Hewitt Back To A Favourite Race Venue In Japan


Andrea Hewitt races at the next round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Yokohama, Japan this weekend with the chance to improve on her current Columbia Threadneedle World Ranking of 4 and does so in an environment that is both familiar and comfortable for the Cantabrian.

“I have had good races here before so it is nice to come back and it is always good to race in Japan. I won my U23 World Championships here in 2005, those are great memories and since then I have always enjoyed, it, the people are really nice, it can be really hot but not usually in May.”

Hewitt won this event in 2011 during a purple patch of form that also had her winning the ITU World Series Grand Final in Beijing in the space of two weeks. The 33 year old did not race last year though as she was by the side of fiancée and coach Laurent Vidal as he recovered from a heart attack. The Frenchman is now fully recovered and in good health but those events led to the two time Olympian turning to coaching fulltime.

Photo - Sportzhub

The timeline and a return to Yokohama is not of any sentimental significance to the ‘49%’ Kiwi though as he has eyes only on the future.

“No it doesn’t really make it any more special, I went through what I went through and it is in the past, I am in my new role now and it is quite successful already and Yokohama is just another one on the list. The coaching is something I was doing already, now I have more time to do it I am enjoying it and Andrea is as well, so I guess it is a good thing.”

Hewitt agrees, saying it has been a seamless transition in the relationship between the two, with some very obvious effects on how the Kiwi trains.

“Like Laurent says, he has more time to coach so the programme has changed, instead of doing some of his training I am doing my own now and instead of following him on the bike, it is me in the front with a couple of other girls and I am having to check my Quarq (power metre) to check my speed, it is a good challenge to my training though and an improvement and you can see that in my results.

“Change is always good, we did change each year but this is a bigger change because I am more in control of the pace I am doing and all three disciplines have benefited. The swim has gone down a bit since I broke my collarbone but I am building that up again but definitely this year my run has improved the most.”

For some time in the lead up to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Hewitt was reticent to look beyond those games and commit any further down the track but is now comfortable in looking ahead to the Rio Olympic Games as her next major event and an influence on all of her planning.

“I am now looking forward to Rio, it is not far away. I am going in August this year for the test event, that will exciting and next year will come around quickly I think.”

Right now though her attention is on this weekend’s World Series race in Yokohama and she has a simple formula if she is to succeed.

“I need to put all three disciplines together, starting with the swim. In the past things have come together a little on the bike on this course but things change in different races, I will have to see what happens on Saturday.”

Vidal too has an uncomplicated way of approaching racing.

“For me it is like any race, I just want her to enjoy it, the training has been good so it is the same as all races. She has been doing triathlon for a few years now and knows what she is doing, as long as she enjoys it I am happy.”

The athlete with the target on her back is without doubt Gwen Jorgensen, the tall American has won all three of her WTS events so far this season and is only second on the rankings because Katie Zaferes (USA) has competed in all four races so far.

“I can’t plan what Gwen is going to do,” said Hewitt. “I have to think about myself but of course if she is there on the bike I will be thinking it will be hard to beat her because she is running so fast at the moment. But I had chances last year and there will more chances again, I am just looking forward to Saturday. I have improved in all three disciplines and I can see it in my training and I just have to put it together in races.”

Rebecca Spence is the only other New Zealander racing in Yokohama, joining Hewitt in the elite women’s race as the former junior champion continues her return to the top level of the sport.


ITU World Triathlon Series
Yokohama, Japan

Saturday 16 May
Elite Women 1.05pm NZT
Elite Men 4.05pm NZT
Live coverage on SKY SPORT One