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Triathlon perfection! Aussie duo's golden day

Posted: 11-Jul-2019 by PanAm Games 2019

Australia’s triathlon duo have defied the most unforgiving conditions imaginable to clinch an incredible double triumph at the Maccabi Pan-American Games in Mexico.

Both Daniel Rifkin and Alan Kaplan pushed themselves to the brink to claim gold on a remote course over two hours outside Mexico City, with the pair also gaining valuable time in the overall Maccabi Man competition.

Racing at 963m above sea level and in blistering 30-degree heat, the Aussies battle all day long in the face of sheer pain.

Rifkin flew out of the blocks, finishing the 1500m swim leg in a share of the lead with Mexican and American rivals. But from there the US competitor, a 21-year-old young gun, blitzed the field to claim the overall victory by a massive margin.

Daniel Rifkin (L) and Alan Kaplan (R) celebrate their gold medals!

The moustachioed Australian crossed the finish line in third, after a brutal two-hour plus ordeal. However, the two rivals who pipped him belonged to a lower age category meaning Rifkin claimed gold!

Meanwhile, Kaplan was fighting one of the hardest battles of his lengthy career. The veteran had come into the race under an illness cloud and was battling a stomach bug, as well as various other ailments but he wouldn’t allow it to get in the way of his goal.

The Aussie looked in serious discomfit as he crossed the line – and you couldn’t blame him after conquering the most gruelling of sporting challenges.

But it was all worth it soon after as the results came through, with confirmation Kaplan had emerged with a gold medal in his category. The smile was irreversible as he climbed the podium and receive his prize.

“I never stop,” Kaplan said with the gold medal around his neck.

“I never give up, that’s my motto. I tell my kids, number one, in life never ever give up, no matter what the adversity. It was tough, conditions were tough and mainly because I was really unwell. I don’t think most people would have started considering how I felt. I had a back strain, I was nauseous, terrible sore throat and cold, couldn’t even focus, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

“It’s all worth it. It’s not the medal, it’s the training, being part of the triathlon club and being healthy. It’s competing, its about doing the best you can because this is not about triathlon its about life. You can translate your efforts in exercise and competition to how you perform in life.

“So that’s my motto, just do the best you can, no matter what your ability and you’ll be a success in life.”

Kaplan in action in the cycling leg

Those wonderful words sum up a truly incredible triumph. Spectators were sweating it out just watching on in the sweltering heat, but our duo never wavered. It was the perfect day for Team Aus, with Rifkin and Kaplan the only representatives in action.

But their Games doesn’t end here. Both will fancy themselves to add further medals to the tally in the remaining events of the gruelling Maccabi Man – with an open water swim and half marathon to come in the next few days.

Following their heroic efforts in the harshest of the disciplines, there could be plenty more success on the agenda for the squad’s toughest athletes.