Andrews Set On Giving Olympics A Tri

Sydney Morning Herald

Saturday February 3, 1996

JACQUELIN MAGNAY

He's nuggety, powerful and an immensely talented athlete. He swims like a fish, runs like a gazelle and rides like the wind. A natural for triathlon, really.

He's been on the fringes of the sport for a while, competing in two races this season to see how he would go. He finished fourth and a minute shy of the professionals.

That's not too much to catch up to qualify for the world championships as an agegrouper, and it is a respectable start to the big goal of competing in the triathlon at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

But Guy Andrews is not a triathlete, he's an ironman.

He may be the most successful this season, having already wrapped up the Uncle Tobys Superseries with one round still to go at North Wollongong on Sunday, and equalled Trevor Hendy's three consecutive preliminary round triumphs, but Andrews still has to prove himself to the the close-knit triathlon community, which has seen many an athlete boast proudly and then fail miserably.

All will become clear in the next six months.

Andrews, 25, has been invited to compete in the St George Bank grand prix series and will take part in the penultimate and final races at Twin Waters and Sydney in late March.

He will have six short weeks of specific triathlon training, starting next Monday, to adapt his surfing ability to the multi-disciplined sport and at the same time try to convince the sceptics that the skills are largely interchangeable.

Then he'll target the national championships in April, hoping to make the national team as an age-group competitor.

Another ironman, the Coolangatta Gold glamour boy Guy Leech, has already tried the same route in a desire for a fresh challenge.

Leech competed last year in the triathlon series, struggled with the road running and technical bike skills, was never competitive and retired.

"As far as sponsorship for the triathlon goes, no-one will touch me because they think I'm just another ironman," Andrews said.

"Half of the people are expecting a total disaster, but the upside of that is that I have nothing to live up to and if I beat anybody I am doing well. But I'm pretty definite I'm not going to make a fool of myself."

Anybody who has watched Andrews carve up the Superseries this year will be confident that the surf star has the grit and guts to combat the gruelling Olympic triathlon courses, never mind the shorter and circuitous grand prix-style races.

He won the series, backing up from his overall victory in 1992-93, with a third placing a fortnight ago in Portsea.

Andrews was on course for an unprecedented four wins in succession, but an ankle injury, later found to be a severe tear of the lateral ligaments, affected his swimming kick and soft sand running.

The injury is still niggling, and Andrews has cut out all running, except between physiotherapists, to allow it to heal.

"I've never pulled out of an ironman race, so I will finish this Sunday," he said. "Even with the injury I think I have got a good chance of winning and a minimal chance of aggravating the ankle."

Andrews's rivals will be involved in a contest of another kind, trying to make the top-20 cut to earn a professional contract for the series next year.

Those in the danger zone for the 75-minute continuous sprint format are placed from 18 to 25, including Jon Robinson (19th), Brett Tyack (22nd), Nathan Meyer (19th) and Michael Walker (20th).

© 1996 Sydney Morning Herald

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