By Kent Gray/ in Hamburg 
Not long after Kieran Coates was crowned 16-19 age group champion at the 2012 World Triathlon Grand Final in Auckland, he discovered all the fun things in life that typically motivate Kiwi teens.  
Triathlon took a back seat as the Whakatane flier became a champion of the party life. Luckily, the competitive embers within, while dampened, were never fully extinguished and it wasn’t long before the now Auckland car salesman was back into beast training mode. 

Fast-forward to Friday in Hamburg and all the renewed hard work paid off, Coates a world championship medalist again – this time snaring bronze in the 25-29 category at the 2023 World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships.  It was some belated birthday after he turned 28 on Tuesday.
“I’m absolutely stoked with it to be honest,” Coates told in the finish chute, flanked by pals Christian Davey and Blake Miller who finished 8th and 21st in the 25-29 and 20-24 age groups respectively.

“Last World Champs I did was 2012 in Auckland, I did the whole lazy thing when I turned 18 and three years ago I had a mindset and a goal to kind of chase World Champs events again. To come back after three years of training and to get a medal, I’m just absolutely stoked with it.”

The Auckland City Triathlon Club member knocked off the sprint (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) in 59:48, finishing within sight of German winner Thomas Wittmann (59:31) and American silver medalist Garrett Mayeaux (59:36).

“Tough course, tough competitors, horrible swim, decent bike and a good run so I can’t be happier than that,” Coates continued. 
To be fair, Coates didn’t exactly go off the rails after Auckland 2012 but he is grateful for the path triathlon provides to a healthy lifestyle and the global opportunities it extends those willing to put in the work.

“I think I just did the whole young, 18-year-old thing, got a full-time job and stayed a little bit fit but it was just that I missed it so much, the whole competitive nature of triathlons. So to get stuck in three years ago with the goal of just qualifying for this race, and then to go on to medal, I’m just blown away with. 
“Hopefully did my family proud and look forward to taking the medal back to New Zealand.”   

Another Kiwi to do her family and Manawatu Triathlon Club friends proud was Lucy McLean who narrowly missed a medal in the 16-19 age group. McLean’s 4th was one of four top 10s for New Zealand alongside Coates’s bronze and Davey’s 8th place, the latter matched by Marlborough’s Ryan Marfell in the 16-19 age group.

On Sunday, New Zealand will field a Mixed Relay team for the first time at a World Triathlon Age Group championships with Tanya Winter, Julie Morgan, Dean Rees and Ritchie Watson set to be roared home by their Kiwi team-mates in the 55-59 category.

Be sure to check Tri NZ’s social channels (@Triathlonnz if you aren’t already following) for more coverage of the Kiwi age groupers in Hamburg over the coming days.

2023 World Triathlon Age Group Sprint & Relay Championships – NZ Results
4th – Lucy McLean (Manawatu Triathlon Club) 1:10:55
8th – Ryan Marfell (Marlborough Triathlon Club) 1:02:51
21st – Blake Miller (Triathlon Tauranga) 1:04:52
21st – Taylah Arlidge (Manawatu Triathlon Club) 1:12:44

3RD – Kieran Coates (Auckland City Triathlon Club) 59:48
8th – Christian Davey (Tri Wellington) 1:00:36
33rd – Nic Sowerby (Hawke’s Bay Triathlon Club) 1:09:35
34th – Warren Dohnt (Triathlon Tauranga) 1:10:19
50th – Oonagh Turner (Auckland City Triathlon Club) 1:27:28
32nd – Julie Morgan (Taranaki Triathlon) 1:23:36
63rd -Tanya Winter (Tri Sport Taupo) 1:37:30
75th – Ritchie Watson (North Harbour Triathlon Club) 1:24:45
85th – Dean Rees (Canterbury Triathlon Club) 1:38:41

41st – Kevin Fee (Manawatu Triathlon Club) 1:17:01
48th – Raelene Rees (Canterbury Triathlon Club) 1:41:17

23rd – Malcolm Elley (North Harbour Triathlon Club) 1:19:39
50th – Alan McIntyre (Auckland City Triathlon Club) 1:26:23
54th – Fred Koenders (Hawkes Bay Triathlon Club) 1:27:18

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