Elliot Gladwell had not have even tried the dual-disciplined sport of biathle until a year ago — but he is already a triple world champion, writes Russell Claydon.
The 12-year-old Hadleigh-based athlete has had a storming start to his new event, which is seen as a pre-entry to pentathlon and uses running and swimming back-to-back.
Gladwell has been the talk of Hadleigh Dolphins Swimming Club since returning from the UMPI Biathle/Triathle World Championships in Viveiro, Spain, last month with three gold medals.
The Ipswich School pupil, who does not turn 13 until May, won the individual in the biathle under-13s competition as well as tasting team triumphs in the team and mixed relays.
“An email went out from his school asking if anyone wanted to try out for biathle and he put his hand up,” explained father Simon Gladwell.
“He was inspired by one of his teachers (Ipswich School’s Kevin Goldsmith) who opened up the school pool and running track at half-term so he could get a feeling for doing continuous running and swimming, which he hadn’t done before.
“We had no idea how good he was until he started competing last year. He just kept winning and it was amazing.”
He added: “He qualified for that (worlds) by going to Salford in July. All these guys were there in Team GB vests and he turned up in his Hadleigh hat and gear and won by 20m in the end! It was great.”
Gladwell, who will be bidding to retain his national biathle title in Birmingham on November 26, had to compete across a 400m run either side of a 50m swim in Spain.