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Triathlete Barclay basking in golden glow

By's John Whiting

Published: 5:54PM Monday August 16, 2010 Source: ONE Sport

Triathlete Aaron Barclay believes an aggressive approach was the key to winning gold at the Youth Olympics today.

Barclay won the event in a scorching time of 54:41, becoming New Zealand's first ever medal winner at the event.

The 17-year-old Southlander was near the front coming out of the water and first off the bike.

Overtaken halfway into the 5km run by American Kevin McDowell, Barclay mustered every ounce of energy left in his body to surge back into first place.

He said his aggressive approach helped him build a lead over the chasing pack which was huge with the finish line closing in.

"I didn't know any of [my opponents] so I had to be aggressive and race really strong," Barclay said after the race.

"I took a bit of a risk coming into transition and thought I'd see how they responded to it. They didn't know me so they didn't chase, I got a bit of a lead and went from there.

"I was really hurting in that first 1km [of the run] and I just tried to slow it down a bit and run steady.

"I stuck on [McDowell's] tail and slowly he started fading back. I was on the verge of blowing that whole time."

It's not bad for a teenager from the deep south who admits to training in a gravel pit.

Barclay calls Riversdale home but boards at Gore High School during the week which allows him to train with his coach.

He's Gore only triathlete, which means he does all his training solo and relies on sheer determination to keep him striving for more.

And despite today's golden effort, the hard work isn't over.

Barclay has a day off to bask in his success before taking part in the mixed event with teammate Maddie Dillon on Thursday.

Then it's back home to put in a few weeks of hard training before the world championships in Europe.

"It's pretty incredible really. I don't really know what to say.

"I've got to keep level headed. Now I know what my potential is so I'll keep it going from here and aiming higher and higher."