Alistair Brownlee’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic fate could be decided on home roads of Leeds
The two-time reigning Olympic triathlon champion has yet to seal his spot on the Great Britain team for this summer’s Tokyo Games and there is only one place currently up for grabs.
Jonny Brownlee, third and second behind his older brother in London and Rio respectively, is the only man selected so far.
Alistair has had limited opportunities to race to prove he can still compete at the top end, and to make matters worse for the 33-year-old, he has been nursing an ankle injury back to full health.
He did not race in Yokohama last weekend, when young Briton Alex Yee put pressure on the selectors with a fourth-place finish.
The triathlon world converges on Leeds on Sunday, June 6, for the next leg of the World Championship Series and what is also the last big international meet before the Olympics.
A couple of World Cup races aside, it could be Brownlee’s last chance to punch his ticket to a fourth Olympic Games.
British Triathlon’s chief executive Andy Salmon serves on the selection committee and was understandably reticent to favour any athlete when speaking to The Yorkshire Post at an event at The Arium in Leeds to promote next month’s race.
“We have two spots on the start line at the moment, we’re working extremely hard over the next few races to secure another spot,” he said.
“We currently have one athlete in Jonny Brownlee selected, and it’s all eyes on who else might be selected.
“We’re looking at a whole range of performances, training data, past performances and we’ll make those selections after the race in Leeds.
“Alistair is one of those athletes where it would take a brave person to predict what Alistair is going to do or isn’t going to do.
“He’s just an incredible athlete as everybody knows, but it’s well known he’s had a bit of an injury recently. We’re all hoping that continues to improve.
“I gather he’s making really good progress. We’re absolutely expecting to see him racing in Leeds which is fantastic for the event, great for the people and fantastic for Alistair because we know how much he loves racing in Leeds.
“And we’ll see how things pan out.”
Unless Britain can qualify another spot in the remaining races, it does look to be a straight shootout between Alistair and Yee – a wealth of experience versus raw potential.
Yee, the 23-year-old from London who comes from a running background, finished fourth in Yokohama in what was only his fourth attempt at an Olympic distance triathlon.
Both men, plus Jonny Brownlee and the three British women selected for the Games; Leeds’s Jess Learmonth, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Vicky Holland, will be in Leeds on the first weekend of June for an event that will take place around Roundhay Park and will be open to 4,000 spectators on both days of amateur, elite and para-racing.
The organising committee of the AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Leeds is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability by sponsoring a tree for every elite athlete competing at the event as part of the Leeds City Council Woodland Creation Project.
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