Jesse Featonby defends Osaka Cup crown

Jesse Featonby has defended his Osaka Cup title.

ALBURY triathlete Jesse Featonby has described winning Japan’s Osaka ITU Premium Cup in front of his father Greg as equal to anything he has achieved in the sport.

Featonby, who made it back-to-back victories by winning the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre ride and five-kilometre run in 58 minutes, 59 seconds, said the well-known Border cyclist had been the biggest influence on his career.

“To win with dad over watching me meant so much,” Featonby said yesterday.

“I can’t describe the feeling as it was so special and a memory I think we will both cherish for a long time.

“It’s difficult for mum and dad to watch me race as the events are so expensive to get to.

“It was good just to have him over there, but then to top it off with a win was just awesome.

“He’s been by my side in some pretty low points in my career so it was good to finally have him there for one of the highs.”

Featonby will spend the next few days recuperating from Sunday’s gruelling race before turning his attention to the ITU World Cup Triathlon in China on July 26.

The former Nail Can Hill winner defied searing temperatures and a strong 76-man field to win at the weekend.

Despite the swim being his weakest leg, Featonby came out of the water in the top 10 and improved his position during the ride with a strong Australian and New Zealand contingent leading the way.

He then made a fast transition and established a 10-second gap on the rest of the field which he held for the rest of the race.

“It was incredibly special after winning this event,” he said.

“It’s a big achievement to win an international event but to go back being favourite and defend is a massive achievement and something I’m really proud of.”

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