By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
When Blake Miller won the first of his two world titles at the World Triathlon Multisport World Championships earlier in the week, he noted how cool it was having parents Kathy and Paul and especially twin brother Liam there to share the golden moment in Ibiza.
“Liam is my best mate, training partner and bike mechanic so there was a special moment at the end after what had happened sunk in.”
Add ‘world champion’ to Liam’s list of brotherly attributes after the Tauranga 22-year-old sensationally joined bro Blake with his own gold on Sunday to headline NZL’s memorable 10-medal sign-off to the World Triathlon champs in the Spanish party capital.
Liam won the 20-24 age group Long Distance Aquabike title in a canter, moments before Aucklander Michael Glynn (55-59) and Taupo’s Kate Brown (45-49) joined him on top of the world in the same discipline. Hannah Maher (Canterbury Triathlon Club), meanwhile, captured a fourth Kiwi gold the 25-29 Long Distance Triathlon title in a NZL one-two with Rebecca Swainson.
Canterbury legend Shirley Rolston is also celebrating another World Triathlon medal, this time silver in the 70-74 age category, an Aquabike medal matched by Tri Wanaka’s Peter Jackson (60-64). Auckland City Triathlon Club’s Alex Bees (30-34) and Nelson Triathlon and Multisport Club’s Michael Crowe (50-54) secured bronze medals in the Aquabike while Cantabrian Emma Smith (20-24) was third in her Long Distance Triathlon race to take NZL’s overall medal tally in Ibiza to 13.
Blake Miller had earlier won the 20-24 Sprint Duathlon and Aquathlon titles while Taranaki’s Angie Keen enjoyed a golden moment in the 35-39 Cross Triathlon on Friday.
Liam Miller was third out of the water after completing the 3000m swim in 43:25. But if Canadian Jovan Dhanju and Brazilian Carlos Mingarelli Diniz Alves thought they were in the fight exiting T1, Miller soon crushed their hopes on the bike.
Miller knocked out the 116km in 3:13:26 for a combined gun time of 3:59:23 and eventual victory by a whopping 28 mins and 45 secs from Dutchman Ramon Jongschaap.
“It’s pretty good…it’s been a while [in the making] so happy days,” Liam Miller told Triathlon.kiwi of his victory in trademark unstated style.
Earlier in the week, he’d posted a picture of Blake bursting the tape in ibiza on social media, congratulating his bro and playing the mutual appreciation game.
“Cheers Blake. No pressure,” Liam said, knowing his event was still days away and he was now following in the wake of a dual world champion.
“Hard to describe how rewarding it is watching my best mate, who has been so low [due to Long Covid] come flying and winning out the other end. Will try my best to replicate on Sunday.”
Liam duly delivered.
Kate Brown’s gold, meanwhile, was particularly poignant with the Taupo mother-of-two’s participation in Ibiza a case of third-time lucky. She had qualified for the 2019 and 2021 World Triathlon Multisport Championships but had those plans scuppered both times, sadly so in 2019 after her late husband Bernie suddenly fell ill and in 2021 due to the pandemic.
Brown qualified for Ibiza by winning the Suzuki NZ Mid Distance Aquabike Championship at the Mount Festival of Multisport in January and capitalised in Spain with a winning time 4:37:38 – more than six minutes clear of Germany’s Elke Schoenhardt.
Glynn won the 55-59 Aquabike title in 4:02:53 with splits of 42:26 and 3:14:54 for the 3000m swim and 116km bike respectively.
“Had a good swim, felt really comfortable and then just went really hard on the bike, maybe harder than I should [have] but it all worked out well so I’m really happy to win,’ said the Auckland City Triathlon Club member after beating Frenchman Bernard Thierry to the gold by a shade over two minutes.
“It’s awesome, a good one for New Zealand so really, really happy and we’ll be celebrating tonight.”
Maher surprised herself with victory in the Long Distance Triathlon, covering the 3000m swim, 116km bike and 30km run in 6:49:29. Offshore based Kiwi Swainson was second in 7:01:31 with Aleisha Williams going close to giving NZL a clean sweep of the 25-29 podium, the Auckland City Triathlon Club member eventually finishing 4th in 7:14:06 behind Brit Serena Carter.
“It was a big day out but it was great to share the course with this lot [pointing to fellow NZL athletes] and great to have New Zealand support all around the course,” Maher said.
Did you come to Ibiza hunting down gold?
“Not really, I’ve never done any of those distances before so just happy to be finished to be honest.”
Just another humble Kiwi coolly conquering the world.
New Zealand results on the final day of the 2023 World Triathlon Multisport Championship