Ashburton’s young multisport extraordinaire Matthew Clough has won his second silver medal at the ITU Multisport World Championships in Denmark.
Clough, 17, won silver in the under-19 aquathlon on Thursday, adding to the silver medal he won earlier in the week in the 18-19 year age group in the cross triathlon.
He came within just a few seconds of making that second medal a gold though, finishing in 31.25 minutes with the winner crossing the line in 31.18 minutes. An aquathlon is a 1km open water swim followed by a 5km run, and Clough came out of the water second.
“The course was covered in jellyfish, mostly everyone getting stung on the swim,” Clough said.
“I came out of the water with both arms and my face stung, but it’s the same for everyone and it didn’t slow me down. I had a super fast transition and chased a few guys down reasonably quickly.”
It was a hot day, with the temperature reaching about 28°C, which the Kiwis in the field weren’t used to, having made the trek to Europe from the New Zealand winter.
“The run was a bit of a battle but I ended up crossing over the line in second place,” Clough said.
“I had the fastest run time of the day so that is something that I am super proud of. I am so happy to be bringing home two medals from worlds this year, and being both silver makes me even more hungry to come back next year and chase down some gold.”
Clough’s first silver came in the cross tri, in the first year he has been eligible to compete in the race which is effectively an off-road triathlon, made up of a 1km open water swim, a 28km mountain bike ride and a 10km run.
Clough said race conditions for that one were near perfect. The water was about 19 degrees, and the air temperature was 23 degrees.
“I had a really good swim start, leading the pack the whole way,” Clough said.
He came out of the water first, almost two-and-a-half minutes in front of the rest of the field.
“Overall I had the fifth fastest swim time of the day, that’s including all of the professional men,” Clough said.
The mountain bike was a dry, technical course and Clough had a few near misses but stayed on the bike the whole way.
“One other boy in my age group came past me about a third of the way into the ride, and I pushed hard trying to not let him get too far in front,” Clough said.
“I think I pushed a bit too hard on the bike because when it came to the run I was in pain city.
“I went on to the run course 2 minutes and 40 seconds behind first. The first lap of the run I made up one minute on first place but really struggled through the second 5km lap on the run.”
Clough said overall he was happy with the race as he knew that he’d left every single bit of himself out on the course.
“To me, that is a personal win.”
With Denmark done, Clough will return home and have a short break before turning his attention to Maui, Hawaii, in October, where he will be competing at the World Xterra Championships.
– Erin Tasker