Wright captures 10th place at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile

The 2023 Santiago Pan American Games triathlon held in Santiago, Chile took place on November 2nd, 2023. Matthew Wright was the lone competitor for Team Barbados in the Elite men category which fielded 36 athletes from across the Americas. The event consisted of a 1500m one-lap swim, 6 laps on the bike which equated to 37.8km, and a 10km run for 4 laps.  

Brazil’s Miguel Hidalgo was crowned the 2023 Pan American Games’ Champion after he powered through the finish line to edge Matthew Mc Elroy of the United States (01:46:09) by a mere one second to finish in an overall time of 01:46:08 hours. Crisanto Grajales of Mexico finished third in 01:46:11 hours and in another sprint finish for fourth place, Martin Sobey (Canada) finished just inches ahead of Seth Rider (USA) in 01:46:31 with Rider in 01:46:32 hours. Barbadian Matthew Wright finished in 10th place with a time of 1:47:23.

Two weeks removed from the hospital in an uncertain and rocky build-up to the Pan American Games, Wright mustered the strength to suit up in the blue, gold, and black for Team Barbados. Battling flu-like symptoms, Wright took the start of the race with confidence despite the choppy and cold Pacific 16-degree ocean waters.

With Diego Moya (CHI), Chase MacQueen (USA), and Seth Rider (USA) off quickly ahead to set the pace, Wright managed to exit the water with the main chase group into a quick bike transition. The race got quite tactical as the chase group caught up to the leaders with a few triathletes attacking and trying to make moves. Wright himself made a bold move on the hill as he tried to split the group up, however, this was to no avail as no one followed subsequently forcing him to drop back with the group as he tried to conserve his energy.

Going into the run with tired legs after making the daring push on the bike, Wright would see his competitors with fresher legs pass him by as they got off to a very quick start. A group of eight tightly formed ahead and insulated themselves in what were very windy conditions, whereby Wright who was unable to take the leap had to brace the conditions on his own.
Going into the run with tired legs after making the daring push on the bike, Wright would see his competitors with fresher legs pass him by as they got off to a very quick start. A group of eight tightly formed ahead and insulated themselves in what were very windy conditions, whereby Wright who was unable to take the leap had to brace the conditions on his own.

Brazilian favourite Manoel Messias who had the fastest run split of the day (29:49) picked off Wright on the home stretch for 9th place; Wright settled for 10th place with a 10km run split of 32:08.

Wright stated, “I didn’t even know if my body would be able to complete the race so I can’t complain, I’m proud of the fight and determination to get myself back on that start line.” Wright who had his best year yet, will compete in his final face for the year at the 2023 Americas Triathlon Cup Viña del Mar in Chile on November 12th.

For a complete list of race results and more information about the 2023 Pan American Games visit www.triathlon.org.

The success of Wright’s endeavours on the world circuit would not have been possible without the dedication and support of numerous individuals and organizations. BFIT expresses gratitude to Matthew Wright’s Team and Coach, Luke Watson, the Barbados Federation of Island Triathletes, The Barbados Olympic Association, and the Arts & Sports Promotion Fund for their contributions and assistance.

BFIT is the governing federation for triathlon and triathletes in Barbados. BFIT sanctions and organizes multi-sport events, which include Triathlon, Duathlon, and Aquathlon. For more information on future events and the sport of triathlon visit https://triathlonbarbados.com/ and/or contact triathlonbarbados@gmail.com. Join our Facebook Page: Barbados Triathlon and follow us on Instagram: 246bfit to keep informed on local and overseas races as well as new developments surrounding the sport.

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