unable to stay with them when the eventual winning trio attacked.

“I just did not have that next gear to go with the girls so if it stayed that pace I would have liked it but the girls attacked and I could only hang on for fifth today. “I knew the pace would increase some time soon and I was hoping my legs could respond to it but it was not the case.”

Jackson said she now needed to work on her swim leg so that she does not expend as much energy next time to keep up with the main group and thus be able to push hard on her strongest running leg. “I definitely gave it my all. I seriously gave it everything,” she said.

Moffatt, a two time world champion, quickly peeled off the lead group once the run leg began.

Having spent last week washing cuts on her legs in egg white and rubbing her bruised ribs in onion she was unable to hang on for the run and finished seventh in 2:01.31 (2.35 minutes after the leader)

Gentle dropped off the main group through the cycling leg and was forced to do a lot of work in a small trio of cyclists, and battled hard through the run leg to still finish in the top 10 in ninth in 2:03.24 (+4.28mins).

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