Photos: AusTriathlon

By Kent Gray/
James Corbett felt so poorly in the lead-up to Friday’s Oceania Super Sprint Championships, he very nearly shied off the day of rapid-fire racing on the Gold Coast. He’s sure glad he didn’t after producing three races that ultimately morphed into one of his career-best performances.

The 22-year-old Aucklander shrugged off the after effects of a virus to finish 4th at Runaway Bay behind an all-Aussie podium featuring the Schofield twins, Jayden and Luke, and Brayden Mercer.

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Corbett was the best of the five Kiwis to reach the 16-man final at the Gold Coast Performance Centre with Gus Marfell an equally impressive 6th and Canterbury 18-year-old Benjamin Airey also claiming a notable top 10 with 8th place.

Youngsters Cameron Maunder and Oliver Larcombe had every right to be proud of their respective 13th and 15th place finishes also, while 20-year-ols Cantabrian Henry McMecking won the B final.

Corbett is all concentration during a bike leg.

“It was a pretty testing week as I’ve been a bit sick and was thinking of pulling the pin but very glad I didn’t. This would have to be one of the best results of mine to date,” Corbett told

It all started in Qualifier 1 where Corbett edged McMecking and Marfell in a Kiwi 1-2-3. Corbett repeated in semifinal 1, beating Mercer to comfortably qualify for the top-16 shootout.

“The first race I was kind of scared to see how I felt, but I felt surprisingly good and that kept me positive for the rest of the day,” Corbett said.

“The day went by in a flash. I loved the style of racing, so short and fast. It felt like you couldn’t blink or you’d miss a move.” 

In the final, Corbett was ever present but concedes he may have made a slight tactical miscalculation out of T2. It saw Mercer run down the Kiwi in the dying metres.

“I worked really hard with my positioning and in the final I was pretty confident I could do something special on the run but got a bit excited and probably closed the gap down to the Schofield twins a bit quick and paid for it in the last 400m.

“I tried everything to hold onto 3rd but it was 100m too far.”

Corbett is now China bound where he will race Asian Triathlon Cup Taizhou on Sunday before lining up in the Osaka Castle Triathlon. The May 26 race in Japan features a unique swim in the castle’s easter outer moat.

Thereafter he’ll reconnect with a number of his Kiwi team-mates in Font-Romeu in the South of France with an eye to Europe Triathlon Premier Cup Holten on June 29 and European Triathlon Cup Cork on July 13.

“This gives me confidence I have some form and some good skills I can take into China next week, then Japan at the end of May and on to Europe,” Corbett said.

McMecking, meanwhile, shared the B final podium with Aussie’s Joshua Neervoot and Zahn Spies. Lachlan Haycock and William Tayler were 13th and 15th respectively.

Jayden beat Luke but it was hard to tell who was the happier Schofield on the Gold Coast.

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