Original Article Source: Barbados Today
Matthew Wright’s 2023 season has started off with a bang.
The Barbadian triathlete produced an impressive performance to beat 55 other competitors on his way to winning the 2023 Africa Triathlon Cup Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt over the weekend.
It was his third podium finish in three events and followed his recent third place finish in the African Triathlon Cup M’Diq in Morocco.
The triathlon in Egypt featured a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre ride and a 5-kilometre run.
Wright exited the water in second position following a strong swim leg behind Austria’s Martin Demuth from Austria and was joined by six athletes on the bike leg, including Panagiotis Bitados, who captured silver in M’Diq and was arguably his main competition.
With high winds and heat playing a significant factor, Wright had a below-par transition and was in sixth place on the run with Bitados leading the pack.
Wright, however, made up ground quickly and eventually worked his way into second behind Bitados for a tight chase to the finish.
Favourably for Wright, Bitados made a slight wrong turn on the final lap on the run, which allowed him to take the lead with two kilometres to go.
Wright held on for the victory to capture maximum Olympic points by 20 seconds over Bitados, with Austrian Tjebbe Kaindl finishing third.
With his three podium finishes, Wright capitalized on earning valuable ranking points within the first Olympic qualifying period for Paris 2024 (which culminates on May 26th).
His World and Continental rankings now stand at 101 and he will now turn his attention to the second Olympic qualifying period that runs until May 2024.
Wright’s next two Olympic points races will be at the Reszow European Cup in Poland on June 11th, and the Kitzbuhel European Cup in Austria on June 18th.
He will then return to the region of the Americas where he will look to gain the first medal in triathlon for Barbados at the Central America and Caribbean Games in El Salvador on July 5th
Wright expressed thanks to the Barbados Olympic Association, the Barbados Federation of Island Triathletes and the Arts and Sports Foundation for their continued support.
(Author – Stefon Jordan)