Triathlete Hayden Wilde praised for sportsmanship at end of Commonwealth Games race

Hayden Wilde was saluted for his outstanding sportsmanship at the end of the men’s triathlon race at the Commonwealth Games.

The New Zealand athlete had to settle for silver on Friday in Birmingham with close friend and English rival Alex Yee edging him for gold.

There was a touching moment approaching the finish line when Wilde shared a high five with Yee, before serving his 10-second time penalty.

Wilde and Yee were denied a thrilling sprint finish after the Kiwi was handed a 10-second penalty earlier in the race for removing his helmet too early at the end of the cycle leg.

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Triathlon rules state a helmet must be on the athlete’s head and secured before removing the bike from racking, and remain that way “until the bike is securely racked again”.

“There was a high five between the two. There is great spirit there,” said the television commentator.

Wilde’s gesture drew plenty of praise on Twitter with Newsroom’s LockerRoom editor Suzanne McFadden tweeting: “Unfortunate to cop a draconian looking penalty but such sportsmanship for the Kiwi.”

Hayden Wilde wanders over to congratulate England's Alex Yee after the men's triathlon race.

Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Hayden Wilde wanders over to congratulate England’s Alex Yee after the men’s triathlon race.

The official New Zealand Team Commonwealth Games page wrote: “Sportsmanship at its finest. You did us proud Hayden Wilde.”

Wilde and Yee have a competitive, but respectful rivalry with the Englishman capturing silver at last year’s Tokyo Olympics and Wilde nabbing bronze.

At the world triathlon series in Yokohama in May they also fought out a classic with Yee holding off the New Zealander.

There was strong sportsmanship shown again between the pair there. Yee reached for a water bottle on the left side of the course, but after only a quick squirt, he realized Wilde hadn’t been in position to grab his own drink. He swiftly switched the bottle to his right hand and proceeded to offer it to the Kiwi behind his back.

Wilde has protested the time penalty decision, which may take up to 30 days to adjudicate on and could possibly see him promoted to dual gold with Yee.

“I don’t want to take anything off Alex, he deserved that medal. That’s happened before, that there’s been a double gold medal,” Wilde said after the race.

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