Ironman event where two men died 'was not sanctioned' by triathlon officials

A triathlon event which ended in tragedy after two competitors died was not sanctioned by Triathlon Ireland, the body has said.

The Ironman event held in Co Cork on Sunday saw competitors Ivan Chittenden, in his 60s, and Brendan Wall, in his 40s, die during the swimming segment of the triathlon.

They were swimming off Claycastle beach in Youghal when they died.

Triathlon Ireland said an investigation is underway – and confirmed officials had not sanctioned the swim section of the race due to adverse weather conditions.

Chief executive Darren Coombes said: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with Ivan’s and Brendan’s loved ones.

‘The triathlon community is a very close community and this loss has had a devastating effect on all of us.

‘Triathlon Ireland is the national governing body for triathlon in Ireland, a role which includes providing sanction for club and commercial races to proceed.

‘In our almost 40-year history, the sport in Ireland has an impeccable safety record.

‘For the Ironman Cork event, in line with normal practice, Triathlon Ireland technical officials attended before the start of the race to review the conditions and carry out a water safety assessment.

‘Due to adverse conditions on the day, Triathlon Ireland technical officials confirmed to the race organisers that it was not possible to sanction the race.

‘As there is an investigation ongoing, at this stage it would not be appropriate for us to make any further comment only to state that Triathlon Ireland will provide any assistance that the authorities require.’

Ivan was from Toronto in Canada, while Brendan was living in the UK but originally from Co Meath.

The triathlon community, which is described as being close knit, has been rocked by the news.

Phil Harris, a competitor from Co Down, said his thoughts and prayers were with the families of the men.

‘The weather conditions changed quite quickly whenever we were getting into the water. It wasn’t so bad once you got through the waves,’ he added.

The men had been competing in the half Ironman, a 70.3 mile half triathlon, which had been moved from Saturday to Sunday as a result of Storm Betty.

The event continued with a 90km cycle and a long-distance run.

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