October 1, 2023

Ironman swimming race in Ireland in which two died did not have approval

2 min read

An Ironman swimming race in which two competitors died was not sanctioned by the governing body for triathlons in Ireland due to concerns about “adverse conditions”.

Triathlon Ireland said it had not sanctioned the Ironman Cork event in Youghal because of the weather.

Ivan Chittenden, who was in his 60s and from Toronto in Canada, and Brendan Wall, who was in his 40s and living in the UK but originally from Co Meath, died competing in the swimming segment of the event at Claycastle beach on Sunday.

Postmortem examinations were taking place and the exact cause of their deaths had not yet been confirmed.

In a statement on its website, the head of Triathlon Ireland said an investigation was under way. Darren Coombes, the CEO, said the organisation is reeling from the deaths of the men competing in the Ironman Cork event in Youghal.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Ivan’s and Brendan’s loved ones,” he said. “The triathlon community is a very close community and this loss has had a devastating effect on all of us.”

He went on to say Triathlon Ireland officials did not sanction the swimming race owing to adverse conditions. “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.”

Cork county council said: “Our thoughts are with those who have been affected and we are currently offering every assistance required to the Ironman Group and all those impacted.”

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 (56-mile) cycle and a long-distance run

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