Youth Olympic champion heads to San Francisco to test himself

Youth Olympic champion heads to San Francisco to test himself

By Masa Takaya on 05/07/11 at 7:03 pm

Youth Olympic champion Aaron Barclay (NZL) will once again compete against international elite athletes at the 2011 San Francisco ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup this weekend.

The 19 year old’s previous attempt to build his career as an elite athlete was at the ITU Continental Cup in Mooloolaba, Australia, in March, which resulted in a 37th place in his first classic 51.5km distance race.

Barclay, who took up the sport in 2006 with a strong background in competitive swimming, finished runner-up to Michael Gosman (AUS) at the 2010 Canberra ITU Triathlon Oceanian Championships. This qualified him for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, where he claimed the gold medal.

After his success in August last year, Barclay placed 24th in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU Triathlon World Championship Grand Final Budapest in the Junior category at the end of the season in the fall. Earlier this year, he raced at the Kinloch ITU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup and the Junior Oceanian Championships in Wellington, placing 15th and 8th respectively.

The international circuits have been not easy for him. Neither, should this weekend’s race.

Racing with bib #1, Leonardo Chacon (CRC) won the Roatan ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup in January this year. Since then, the Costa Rican has achieved consistent performances in the tough fields at the World Cup Mooloolaba, the Dextro Energy Triathlon Series in Sydney and Madrid, finishing 13th, 20th and 26th respectively. Racing with bib #2, Manuel Huerta (USA) is also touring the Dextro Energy Triathlon Series. His only career win was at the La Paz ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup in 2008, leaving Chacon the runner-up. However, Huerta might have a chance at another major title, as he is competing against many triathletes who have not yet raced on the top-tier series.

A total of 58 names from 10 countries are on the start list, while 23 triathletes from five nations are in the women’s field.

The event will be held on Treasure Island, which is located between Oakland and San Francisco, with its iconic backgrounds of Golden Gate Bridge and city skyline. The athletes will vie for the purse of USD 30,000.

Find more details about this event - 2011 San Francisco ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup