Sporting Achievement of the Year Finalists: Andrea Hewitt

By Dana Johannsen

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Andrea Hewitt won the ITU World Cup Auckland event with class. Photo / Greg Bowker
Andrea Hewitt won the ITU World Cup Auckland event with class. Photo / Greg Bowker

She's the pint-sized athlete achieving big things on the world triathlon circuit.

Kiwi triathlete Andrea Hewitt established herself as a genuine medal prospect for London next year, recording three straight wins in a blistering finish to the season.

The most significant win was her gutsy performance in the ITU world championship grand final in Beijing, the biggest event on the triathlon calendar this year.

After two thirds and two fourths earlier in the year, Hewitt proved she could win when it mattered most.

The 29-year-old came into the grand final in fourth place overall in the championship. Knowing she needed a strong performance to finish the season in the top three, she did so in style. The tough Cantabrian out-kicked Great Britain's Helen Jenkins - the most dominant female triathlete all season and world No1 - inside the final kilometre to record a superb victory that propelled her to second in the world rankings.

Her unstoppable form continued on to Yokohama, the first ITU world championship event for the 2012 season, as Hewitt again triumphed in hot and humid conditions to claim her second win in as many weeks.

After a big year Hewitt would have been more than justified in taking a break and resting up ahead of what will be a demanding 2012 season. Indeed that's what most of the other top triathletes in the world were doing come October, with only those needing Olympic qualifying points continuing to plod away on the World Cup circuit.

But although Hewitt had already booked her ticket to next year's Games, she continued training so she could compete on her home track in last month's Barfoot & Thompson ITU World Cup race in Auckland.

Despite the tricky timing, Hewitt proved to be a class above the rest of the women's field.

She treated the local fans to a clinic in race control, positioning herself in the lead group out of the water, before setting a red-hot pace on the bike leg to whittle down the contenders. One lap into the run it was clear the race was hers, as her challengers struggled on their feet after the demanding bike leg.

Hewitt blitzed the field, crossing the finish line nearly a minute ahead of her nearest rival, looking remarkably fresh. As one journalist noted: "She looks like she could do it again".

She would surely be glad to oblige - in London.

- NZ Herald

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