Alistair Brownlee to defend Commonwealth Games title on Gold Coast

Alistair Brownlee has confirmed he will put his Ironman dreams on hold to target another Commonwealth Games triathlon title on the Gold Coast early next year.

Team Englands triathlon squad for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Back row from left: Jess Learmonth, Alistair Brownlee, Tom Bishop. Front: Lizzie Tench.

The 29-year-old from Leeds had taken time out after defending his Olympic crown in Rio to focus on longer-distance races but a hip operation earlier this year has prompted him to reconsider his short-term goals.

Brownlee, who won individual and mixed relay golds in Glasgow in 2014, will be joined by his brother Jonny at the Games in April.

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Brownlee said: “I have been very clear that I didn’t want to make any fixed decisions about my future but I wanted to take a step back after focusing for 10 years of my life on the Olympics.

“Obviously the year didn’t work out how I would have liked because of my hip operation, but just the process of going through training and learning about a different sport was very valuable.

“But I think I would always have tried to qualify for Gold Coast – even if it had been in 10,000m or the marathon. The Commonwealth Games has always meant a lot to me and I am motivated to race for England in a place which is a real heartland of the sport.”

Brownlee made an apparently seamless transition to the longer distances, winning on his debut in Gran Canaria and again in Utah, and admitted he still hoped to one day be in a position to compete in his sport’s ultimate event.

He added: “The World Ironman Championships in Hawaii is something every triathlete wants to do – I’ve been a triathlete since the age of eight and I’ve followed it and known about it all these years.

“I definitely want to do it at some point but whether I have to delay those dreams a little bit longer or not, we’ll have to see.”

European Paratriathlon champion Jade Jones-Hall competed for Team England in Glasgow 2014 on the track, winning a bronze medal in the T54 1500m event. She will make her triathlon debut for Team England, along with 2017 Paratriathlon World Cup silver medallist, Lizzie Tench. Tom Bishop, Mark Conway, Sophie Coldwell, Jess Learmonth and Joe Townsend will also be competing at their first ever Commonwealth Games.