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Canadian Juniors Rock in Cozumel

Charles Paquet highlighted the day for Canada with his runner-up finish in the junior men’s race at the ITU Triathlon World Championship, but his wasn’t the only impressive performance for the young Canadian team.

Oliver Blecher and Desirae Ridenour both finished sixth in their respective races, while Hannah Henry finished just out of the top ten with her 12th place finish. Both Ridenour and Henry are just 16, which means they’ll have a few more years of junior competition ahead of them. The third Canadian in the women’s race, Kyla Roy, finished 23rd. Brennan Smith was 51st in the hotly contested men’s race.

Halfway through the run Paquet held a lead of seven seconds on the men chasing behind, but he wasn’t able to hold off American Austin Hindman, who passed the Canadian with a few kilometers to go and held on for the win. Great Britain’s Ben Dijkstra took the bronze.

“I am really happy with the result,” Paquet said after the awards ceremony today. “I wasn’t expecting that place – I thought, maybe, if I’m lucky, I can finish third, but second place is awesome. For the first lap [of the run] I thought I was running well, but after 2 km I started to feel the heat and cramping. It was pretty hard. I went for the win, but Austin was faster today.

In addition to the tough competition, the athletes had to deal with oppressive heat and humidity. Event organizers have juggled the schedule as much as they can to try and run the races in the coolest part of the day, but could only delay the start of the men’s race today by a half hour (to 3:30) while the women went off at 5:30 and finished just before sunset.

American Taylor Knibb, who earlier this year finished third at the ITU World Cup in Montreal, dominated the women’s race, pulling away on the bike and holding off the field in the run to take the women’s championship. Behind her were Germany’s Lisa Tertsch and Korea’s Hye Rim Jeong.