Russell White finished 48th in the men's triathlon at the Olympics on Monday. The County Down man completed the race in 1:54:40, just over nine minutes behind gold medallist Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway.
The 29-year-old had a tough qualification process, one which he believes affected his performance in Toyko. White broke his collarbone earlier this year and then spent five weeks continent hopping to qualify for the Games.
"I was on the back foot from the start, I didn’t get a great swim," he said after Monday's race.
"I thought after the first lap that I could maybe bridge up to that main group but it sort of split with about 300 to go and I just didn’t get on good feet.
"It made for a gruelling bike in a small group and having to really work hard - not much draft, a lot of gaps. Sprinting out of all the corners in such a small group, it did burn the legs out for the run.
"I’m absolutely honoured to be here today and compete for Ireland in the Olympic Games - but obviously, just not the performance I was looking for."
26 July 2021; Russell White of Ireland in action during the Men's Triathlon at the Odaiba Marine Park during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
After a false start - most unusual in a triathlon - the race got underway around 6:30m. White did not enjoy the early starts which were required to prepare for his race.
"It's been real hard," he said.
"A lot of our familiarisations with the course were early. This week, I have been getting up around that start time. Setting your alarm for 3am and having to eat at 3:30am is never nice, regardless if you're used to it for a week or not.
"Probably less than a month ago, I wasn't qualified for the Olympic Games. To be here today, I'm so happy. In hindsight, five races in five weekends on three continents was maybe just a bit too much. It took too much to get here in the first place to be in a position for a good performance."