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Tommy Marshall out to grab another Carifta Games gold for Bermuda

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Tommy Marshall is confident he will be making up ground in the run leg

Just a week after the world’s best triathletes descended on Bermuda, some of the most promising young athletes from around the Caribbean are on island for the Carifta Games.

Originally scheduled for the middle of September, the Carifta Triathlon, Aquathlon and Mixed Team Relay was hastily rearranged as a result of the predicted impact of Hurricane Fiona, which eventually sideswiped the country the day before the event was due to be held.

With teams from across the region, including Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago providing plenty of participants, an exciting two days of competition is expected with the age-group triathlons kicking things off at Clearwater Beach in St David’s on Saturday morning at 8am.

Tommy Marshall in action on the bike in Front Street.

There are 39 athletes representing Bermuda, ranging in age from ten to 21 and in Tommy Marshall the island is represented by a young star who knows what it is like to win at this level.

Marshall took the gold at the 2019 Carifta games in Aquathlon (13-15 age group) and has gained plenty of experience since, racing in the United States, and he is hopeful that he can at least make it on to the podium this time around.

“I think in the US the competition is a little harder,” Marshall said. “Here, I’ve got more chance of getting on the podium. Most of the athletes I’ve raced against before and I won the aquathlon last time and I was leading the triathlon when I got a flat tyre, so I’ll be a little bit disappointed if I don’t make the podium.”

Marshall, 18, has recently moved to England and is studying construction and engineering at Loughborough, the most renowned sports university in the country and he is getting used to the new surroundings and training regimes.

“My training has changed a lot since I went to Loughborough,” Marshall said: It’s a bit different training in the cold. I’ve been doing indoor cycling quite a bit and the pool is nice but I like to do open-water swimming. I enjoy that a bit more. The run training is very good and some athletes that i’m training with there are running sub 15-minute 5ks.

“The calibre of athlete there is a lot higher and Alex Yee [finished 5th in the WTCS elite men’s race in Bermuda], I see him training there all the time and it pushes me to be a bit better.

“It’s definitely a goal of mine to become a professional athlete but I’m just going to see where the training at Loughborough takes me. There are lots of different squads there and you progress upwards within them as you get better.”

Tommy Marshall is confident he will be making up ground in the run leg

Having arrived back on the island last Friday, Marshall was in town to see an imperious Flora Duffy win on home soil and he is looking forward to making some lasting memories competing in front of friends and family.

“I think it’s really special,” Marshall said. “It makes you proud to be a Bermudian and everybody is there to watch you. There is a lot more support and people are going to be looking for the Bermuda jerseys and shouting your name. That will definitely make me push harder.”

Marshall is competing in all three events this weekend but the one he really wants to win is the triathlon and, while his nerves are less likely to be on show than two years ago, he is aware that his tactics need to be on point.

“I used to get very nervous when I was younger but I’ve moved out of that a bit now,” he said. “When it’s an international, I’ll be a little bit more nervous.

“The triathlon is definitely going to be my main focus as well as the team event. The swim is definitely my weakest leg of the three and I’ll be moving up in the bike and the run. I’ll need to find people of a similar speed to me on the bike and try to get in with them to make places.”

The two-month postponement means the weather is likely to be worse than ideal and Marshall is probably not alone in keeping a close eye on the weather forecast.

“I’ve looked at the weather for the race and it looks like the winds are coming straight into the bay, so it will be quite choppy and there will be 20mph winds on the ride,” Marshall said. “It’s all about tactics, where you position yourself on the swim and then on the bike to make sure you’re hiding from the wind.”

As long as he navigates his way through some potentially tricky conditions, Marshall could well be adding to his medal collection this weekend but win or lose, he will not have much time to celebrate or commiserate with friends and family.

“I fly back to England on Sunday night,” Marshall said. “I’ve got quite a lot of lectures next week and a lot of catch-up work to do.”

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Published November 12, 2022 at 7:49 am (Updated November 12, 2022 at 8:11 am)

Tommy Marshall out to grab another Carifta Games gold for Bermuda

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