It was more relief than elation. A second Asian Junior Champs win in a row for Oscar and third for me as coach. Although yesterday was a tiring and stressful day, this morning I woke up with a smile on my face. A thought came to mind - victory is twice as sweet when nobody wants you to have it.
I generally don't like to write too much about these races in fear of being judged by overseas peers. Yes Asia is weaker for some sports and in theory should be easier to get results. However getting athletes involved in sports such as triathlon, to train up to a high level and then deal with the political gauntlet of getting them onto the start line is mentally and physically draining for both athlete and coach. So when a result like this comes to fruition it's definitely worth a quick blog.
On race day Oscar was a marked man that everyone wanted to beat. He couldn't do much on an easy course apart from play defensive and me getting his taper a bit wrong also didn't do him any favours. The great result in Subic Bay two weeks prior was a lot more draining than I realised and I should have backed off the training load much more, a lot earlier than I did.
During the race he looked awful, he said he felt awful. Knowing everybody watching wants you beat adds to the stress and needing a result to justify missing school heading into A level exams added to the bombshell of pressures that detonated on race morning. Two years ago at Asian Champs Oscar crashed out when he was favorite to win, something that still weighs on his mind in this particular race.
However his resilience, determination, will power and just fantastic intelligence weathered the storm. He covered every gap and made every decision correctly based on the race situation that played out in front of him. Watching him deal with the build up, the race and show such great sportsmanship on every level makes me confident he has what it takes. Standing there watching him struggle reminded me of a conversation I once had with a great coach. He said, “great athletes have a way of getting things done regardless of the conditions, the cream always rises to the top"
If any of my athletes are reading this I challenge you to step up and get after it. Everything you need is staring you in the face, it's up to you if you stare back or get to work and make it happen.