A FLAT tyre left Fermanagh duathlete James Speight disappointed at the World Games in Columbia, however, it is an experience he won’t forget in a hurry.
The 20-year-old from Belnaleck was competing in a stadium of 40, 000 screaming spectators, something he’ll ‘never forgot’ last week.
Having finished fourth in the European u23 duathalon back in April, he moved on to the senior event at the World Games, held between July 25 and August 4 in Cali, Columbia.
“The opening ceremony as a whole was just sensational,” he told the Fermanagh Herald this week.
“I had goosebumps for two hours. As for the run, it was going to plan, but the conditions were very difficult, the heat was tough, 31 degrees, along with running 2000m meters above sea level.
“I got off to a good start, I got into a group of maybe 14/15 which contained a lot of Colombians, the support they got was crazy.
“This group ended up gaining a few drop offs from the group a above forming a nice bike group.”
The bike element was six laps of eight kilometres.
James explained: “I spent the first few laps staying out of trouble and getting fuel on board. I had a few turns at the front, just to keep the arguments away, riding at the front of a group with thousands of people screaming is something ill never forget.
“I got a flat on the fifth lap, out at the back of the course. I couldn’t believe it. I was devastated, I just sat on the side of the road for ten minutes trying to get my head around it.”
Describing the games as ‘much bigger’ than he could have imagined, James reflected on the ‘crazy’ Colombian fans.
“It’s strange, people stopped me and other athletes on the road or in shops asking for pictures and autographs. I even signed a baby’s head.
“I fly home in the next few days, I’m going to do a bit of exploring, go see as many other sports as possible. I’m looking forward to eating some Colombian food, I’ve been living on plan pasta for about a week.
“ I’m obviously extremely disappointed with the race, however being apart of one of the biggest sporting event on the planet is magical. Something ill never forget.”
He also thanked those who have supported him.
“My coaches, training partners, family and especially my mum, without her support throughout the years I wouldn’t most definitely not be here.”
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