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Estonian triathlon owes its credibility to a small group of enthusiasts who have more or less contributed to leading Estonian triathlon to the world-class level. We can be proud of many ambitious and diligent athletes and grateful to a truly great trainer Jüri Käen. Jüri is the only 5th level triathlon coach in Estonia. His skills have led the majority of the current and former members of the national team to big achievements. His favors include training our athletes to be the front-ranking contestants at both Olympic and Ironman distances. Jüri has taught athletes such as Kirill Litovtšenko, Kirill Kotšegarov, Aleksandr Latin, Marko Albert (all members of the 21CC triathlon club), he has also instructed Ain-Alar Juhanson and Raimo and Eero Raudsepp as a trainer of the national team of Estonia.

Despite Estonia being such a small country, our triathlon has been constantly outstanding during the last decade. Former triathletes have passed their knowledge on to succeeding sportsmen who in turn share their wisdom with the younger generation. Although the resources have sometimes come short, it has never obstructed the progress of improving, expressing and realizing potential and abilities.

Ironman

The Ironman World Championship taking place in Hawaii is the most important triathlon event. There are about 50 000 amateurs and about 200 to 300 professional triathletes trying to access the competition through series of qualifying races.

For the last 7 years the victory has belonged to either the Germans or Australians, emphasizing the strength of triathletes in those countries. The list of winners include Chris Mcormack (2007 and 2010) and Craig Alexander from Australia (2008 and 2009), also Norman Stadler (2004 and 2006) and Faris al Sultan (2005) from Germany. The best performance of Estonian triathletes so far was delivered by Marko Albert in Hawaii in 2011 by reaching the 13th place.

The world record of 7 hours 41 minutes 33 seconds was set by Andreas Raelert in 2011. Estonian record of 8 hours 08 minutes 17 seconds belongs to Marko Albert as of 2011.

Women have been powerfully represented by Chrissie Wellington. She is a four-time winner among the female contestants and since 2011 a proud owner of the current world record of 8 hours 18 minutes 13 seconds. Chrissie won Hawaii World Championships in Ironman distance in 2011. She definitely has pushed all limits concerning the human abilities. In 2010 Miranda Carefree took over her title. Julie Dibens (world champion of the 70.3 distance) and Caroline Steffan probably also deserve to be highlighted.

The Olympic Games are the most prestigious event concerning the Olympic distance. Triathlon has been a part of the Games fot the last three times. After debuting in Sydney it has been continuously gaining popularity as an Olympic event, being ranked 5th-6th on the unofficial lists of IOC (International Olympic Committee). Not to mention the fact that there were hundreds of thousands viewers by the course during the Olympic triathlon in Sydney.

As few as two triathletes have managed to win more than one medals throughout the three Games. Simon Whitfield collected the first place in Sydney and the second place in Beijing, while Bevan Docherty came second in Athens and third in Beijing. Both men have confirmed continuing their careers until the London Olympic Games in 2012.

For the last two years two men – Javier Gomes and Alistar Brownlee – have been head and shoulders above all others at the World Cup series, with Javier being a two-time world champion (2008 and 2010) and Brownlee owning world champion titles in all age classes (in juniors, U23 and in seniors since 2009). There are several men who manage to beat them once in a while. For example, in 2008 an Olympic winner Jan Frodeno (Frodo) from Germany and Stuart Hayes (GBR), also Alistar’s younger brother Jonathan Brownlee who made it to the WCS series’ podium for the first time in 2010.

The best women at the Olympic distance have been the Australians for years. In addition to winning the Beijing Olympics, Emma Snowshill is also a three-time world champion. The world champion in the Olympic distance triathlon for the last two years has been Emma Moffat. It seems there are quite a few Emmas yet to emerge. Europe is successfully represented by Lisa Norden from Sweden, Nicola Spirig and Daniela Ryf from Switzerland and Jodie Swallow from Britain.

The most outstanding achievements in Estonian triathlon include:
13th place at Hawaii Ironman by Marko Albert
13th place at Hawaii Ironman by Ain-Alar Juhanson
16th place at Hawaii Ironman by Kirill Litovtšenko.

Estonian triathlon was represented at the Olympic Games in 2004 and 2008
Marko Albert on the 11th place in the WCS series in 2004

Rankings in the top ten at the WCS series, Marko Albert:
2nd place at Rio de Janeiro WCS in 2004,
2nd place at New Plymouth WCS in 2006,
6th place at Ishigaki WCS in 2007,
6th place at Corner Brook WCS in 2003,
8th place in Corner Brook in 2004,
9th place in Tizaujvaro in 2004.

First places at the Ironman World Championship qualifying series:
2003 Ironman Lake Placid, Kirill Litovtšenko
2005, 2006 Ironman Lanzarote, Ain-Alar Juhanson
2006 Ironman New Zealand, Ain-Alar Juhanson
2009 Ironman Florida, Kirill Kotšegarov

 

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