Unstoppable Leon wins gold despite fall

There was another great sporting success for Borris Vocational School when student Leon Gordon won the Schools National Triathlon Championship in Gortnor in Mayo on Saturday, May 26.

There was another great sporting success for Borris Vocational School when student Leon Gordon won the Schools National Triathlon Championship in Gortnor in Mayo on Saturday, May 26.

On a roasting hot day, the young transition year student won the competition by five minutes despite taking a tumble in the cycle race. Leon was first out of the water at the end of the 750m swim. Halfway through the cycle race, he narrowly avoided being struck from behind by a passing car.

When he swerved to avoid being hit, his front wheel struck an object on the road, this resulted in a nasty fall.

“The front wheel was buckled, the tyre was soft, the handlebars weren’t facing in the same direction as the wheel,” said Leon.

“I injured my hip which was quite sore, but I managed to remount and finish the cycle”

He followed the cycle race with a 5km run.

Leon’s Maths teacher, Deirdre Lawlor, was instrumental in getting him involved with the sport. Deirdre regularly competes in Triathlon competitions, and has recently started coaching the Borris Vocational School Athletics team.

Leon’s team has had great success recently in the Leinster Schools Championships, coming home with two gold medals.

“I’m delighted for Leon, he’s a great all-round student and a talented, hard-working athlete”, said Deirdre, when she heard the news that her protegé is now Irish Schools Triathlon Champion.

Ms Lawlor has challenged Leon to a one-to-one challenge.

“I’ll give Leon a run for his money any time he feels brave enough!”, she joked.

The next morning after mass, Leon travelled to the Shaw Theatre in Carlow to perform twice in the one day with 130 over-50s and fellow transition year students in an Intergenerational Choral Concert, which played to two full houses. He sang with the choir for almost four hours on the day.

“I am very impressed by Leon’s abilities, we are all very proud of his achievement,” said school Principal, John O’Sullivan.

“He is such an admirable character, he is gentle, steely, highly intelligent, he gets stuck into what ever challenge is set before him. I am not surprised that Leon finished the 16mile course in 1hr 20min, he is a great chap. I’d say he had a good night’s sleep on Sunday night!”

His PE Teacher Mary Smyth said that she was very proud of Leon.

“He has great stamina, strength of character and sporting spirit, he is a fine young man,” she said.

Leon will be very busy over the Summer working as a lifeguard in Bagenalstown Swimming Pool and competing for St Fiacc’s Swimming Club in Graiguecullen. He also hurls with Barrow Rangers.