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Walton Hopes for Repeat at L.A. Triathlon

September 06, 2003|John Ortega

Craig Walton will try to complete a double-double of sorts when he competes in the fourth Los Angeles Triathlon on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Australian won the Mrs. T's Triathlon in Chicago for the second time in a row on Aug. 25 and is favored to win his second consecutive Los Angeles title.

"I'm in good form at the moment and I feel good about my chances," Walton said. "I'm probably feeling more energetic before this race than I did before Chicago."

The Olympic-distance event, which consists of a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run, begins at Venice Beach. The finish is at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, near Olvera Street.

The top competitors will take part in the "elite" races, the men at 9 a.m. and the women at 9:05.

The open race begins at 6:30 a.m. A sprint, consisting of a swim of .4 miles, a 20-mile bike ride and a five-kilometer run, starts at 7:45 a.m.

Walton was slowed by a foot infection -- the result of a training accident in which he severely bruised his heel while making a flip turn in a swimming pool -- for much of the summer. But he finished nearly two minutes ahead of runner-up Simon Lessing of Great Britain in Chicago.

Lessing, a five-time world champion in the 1990s, Australian Craig Alexander and South African Conrad Stoltz are expected to be Walton's top challengers Sunday.

Americans Nicole DeBoom, Becky Gibbs Lavelle and Julie Swail are the favorites in the women's race.

DeBoom was second at Los Angeles last year; Gibbs Lavelle was the bronze medalist in the Pan American Games last month; and Swail placed eighth in that race.

Swail won a silver medal for the U.S. in women's water polo at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

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At a Glance

What: Los Angeles Triathlon.

Where: Races start at Venice Beach and end at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, near Olvera Street.

When: Sunday, starting at 6:30 a.m.

At stake: The top eight finishers in the elite men's and women's divisions will be awarded prize money; the winners receive $8,000.

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