Photos: World Triathlon
By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
Remarkable Taranaki 72-year-old Joy Baker has become a world champion for the third time in eight years. Club mate Ange Keen? She’s the world’s best for the second time in four… months.
Baker and Keen headlined a memorable opening day for New Zealand at the World Triathlon Age Group Championships in Spain with their Super Sprint golds.
New Zealand also claimed three other medals in Pontevedra: silvers for Triathlon Tauranga’s Liam Miller and North Harbour Triathlon club head coach Stephen Farrell, and bronze for Tri Wellington’s Catherine Alderton. In total, 13 of the 15 Kiwis who lined up in the 300m swim, 6.4km bike, 1.6km run races produced top 10s.
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Baker won the 70-74 title in 34:51, nearly a minute clear of Canadian silver medallist Janet MacKay Thompson. The win in her first world championships since Lausanne 2019 added to Baker’s World Triathlon legend with the Taranaki Triathlon Club member winning the 60-64 age group duathlon gold at Adelaide in 2015 and the 65-69 sprint triathlon title in Cozumel, Mexico a year later. Baker now boasts 12 World Triathlon medals.
Keen’s victory in the 35-39 age group overnight was even more impressive and added to the Cross Triathlon title she won at the World Triathlon Multisport Championships in Ibiza in early May. Her 26:55 effort was the third fastest female time overall and saw her beat American runnerup Wendy Seguine by 2mins 40sec.
“WORLD CHAMPION 🏆,” Keen wrote on social media.
“I can’t believe I did it . I worked hard and it paid off and that is the absolute BEST feeling 🤩 More to come later but right now I need to eat 😂 #sooooooostoked.”
It’s a fifth World Triathlon medal for Keen who, while still a proud Taranaki Triathlon Club member, is now based in Rotorua where she is a Constable in the NZ Police.
READ: Ange Keen featured in Triathlon Quarterly 2 (click on ‘Tribe Nation’ in contents to be directed to her story)
Before Ibiza, she’d previously medalled at the 2017 Aquathlon and Long Distance worlds in Penticton, Canada – both silvers – before claiming bronze in the Aquathlon in Fyn, Denmark the following year.
Like Baker, Keen is also racing the Aquabike race in Pontevedra on Sunday evening NZT.
Miller, meanwhile, is also celebrating two World Triathlon medals in four months, his second place overnight in the 20-24 category coming after he won the Long Distance Aquabike title in Ibiza. The Triathlon Tauranga 22-year-old stopped the clock in Pontevedra in 23:50 to finish behind German Julian Becker (22:58).
The longer standard distance aquabike should favour Miller even more.
Farrell has won six World Triathlon titles and is a well travelled Ironman competitor. But he won’t forget Pontevedra in a hurry after being given the honour of carrying the New Zealand flag in the Parade of Nations and then backing it up with silver in the 60-64 age group.
The former Tri NZ High Performance Manager clocked 26:31, finishing just nine seconds adrift of Portugal gold medallist Antonio Fernando Horta with North Harbour Triathlon Club mate Mike Trees 4th in 26:45. Trees finished just eight seconds shy of the podium.
Alderton’s bronze in the women’s 60-64 category was her second World Triathlon podium following a silver in the 50-54 Aquathlon Championships in Edmonton, Canada in 2014.
The Wellingtonian finished in 32:26 behind Americans Michele Tuttle (30:21) and Lisa Marquis (31:41).
