by Jada Chambers
Australian Triathlete Jack Latham “couldn’t believe it” when he captured third place in the Triathlon at the Commonwealth Youth Games on his first attempt, just three years after he started playing the sport.
Not many people can say that on their first outing at the Commonwealth Youth Games they were able to stand on the podium to receive a medal. In fact, it may take some a lot longer than three years to gain the confidence to compete with top athletes on a world stage.
But in that space of time, the 17-year-old from Ulverstone, Tasmania has already competed in the mixed relay at the 2022 Oceania Triathlon Junior Cup Devonport, 2022 Oceania Triathlon Junior Championships Werribee (mixed junior relay), won gold in the 2023 Olympic Esports Week (mixed relay), and was “flabbergasted” to add a bronze medal to his collection from the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games (Youth men).
“I can’t believe it, third place in the Commonwealth Games. It just can’t get any better than that. It’s just amazing, first time, first try, I got third. I didn’t believe that I could. Once I was on the bike I thought that I was too far back from the ride to get the spot, but I ended up doing it and got the job done, I couldn’t have asked for more. “
Latham crossed the finish line with his hands over his face in awe and disbelief that on August 6, 2023 at Buccoo Beach Facility, Tobago, he finished just 13 seconds ahead of Maltese athlete Kai Azzopardi and 22 other athletes claiming the bronze medal for his country at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
“I saw the Maltese athlete up on the road on the grass. I was getting really drowsy in the eyes because of the heat and I can see the Maltese athlete and my eyes just went. Then I just thought now, I got another year, I’m gonna sprint for my life, I’m gonna make sure I get him and I ended up getting him and I’m just so happy and overwhelmed with emotions about it.”
The winner of the triathlon was Luke Holmes from Jersey, while Alex Robin from Scotland placed second.
Latham said that it took a lot of out of him to be prepared to perform on a world stage, and has spent the the last three years training and dedicating himself to the sport.
“It took a lot, lots of hours of training at home, lots of days just on the bike trainer outside; running, swimming at the local pool; just lots of sacrificing time and sacrificing events to go to, to put up for my training and not a lot of time seeing my mates and and having to battle in with schoolwork as well.”
Latham added that it was his support system that kept him going at moments when he felt like he wasn’t making any progress.
“I had a couple times when I had injuries when I felt I’m not going to get anywhere and I can’t get anywhere and I just feel depressed and sad about it, but I would rise up because of the people I have around me that can support me and make me a more mature athlete.
He said that he was aware of the reputation that Australians have built for them over the years in the sporting industry, and knew that there was a lot at stake.
“I knew Australia did well in all sporting games, especially the Commonwealth Games. I had a lot of people to impress and I knew I had a lot of at stake. I knew I had to perform for my country…and for the people I’m representing…”
Jada Chambers is a 19-year-old multimedia journalist from St Vincent and the Grenadines. Jada has a passion for writing poetry and stories. She intends to pursue studies in English and Creative Writing in order to achieve her dream of becoming a novelist.