TRIATHLETE Aaron Harris is targeting a Commonwealth Games medal this afternoon.
The 26-year-old, from Overton, will take to the start line at Strathclyde Country Park, just outside Glasgow, at 3pm, ready to compete in the biggest race of his career to date.
Harris has been in good form this year, securing his place in the England team with top-10 finishes at two World Series events, and he is in good spirits ahead of this afternoon’s race.
“I am excited and looking forward to it,” Harris said. “I have had a good few weeks in training, so hopefully I can go really well.
“Whether or not I can get a medal depends on how the race works out, because on my day, I know I can get close to the other guys battling near the head of the race.”
Harris is happy to go into the race in the shadow of his more illustrious England team-mates.
He will partner Olympic medallists Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, who won gold and bronze at the London Olympics.They have been the focus of most of the attention going into the race, allowing Harris to slip under the radar somewhat.
“Because the Brownlee brothers have a higher profile, people will be talking about them and putting pressure on them to win medals,” Harris said. “I don’t have that because I’m just seen as the third English athlete.
“I’m quite happy with that, but it’s a chance for me to show that I’m more than that. I like to prove people wrong, so it’s good to be going into the race as an underdog.”
Harris proved that he can compete with the Brownlees at a World Series event in Japan earlier this year, finishing sixth, within 13 seconds of both Yorkshiremen.
While he accepts that they are likely to battle it out for gold this afternoon, Harris is hoping to be involved in an almighty scrap behind them.
“Everyone on the line will feel that they can get close to the medals if they have a good day,” the former Testbourne Community School pupil said. “The Brownlees are a step ahead of most other guys, but behind them it should be a good race.
“There are several guys who are consistently up there in World Series events, so I’m expecting a really competitive race throughout the top 10, and if one of the Brownlee brothers has a bad day, they could get sucked into it as well.
“I don’t want to put a number on what I think I can do because it is new territory for me, going to a major championship.
“I’m just planning to see how it goes. It’s quite a laid-back approach, but that is the way I like to go into races.”
Visit basingstokegazette.co.uk/sport for live text commentary on this afternoon’s race.