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Matt Sharpe collects silver in Mooloolaba

Battling injuries over the past few years, Victoria’s Matt Sharpe showed that hard work and determination pays off with a second place finish at the ITU Oceania Cup in Mooloolaba, Australia today.

“I was pretty emotional at the finish. I’ve been either injured or rehabbing since early 2013 and only since last fall have I been able to train uninterrupted. It’s been a long time,” said the 23-year-old Sharpe, to Triathlon Canada. “I’m grateful for the support from my family, my coach Jamie Turner and my training partners in the Wollongong Wizards squad because there’s no way I’d be here without them. I was expecting a good result today. My training has been strong over the last couple of months and I believed I could win.”

The race started out with a 1.5km surf swim, off the southern end of Mooloolaba beach, followed by an unusual 800m soft sand run, before entering transition that led the pack out onto a 40km out-and-back bike course and the final 10km run.

“We had a fast swim and onto the bike a group of six of us held off a well- organized chase pack of almost 20 athletes,” added Sharpe. “I had a ton of fatigue going onto the run, but I still wanted to put the pressure on the other athletes and make it mine to lose. I led till about 7km, and an athlete came by me and he was gone.”

With Australia’s Daniel Coleman running away to the gold with a time of 1:50:25, Sharpe, the lone Canadian in the race, played cat and mouse with Joel Tobin White (Australia) over the final two kilometres, but it was the Canadian who won the sprint to the silver medal spot on the podium. Tobin White won the bronze at 1:50:56.

“About to fly back to Wollongong. Stoked with second. Definitely feeling the love from you guys. It means a lot,” said Sharpe on Twitter.

The Triathlon Oceania Cup is a development level race which often welcomes World Cup and World Triathlon Series athletes.

ITU Oceania Cup Top 5 Elite Men (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run):

1. Daniel Coleman (AUS) 1:50:25

2. Matt Sharpe (CAN) 1:50:52

3. Joel Tobin White (AUS) 1:50:56

4. Josh Izewski (USA) 1:51:02

5. Marcel Walkington (AUS) 1:51:19