SINGAPORE - It was a British sweep at the Arena Games Triathlon (AGT) Grand Final here on Saturday (May 7) as Alex Yee and Beth Potter were crowned the first e-sports triathlon world champions.
Despite finishing second in the Singapore leg, Yee clinched the overall title with 694 points, ahead of German Justus Nieschlag (678 points) and Frenchman Aurelien Raphael (563).
It was a similar situation for Potter as she ended the day four seconds behind Hungarian Zsanett Bragmayer but still claimed the championship with 713 points, ahead of Bragmayer (645) and fellow Briton Georgia Taylor-Brown (626).
The AGT is a hybrid event that features both physical and virtual elements. This week at the Marina Bay Reservoir, the participants had to complete a 200m open-water swim, 4km smart trainer bike leg and 1km self-powered curved treadmill run three times each.
New Zealand's Hayden Wilde, making his AGT 2022 debut, won the men's event in 36min 33sec. Yee was second in 36:42, while German Nieschlag took third in 37:02.
Yee, 24, was pleased with his result and paid tribute to his fellow competitors. He also noted that the heat and humidity, especially after a brief heavy shower, made it difficult to cool down.
He said: "I feel a bit bad for the others... luckily I raced well today and I'm glad I got the result today.
"I thought the racing couldn't get any harder, then it got harder today. It's been tough, this heat is crazy... I could see my heart rate the whole time and it's higher than it's ever been so it was very hard."
He managed to draw on his experience at the Tokyo Olympics, where he won the individual triathlon silver medal and the mixed triathlon relay gold, but added: "There was only so much I could do (to prepare for the heat) but I definitely suffered."
In the women's category, Potter and Bragmayer took turns leading before the latter triumph in 40:33, narrowly ahead of Potter (40:37)
Potter, 30, admitted that she did not feel well during Friday's heats due to the warm temperatures and made sure to eat and rest well before the final.
She said: "I tried to stay focused on each stage (today) as it was coming and you can never let up, you just have to go hard all the way to the end."
Singapore hosted the AGT, which started in the Netherlands in 2020, for the first time. The competition, powered by Zwift, is a partnership between Super League Triathlon and World Triathlon to grow a global e-sports world championship series.
Yee said he will take the lessons he learnt from the hybrid format to the traditional configuration as he prepares for the first leg of the 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series in Yokohama next week.
He added: "(The events) happen so fast so you have to think on your feet. Having to do these split-second decisions, yeah you make mistakes but it means that when you get to the outdoor racing, you don't make the same mistakes."