Edmontonians win bronze

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:23 AM ET

KELOWNA -- Last year, Edmonton's Paula Findlay had an excuse for winning the Apple Triathlon.

"The Olympics were on," said Findlay, who's been training in Victoria the last six months.

Yesterday, Findlay put on a gritty showing in a bronze-medal performance at the Canadian national championship behind 2008 Canadian Olympians Lauren Groves and Kathy Tremblay.

In the men's elite division, 2008 Olympian Paul Tichelaar of Edmonton was edged out in a photo finish by Ontario's Kyle Jones for second place behind Olympic silver medallist Simon Whitfield.

Tichelaar had warmed up for this event with a first-place finish at the 10K event at the Edmonton Marathon last Sunday.

Findlay put on a late kick to shake off an injury-riddled season that threatened to hamper her performance.

"Both the girls that finished ahead of me were at the Olympics so, yeah, I'm pretty happy with where I finished today," said Findlay. "I couldn't have asked for anything else."

At 20 years old, seven years younger than the reigning Olympians, there's no question Findlay is the face of the future for the Canadian triathlon team.

Due to a knee injury, Findlay was unsure that she'd even be able to finish the run portion of the triathlon.

"I had a stress fracture in my foot and now I have a knee injury, so I was real happy to get through the race. I tried to finish the run without any pain," she said.

"Without too much training, I'm really happy about it. I went into it expecting to do well only in the swim/bike. I just started the run, saw how it felt and saw it was OK, so I decided to finish."

Tichelaar's third-place finish was somewhat controversial, as his kick at the finish line was hampered by another triathlete he was about to lap.

"I went at about 800 to go and went back and forth with Kyle," said Tichelaar. "I lost one step coming around a lapped athlete. We just leaned to the line and it was too close to call.

"It would have been perfect if they had a camera set up there."

Tichelaar slowed down a bit to avoid a collision, but figured it all came down to a judgment call.

"I thought I had him, too," said Tichelaar. "It was two inches, maybe. I was disappointed not to get it. Too bad they didn't have a photo. They only had two officials calling it at the line."

Tichelaar may have lost his chance earlier. He was a bit slow out of the water and ended up unable to catch Whitfield, who finished the Olympic distance in just over one hour and 53 minutes.

"I spent all my energy catching up on the first three laps (in the bike portion)," said Tichelaar.


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