Yiannis Christodoulou has been a standout performer as an Age-Group athlete, winning multiple British titles and becoming European Aquathlon Champion within four years of taking up the sport.
Having taken up the sport after being inspired by the Brownlee Brothers’ success at London 2012, he did his first Triathlon in 2013 but two injuries kept him out for almost a year, which led to him taking on Aquathlon.
He said: “In 2015, I wasn’t cycling at all, but I was swimming a bit better and decided to do an aquathlon.
“I came fifth and I didn’t know anything about Age-Group at that point until someone said you’d probably qualify from this. So, I looked more into it, and I went to London to do a race and by September I got into the European Triathlon for that year.
“I started doing the bigger events, like the National Aquathlon Championships in Leeds, and I came third in my first try and then I came third in the Europeans a few weeks later and I was really over the moon.”
His return to the bike came with more success as he qualified for the European Sprint Triathlon Championships and went onto compete at a World Sprint Triathlon Championships and a further European Championships. A change in person circumstances then meant he had planned to take 2023 out and not race, but now has a new goal.
“I wasn’t sure what I would be doing this year because me and my wife are trying for a child, we’ve been trying for nearly five years now,” he explained. “We went through IVF last year and I wasn’t in the right mental frame of mind with races and stuff, I didn’t really enjoy some of them. I didn’t think I’d be racing much this year but what I found was that training helps with my mental health so much.
“Sadly, the second cycle of IVF didn’t work so we put it on hold until the end of the year to give Mel a break because it’s not a nice thing with all the medication and stuff.
“So that allowed me to start booking races. I had a crazy goal. I wanted to compete in every British Championships this year in all distances.”
That goal was behind the decision to compete in this year’s English Middle Distance National Championships as preparation for next month’s British Middle-Distance Championships.
Christodoulou came into the race looking to just complete the course, given it was his first ever race at the longer distance.
He said: “For the race I wanted to get round really. I took the swim easy and felt good after the first bit and I pushed on. My friends and wife were there to watch. I was talking to them telling them I was enjoying it.
“Eventually, two miles from the end, Mike who I saw earlier in the race ahead of me, said ‘you’ve got me’. I didn’t know what he was going on about, I was far behind still. Then all of a sudden in the last mile I went past him, and I was convinced I was in the top three.
“I pushed on and when I got round that corner [on the finish straight] I was loving it, celebrating and I couldn’t believe it when I found out I was first. I was over the moon to have achieved something that I never expected to achieve.
“If you had told me in 2012, I’d go on to win it I’d say that’s not me. Even if you said it to me earlier this year or last year I’d have said I’m not sure about middle distance.”