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Triathlon Ireland says it did not ‘sanction’ the Ironman swim race that killed two men in Co Cork

Triathlon Ireland has said its officials did not authorize a swim race in which two participants died.

The men, in their 40s and 60s, get into trouble in individual incidents during the swim leg of the Ironman event at Youghal, Co Cork on Sunday.

Triathlon Ireland chief executive Darren Coombes said officials did not authorize the swim race due to “adverse conditions on the day”.

Competitors in the Ironman competition this morning in Cork
Participants in the Ironman competition in Cork. Image: Tri trainer Björn

He said: “At the Ironman Cork event, as usual, Triathlon Ireland's technical officers were present prior to the start of the race to review conditions and conduct a water safety assessment.”

“Due to the adverse conditions that day, Triathlon Ireland's technical officers confirmed to the race organizers that it was not possible to sanction the race.

“As an investigation is ongoing, it would not be appropriate for us to make any further comments at this time, simply to state that Triathlon Ireland will provide any assistance required by the authorities.”

Mr Coombes also named the two deceased men as Ivan Chittenden and Brendan Wall.

“We once again extend our heartfelt condolences to the families,” he added.

“The triathlon community is a very tight-knit community and this loss has had a devastating impact on all of us.”

The two men were pulled from the water by rescue workers after getting into trouble but were pronounced dead at the scene.

Irish police said they were investigating and the coroner had been notified.

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The event had been postponed to Saturday due to flooding and poor track conditions following Storm Betty.

It consisted of a 1.9 km swim at Youghal Bay, a 90 km bike course and a 21.1 km run.

Due to bad weather conditions, the swim distance had already been shortened to 3.8 km.

The race continued and the competitors were allowed to finish despite the double tragedy in the first leg of the race.

In a statement, organizers said: “We are deeply saddened to confirm the deaths of two racers at Ironman 70.3 Ireland, Cork 2023.”

“During the swim portion of Sunday's race, security personnel provided immediate medical assistance when they realized the athletes needed assistance.

“We share our deepest sympathy with the families and friends of the athletes and will continue to offer them our support as they get through this very difficult time.”

Youghal, Co Cork Image: Google Street View
Youghal, Co Cork Image: Google Street View

“We thank the security personnel and first responders who worked quickly to provide medical assistance to the athletes.”

“Out of respect for the privacy of families and athletes, we will not comment further.”

Cork County Council said in a statement it was “deeply saddened by the tragic loss”.

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