After having one of his best races on Saturday, Tauranga triathlete Hayden Wilde suffered an elbow to the face in his final Super League Triathlon race rattling his chances of a top four spot.
The 21-year-old Tauranga-based triathlete was in fifth place going into the fourth and final round of the series in Singapore, and his third placing in the eliminator event on Saturday meant he was pushing for fourth spot with just Sunday's enduro race remaining.
The enduro race is a brutal test where athletes take on a 300m swim, 5km cycle, 1.6km run course – three times – with no break. At the end of each discipline, the final two athletes into the transition are eliminated.
Early in the first swim leg, Wilde copped a stray elbow to the head from a fellow competitor and while he toughed it out through the cycle and run legs, he dropped off the pack during the second swim and was eliminated when he reached the shore. Wilde struggled out of the water and looking a little groggy, was soon helped by officials.
"I got an elbow to the eye which really rattled the body," Wilde says.
"I later found out I had a concussion. I was all over the show on the bike and absolutely red-lining it in the run when the pace wasn't even that fast.
"I got into the water and the body went into survivor mode and barely made it out of the swim. I was gutted to finish that way, but I had one of my best races on the Saturday and it was the best feeling to get on to the podium.
"I kept my fifth overall ranking and was on the podium so overall I was very happy."
Wilde's Tauranga coach Craig Kirkwood says he spoke to Wilde late on Sunday night (NZT) and it is a shame Wilde was not able to finish the season the way he wanted.
"It is racing. This format is fast and furious, so likely it is to happen," Kirkwood says.
"In any level there is some degree of contact that is the nature of open water swimming.
"He showed with his third placing, and his efforts in the series, that he belongs there."
Wilde's fifth placing for the series means he has secured a contract for the next Super League. The top 10 finishers at the end of the season are seeded for the next season and are offered contracts, which includes financial and logistical support. The series was won by Frenchman Vincent Luis, who had a tense battle with South African Henri Schoeman and Brit Jonathan Brownlee who claimed second and third placings respectively in the series.
Wilde was scheduled to fly to Australia on Monday to compete as part of the New Zealand mixed relay team at the Oceanic championships in Tasmania. The mixed team relay event has been added to the Olympic schedule for next year and will have each athlete complete a super sprint triathlon before tagging a team mate.
Kirkwood, who has been coaching Wilde for the past two years, says the Super League will be beneficial to Wilde in his quest to compete at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.
"His rise has been pretty rapid, he is an incredible gifted athlete, he has a huge engine ad a lot of heart. He is committed to being the best athlete he can be."
Hayden Wilde's Super League Triathlon results: