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Dominant Fenella Wightman grabs two golds on home soil at Carifta Games

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Carifta Aquathon at Clearwater (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Bermuda’s Fenella Wightman led the island’s charge at the Carifta Triathlon, Aquathlon and Mixed Relay Championships after winning two gold medals on home soil.

Not content with picking up the island’s first win of the championships at Clearwater Beach on Saturday in the girls’ 13-15 triathlon, Wightman completed a superb double on Sunday in the aquathlon. The 15-year-old spearheaded a Bermuda one-two in that race, finishing just six seconds ahead of compatriot Marleigh Howes after moving up from fifth position leaving the swim.

Wightman wrapped up her campaign with a silver medal in the mixed relay, taking the final leg to chase down her rival from Barbados on the run to help Bermuda’s first team finish second behind a dominant Aruba team.

Double delight: Fenella Wightman seals her second gold medal of the Carifta Triathlon, Aquathlon and Mixed Relay Championships (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“Overall I'm very, very happy, It was a perfect weekend really,” she said.

“I had a really good race yesterday, which I think set me up for the aquathlon today. my swim wasn't the greatest but I was confident in my run that I could catch the athletes ahead of me.

“It was a fight to the end but thankfully I managed to pick them off one by one and I'm just really pleased that I managed to get another gold.\

Carifta Triathlon picture gallery

“It's really special to have won these medals at a home event too. I have so many friends who were here on the course cheering me on, which really kept me motivated. Seeing all the flags and them cheering as I came towards the finish line was really amazing.”

Strong showing: Marleigh Howes claimed silver, finishing behind compatriot Fenella Wightman in the girls 13-15 Aquathon at Clearwater Beach (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Earlier in the weekend, Wightman had taken a leaf out of Flora Duffy’s book by leading most of the way to win her first gold medal.

Carifta Triathlon at Clearwater Beach (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Wightman grabbed the lead from the transition area after the swim to win the girls triathlon by nearly two minutes in a time of 35min 35sec and was thrilled with her performance.

“I’m very happy,” Wightman said. “I think everything lined up so I was hoping for a good race especially after it was postponed in September. I had a good swim and cycle and I was thinking just on the run to continue the lead and I managed to do that, so overall I’m very happy.”

Much like Duffy did in her first WTCS series win in Bermuda, Wightman did the damage on the bike distancing her rivals by some margin on the second leg.

“Over the past year or so I’ve been working really hard on my cycle and I’ve been training with the boys, riding as hard as I can,” Wightman said.

Dominant display: Bermuda’s Fenella Wightman led the island’s charge at the Carifta Triathlon, Aquathlon and Mixed Relay Championships after winning two gold medals on home soil. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Plenty of Bermuda fans were on hand at Clearwater Beach (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Plenty of fans on hand at Clearwater Beach (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“In my category in Bermuda, I’m one of very few girls so I usually end up riding alone so it played to my strengths. With it being windy, I was able to tuck my head in on the bike and just ride.”

Wightman came into the race with high expectations after a good year of competition and revealed she would have been disappointed if she had failed to make the podium.

“I was really hoping for a medal,” the 15-year-old said. “I went in March to Clermont, Florida, to compete in one of the U.S. cups and I did pretty well there so I knew where I was compared with the U.S athletes and I was hopeful that I would keep improving.

Although she had plenty of time to spare on her nearest challengers, Wightman only allowed herself the luxury of easing up in the last hard yards

“Towards the last 200 metres, I started to accept it but anything can happen in triathlon so I was just focusing on running fast and making sure I did everything to get to the finish line and Bermuda’s crowds helped a lot,” she said

With Wightman’s victory less than a week after Duffy’s majestic win on the island, it’s clear that one of the world’s greatest athletes is a huge inspiration

“She’s such an inspiration especially as I’m a young, female triathlete,” Wightman said. “She’s also a really great person to look up to and everything about her is amazing.”

Ruling the waves: Marleigh Howes led from the water in the girls 13-15 Aquathlon before eventually settling for silver (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Runners enter the water for the triathlon (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published November 14, 2022 at 7:45 am (Updated November 14, 2022 at 7:45 am)

Dominant Fenella Wightman grabs two golds on home soil at Carifta Games

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