European Games 2015: Gordon Benson wins Britain’s first gold

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter in Baku
Benson wins triathlon gold for GB

Gordon Benson claimed Great Britain's first European Games gold medal with victory in the men's triathlon in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The 21-year-old's success also guaranteed Britain a berth in the event at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The Brownlee brothers did not compete, with their focus on this year's World Series competition and the Rio Olympic test event.

Benson completed the event in one hour 48 minutes 31 seconds.

He was ahead of Portugal's Joao Silva (+11 seconds) and Rostyslav Pevtsov (+33secs) of Azerbaijan.

Gordon Benson
Benson won gold medals in two international under-23 events in 2014, plus one bronze

After a strong swim, British team-mates Bishop (16th) and Philip Graves (46th) played a crucial role in helping Benson to the lead during the cycling phase.

During the 10km run he broke free from the chasing pack and although the Leeds-based triathlete was briefly caught by Aleksandr Latin of Estonia he soon re-established his lead.

"I couldn't have done it without Tom and Phil," said Benson. "It was a real team effort. It's a shame we couldn't all get medals - but getting the gold is brilliant."

London 2012 gold medallist Alistair Brownlee and world title-winning brother Jonny are expected to secure further Rio Olympic places for Team GB through performances at the qualification event in Brazil in August.

Benson will now hope to be included in World Series races and the Rio test event in order to enhance his prospects of a place in the squad for the Rio Olympics.

Triathlon, which consisted of a 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run in the European Games, is one of three sports included in Baku 2015 which have direct qualification possibilities for next year's Olympics in Brazil.

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