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Dodds Reluctantly Pulls the Pin

Dodds Reluctantly Pulls the Pin on the Chicago World Series Grand Final

A disappointed and yet philosophical Tony Dodds has made the tough call not to race in the season ending ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Chicago next week, with the world number 20 succumbing to a nagging hip injury that has hindered his training for the past 8 weeks and ruined any chance of strong performances at races in Hamburg, Rio and last weekend Edmonton.

Prior to the injury Dodds had otherwise enjoyed a breakthrough season with the first half of the year his best as an elite triathlete, showing great improvement under the guidance of Tri NZ coach Tim Brazier, recording three top 11 finishes in World Series racing this year and a 4th place in an ITU World Cup, with his 8thplace finish in London also partially meeting the criteria for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, putting Dodds very much on track for a nomination.

The injury suffered in a bike crash while training in July however has not cleared up sufficiently to allow the Wanaka athlete the ability to complete his training schedule and as a consequence, has had an impact on his ability to race, as highlighted with his 31st place finish in Edmonton last weekend and earlier impacting on Hamburg WTS and Rio (the Olympic test event). Had Dodds been able to compete unhindered by injury throughout the year, his world ranking of20 may well have been considerably improved based on his early season performances.

Dodds says the decision is disappointing on the back of what had otherwise been a promising season.

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“My form had been looking better all season, I had a good plan and I was growing in confidence each time I raced and my performances reflected that. But that fall before Hamburg has taken a toll on me and no longer can I race the rest of the season as was planned.

“Edmonton was the last straw, Roné (Tri NZ physio Roné Thompson) has been working on my hip every day to manage it and has done an amazing job to get me through a reduced training load and on to the start line in Canada. But it has been a long two months with constant pain and I have to look at the bigger picture that is Rio next year - if I get selected of course!

“I can't risk further aggravating the injury now which would risk me even being on the start line next year, let alone in shape to achieve my goals. It's a very hard decision as I really want to race Chicago, but realistically my hip is not going to hold up for the 10 kilometre run.

“I have achieved some good results earlier this year and my form was only going upwards prior to the injury, but these things happen and are just small detours along the way, my focus now is to get healthy and stay on that path to my end goal, contending for a medal at the Rio Olympic Games, something I still firmly believe I can be in a position to do once healthy and with a great base of training under me this coming New Zealand summer.”

Tim Brazier says Dodds has had more than his share of bad luck with injuries and is confident that with rest and recovery, he can return stronger and faster next season.

“Tony will be taking this particularly hard, we all are knowing the work that he and others in the team have put in to achieving some very good results earlier this year. While he has been brilliantly managed by Roné and our medical team, Edmonton was a clear indication that he will not be ready for Chicago and will be better served by focusing on getting the injury right now for the home summer so he is ready to launch his 2016 campaign in the best condition possible.”

The decision leaves Ryan Sissons as the sole New Zealand male in the elite field in Chicago, he will be joined by Andrea Hewitt, Simone Ackermann, Rebecca Clarke and Rebecca Spence in the elite women’s field as well as a strong contingent of athletes in the U23 and Junior categories (see below).

ITU World Championships races in Chicago span from 17-19 September, with full event information here.


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