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Triathlon Ireland says it did not sanction Ironman swim event in which two men died

An Ironman swim event in which two competitors died was not sanctioned by Triathlon Ireland, the head of the organisation has said.

There has been shock after it emerged that Ivan Chittenden, in his 60s and from Toronto in Canada, and Brendan Wall, who was in his 40s and living in the UK but originally from Co Meath, died competing in an Ironman Cork event on Sunday.

The pair died in the swimming segment of the triathlon at Claycastle beach in Youghal.

In a statement on its website, the head of Triathlon Ireland said an investigation is under way. Chief executive Darren Coombes said officials at the organisation did not sanction the swim race due to adverse conditions.

“Triathlon Ireland is the national governing body for triathlon in Ireland, a role which includes providing sanction for club and commercial races to proceed,” he said.

“In our almost 40-year history, the sport in Ireland has an impeccable safety record.

“For the Ironman Cork event, in line with normal practice, Triathlon Ireland technical officials attended before the start of the race to review the conditions and carry out a water safety assessment.

“Due to adverse conditions on the day, Triathlon Ireland technical officials confirmed to the race organisers that it was not possible to sanction the race.

“As there is an investigation ongoing, at this stage it would not be appropriate for us to make any further comment only to state that Triathlon Ireland will provide any assistance that the authorities require.”

He added: “We reiterate our deepest condolences to the families of Ivan Chittenden and Brendan Wall.”

The men had been competing in the half Ironman, a 70.3 mile half triathlon, which had been moved from Saturday to Sunday as a result of Storm Betty.

It continued with a 90km cycle and a long-distance run.

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