Triathlon Ireland’s officials have clarified that they did not endorse the swimming race in which two participants lost their lives. The unfortunate incidents occurred during the swimming segment of the Ironman event in Youghal, County Cork, last Sunday. Darren Coombes, the CEO of Triathlon Ireland, explained that due to adverse conditions on that day, the race was not given official approval by their technical officials. Coombes emphasized their commitment to providing any assistance required by authorities during the ongoing investigation.
He further identified the deceased men as Ivan Chittenden and Brendan Wall, expressing the organisation’s heartfelt condolences to their families and acknowledging the profound impact within the close-knit triathlon community.
Both individuals encountered difficulties during the swim and were subsequently recovered from the water by emergency services, unfortunately, they were declared deceased at the scene.
Irish law enforcement is conducting an investigation, with the coroner being informed. The event had been rescheduled from Saturday due to the aftermath of Storm Betty, which resulted in flooding and unfavourable course conditions. The race comprised a 1.9km swim in Youghal Bay, a 90km biking course, and a 21.1km run. Owing to inclement weather, the swim distance had already been shortened from 3.8km.
Despite the tragic incidents during the initial section of the race, the event continued, and participants were allowed to complete their respective courses.
In response, the event organisers expressed deep sorrow for the loss of the participants and conveyed their condolences to the athletes’ families and friends. They acknowledged the prompt actions of safety personnel and first responders who provided immediate medical assistance. The organisers also indicated their intention to respect the privacy of the affected families and athletes during this difficult period.
Additionally, Cork County Council issued a statement expressing their profound sadness over the tragic loss that occurred during the event.