Friday 30 September 2016

Hero Brownlee brother accused of 'taking swimming hat and goggles' of fellow triathlon competitor

Mark Critchley

Published 20/09/2016 | 13:14

British athlete Alistair Brownlee (L) helps his brother Jonathan Brownlee (R) before crossing the line in second and third place during the ITU World Triathlon Championships 2016 in Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
British athlete Alistair Brownlee (L) helps his brother Jonathan Brownlee (R) before crossing the line in second and third place during the ITU World Triathlon Championships 2016 in Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Mario Mola, the Spanish triathlete who was crowned World Triathlon Series champion on Sunday, has claimed Jonny Brownlee’s brother Alistair obstructed him during the final race.

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Jonny was Mola’s closest challenger going into the race, but could only win the title if he finished first and his rival placed fifth or lower.

Jonny led in the closing stages of the race yet broke down while victory was in sight and had to be helped over the finish line by his elder sibling.

Alistair’s gesture was not enough to crown Jonny champion, but it has earned plaudits across the sporting world and caused the odds on him being named BBC Sports Personality of the Year to be slashed.

Mola, however, has claimed Alistair took his hat and goggles during the swimming leg of the race.

"I don't know who removed my hat and goggles off me in the swimming leg but I'm almost sure it's the older of the Brownlees," Mola told Radio Cope.

Watch the drama below:

"I'd like to think it wasn't intentional, but in the case that it was, I think it was totally unnecessary.

"After the finish, Jonny Brownlee gave me his congratulations. With him I've always had a good relationship. Alistair, he didn't give me any."

The Spanish Triathlon Federation appealed to have Jonny disqualified for accepting assistance following the final race, which was won by South Africa’s Henri Schoeman.

The International Triathlon Union, however, dismissed the appeal. Triathletes may accept help, according to the competition’s rules.

Jonny has since said that while he will remember his brother’s act of sportsmanship, he does not want to be known as “the guy who looked like a wobbly horse”.

Alistair has since claimed that he would have done the same thing for any athlete in distress, not only his brother.

“I've been in that position before, in London maybe six years ago. I remember being in second trying to win the race and then waking up and being told I'd come 10th.

“I was like: 'Why didn't all those people who came past me help me out?'. So I didn't give it a second thought. I just had to help him.”

(© Independent News Service)

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