Hong Kong triathlete Oscar Coggins wins Asian Under-23 Championships, gives 2024 Paris Olympics hopes a boost
- Olympian beats local favourite Daryn Konysbayev to gold in Kazakhstan, with China’s Chen Qing finishing third
- On a good day for the city’s triathletes, Charlotte Hall claims bronze in the junior women’s race
Hong Kong triathlete Oscar Coggins gave his hopes of qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics a boost over the weekend, winning the Asia Under-23 Championships in Kazakhstan.
The 22-year-old pipped the local favourite Daryn Konysbayev in a race that was not decided until the 10km run at the end. China’s Chen Qing was third.
It was a good day for Hong Kong’s triathletes, Jason Ng Tai-long and Nicholas Tsang Cheung-sing finishing fourth and fifth, respectively in the men’s race.
In the junior women’s event, Charlotte Hall took bronze behind the Japanese pair of Mako Hiraizumi and Manami Hayashi, while compatriot Pauline Courret was fourth.
But Bailee Brown, who won bronze as part of Hong Kong’s mixed relay team at the 2018 Asian Games, missed out after catching Covid-19.
“I’m satisfied with the results of most of our squad. We had a lot of athletes in the top 8,” Andrew Wright, head coach of the team, said. “We also had three key athletes missing due to Covid which lost us some results.”
Coggins, who represented Hong Kong at the Tokyo Olympics last year, was second out of the water in the men’s race, finishing the 1.5km swim in 19 minutes and 4 seconds, just behind Japan’s Mitsuho Mochizuki (18:30).
Kronsbayev was well behind at that point after finishing his swim in 21:07, and the 40km bike saw Coggins and Mochizuki go neck-and-neck around the Nur-Sultan course.
There was nothing to separate the two through the second transition, but while Coggins powered through the run in 32:33, Mochizuki fell away, clocking a 38:24 to eventually finish eighth in 1:57:03.
Coggins ultimately cruised home almost a minute ahead of Kronsbayev, finishing in 1:51:14, with the Kazak crossing the line in 1:52:09, and Chen in 1:52:56. Ng and Tsang rounded out the top five in 1:53:44 and 1:54:04, respectively.
Wright said that Coggins and a number of other Hong Kong triathletes would now be sent to the UK for a six-week training camp with the British national team at Loughborough University.
“Our plan is to race as much as possible for the preparation of the Asian Games and also the Olympic qualification,” Wright said.
The Great Britain team won one gold and two silver medals in triathlon at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing first in the mixed relay and second in both the men’s and women’s individual events. In addition to Coggins, Hilda Choi Yan-yin and Bailee Brown, will also attend the camp.
With the next Olympic qualifying cycle already under way, the first chance for Hong Kong’s triathletes to earning ranking points will be at the Asian Championships in September in Kazakhstan.
“We’re still not sure about the Asian Championships,” Wan Shu-wah, vice-president of the Hong Kong Triathlon Association, said. “It’s on the schedule but there is no final confirmation, so we’ll just prepare well for it.
“We hope we don’t have just one triathlete competing in the Olympics, we’re aiming for one man and one woman to go to Paris.”