Triathlon federation acts to mitigate safety fears following death of Paul Gallihawk

The British Triathlon Federation has issued safety reassurances after Paul Gallihawk went missing during the swimming stage of a competition in Kent at the weekend.

Paul Gallihawk (pic credit: Kent Police/PA Wire/Press Association Images)
Paul Gallihawk (pic credit: Kent Police/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

The chief executive of the federation extended his condolences to the family and friends of Gallihawk, who was taking part in the Ocean Lake sprint triathlon on Saturday, and said the tragedy was a shock to the organisation.

Newspaper reports today said a body had been found in Leybourne Lakes, Kent. The event was called off after Gallihawk's bike was the only one left in the transition zone once all other competitors had completed the swim.

Jack Buckner, chief executive of the British Triathlon Federation, said in a statement: "British Triathlon permitted more than 1,200 events this year, each organised according to specific quality and safety standards. The BTF has clear health and safety guidelines that are adhered to by organisers to ensure that they provide a safe, enjoyable and quality experience to competitors."

Gallihawk was using the event to raise money for King’s College Hospital in London. Donations to his JustGiving page had exceeded £14,000 as this story went to press, against a target of £300.

A statement from the hospital trust's acting chief executive Roland Sinker said Gallihawk's father had been treated at the hospital last year. "Our thoughts are with Paul’s family at this difficult time. We are extremely grateful to those people who, like Paul, choose to raise money for King’s," he said.

Buoyed by the success of Olympic triathletes including brothers Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee, participation in triathlon in the UK has increased more than 50 per cent in the past six years, with nearly 200,000 race starts in 2014 versus 120,000 in 2009, British Triathlon figures show.

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