Noble shines on his way to 23rd at the Olympics
Enniskillen's Gavin Noble produced an impressive performance to finish 23rd in the Olympic triathlon, having briefly led the event during the bike ride.
The Enniskillen athlete showed little sign of the knee injury he had been carrying into the event as he positioned himself among the leading pack during the 1500 metre swim. He exited from the water in Hyde Park in 15th position from the field of the 55 triathletes, 28 seconds off the lead.
Prior to the Games Gavin had indicated that his race strategy would be to force his way into the lead pack during the 43 kilometre cycle and then hold on as best he could during the 10 kilometre run, and that is exactly what he seemed to be achieving when he pedalled to the front of the pack and briefly led the Olympic event as they raced through tens of thousands of spectators in London.
At the end of the cycle Gavin was within touching distance of the leading pack in eleventh spot and just three seconds back from the eventual winner Alastair Brownlee of Team GB, but he knew the run would provide the biggest challenge of the three disciplines. An injury to his right knee has hampered his Olympic preparations and prior to the start he was expecting that disruption to his training to become evident over the closing 10K. "I've been able to bike and swim, but I haven't been able to run with the pain," he revealed before the start. "I'm hobbling around like an old man most of the time, but when I am doing the running I just have to suck it up and get it done."
As predicted Gavin did start to slide down the overall classification as the run progressed, but roared on by family, friends and well-wishers he crossed the line in 23rd position in a time of 1:49:47, three minutes 22 seconds behind the gold medallist.
"If in two weeks, two months or 10 years, someone asks me about the Olympics, I'm not going to bang on about having a sore leg," said Gavin after the finish of the gruelling event. "If there are young guys out there in Ireland who are thinking about going to the Olympics, I'll tell them to embrace it and give up everything and pursue it relentlessly. I had a great swim. I was lucky that I had some good swimmers around me and we avoided the fighting. By the end of the first lap (of the bike ride), the opportunity for a top-25 finish was there. In reality, I wasn't coming here for the medal but was hoping for the highest place I could."
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 09 Aug 12