In addition to the Aquabike on Sunday, the majority of the 32 strong Kiwi age group team in Pontevedra will race the standard distance triathlon. Quick fire previews to those races can be found below Saturday’s Super Sprint results:
World Triathlon Age Group Championships – Super Sprint results
7th: Nikita Coleman (Triathlon Tauranga) 33:36
1st: Ange Keen (Taranaki Triathlon Club) 26:55
3rd: Catherine Alderton (Tri Wellington) 32:26
1st: Joy Baker (Taranaki Triathlon Club) 34:51
2nd: Liam Miller (Triathlon Tauranga) 23:50
4th: Ryan Williams (North Harbour Triathlon Club) 24:15
12th: Edward Fuller (Triathlon Tauranga) 25:54
4th: James Thorstenson (Overseas) 25:45
8th: Paul Preston (Southland Triathlon Club) 26:06
8th: Terry Jack (North Harbour Triathlon Club) 25:19
10th: Brad McNamara (Triathlon Tauranga) 25:56
16th: Tom Burgess (North Harbour Triathlon Club) 27:14
2nd: Stephen Farrell (North Harbour Triathlon Club) 26:31
4th: Mike Trees (North Harbour Triathlon Club) 26:45
10th: Malcolm Elley (North Harbour Triathlon Club) 31:43
STANDARD TRIATHLON – Sunday, September 24 (7:30pm NZT)
If you’re searching for the most inspirational Kiwi in Pontevedra, look no further than Jo Baker. The Hawke’s Bay Triathlon Club member nearly lost her life in a scary, pinecone infused bike crash, the story of which featured in Triathlon Quarterly HERE (click on ‘Tribe Nation’ section in contents and scroll to Jo’s story).
It’s a chilling/inspirational read: “I broke multiple bones in my pelvis, collarbone, neck, facial bones, nose and jaw, my elbow had to be reattached and serve road rash on my hand needed surgery. I [also] had a brain injury…”
Baker celebrated her 50th birthday in the air travelling to Spain. You can bet the bash after her race on Sunday evening NZT, regardless of the outcome, will be emotional, albeit perhaps delayed 24 hours until after husband Neil Baker races the Aquabike.
If the name Jerym Brunton rings a bell, meanwhile, it’s because the Auckland City Triathlon Club member earned ‘Legend’ status at the World Triathlon Multisport Championship in May, racing all five events available in Ibiza
20-24: Emma Payne (Auckland City Triathlon Club)
30-34: Tegan Harrison (Canterbury Triathlon Club)
30-34: Laura Pfeifer (Canterbury Triathlon Club)
40-44: Mitzi Taylor (Canterbury Triathlon Club)
50-54: Jo Baker (Triathlon Hawke’s Bay)
55-59: Sue Abraham (Tri Wellington)
60-64: Catherine Alderton (Tri Wellington)
20-24: Ryan Williams (North Harbour Triathlon Club)
25-29: Ollie Brazier (Tri-Sport Taupo)
30-34: James Thorstenson (Overseas)
35-39: Paul Preston (Southland Triathlon Club)
40-44: Robin Harris (Overseas)
40-44: Brad McNamara (Triathlon Tauranga)
40-44: Chris Thomson (Tri Wellington)
45-49: James Madden (Auckland City Triathlon Club)
50-54: Jerym Brunton (Auckland City Triathlon Club)
60-64: Stephen Farrell (North Harbour Triathlon Club)
60-64: Mike Trees (North Harbour Triathlon Club)
60-64: Conrad Young (Overseas)
STANDARD AQUABIKE – Sunday, September 24 (9.30pm NZT)
Dave Bradding is out to defend the 60-64 Standard Distance Aquabike title he won at 2022 World Triathlon Age Group Championships in Abu Dhabi last November. The Auckland City Triathlon Club member, who won the then Port of Tauranga Half in 1991, is proof our sport needn’t stop when Father Time creeps up on elite racing ambitions. Liam Miller (pictured above) joined brother Blake as a gold medallist at the World Triathlon Multisport Championships when he won 20-24 Long Distance Aquabike titile, in a canter no less, in Ibiza. It will be fascinating to see how the Triathlon Tauranga youngster goes over the shorter standard distance in Pontevedra.
18-19: Nikita Coleman (Triathlon Tauranga)
20-24: Sarah McClure (Canterbury Triathlon Club)
35-39: Ange Keen (Taranaki Triathlon Club)
70-74: Julia Bracegirdle (Tri Wellington)
70-74: Joy Baker (Taranaki Triathlon Club)
18-19: Edward Fuller (Triathlon Tauranga)
20-24: Liam Miller (Triathlon Tauranga)
40-44: Tom Burgess (North Harbour Triathlon Club)
40-44: Terry Jack (North Harbour Triathlon Club)
50-54: Neil Baker (Triathlon Hawke’s Bay)
60-64: Dave Bradding (Auckland City Triathlon Club)
65-69: Malcolm Elley (North Harbour Triathlon Club)
65-59: Niels Madsen (Tri Wellington)