Sharpe, teammates suddenly in tough in Tokyo Olympics triathlon relay

Islander Matthew Sharpe and the Canadian mixed relay team’s chances for the podium at the Tokyo Olympics have suffered a blow with the withdrawal from the Canadian team of star Tyler Mislawchuk due to an Achilles injury incurred in the men’s race this week.

The relay takes place today at 3:30 p.m. PT.

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Alternate Alexis Lepage will replace Mislawchuk.

“This decision is not made easily in light of how ­competitive all our athletes are,” said Eugene Liang, high ­performance director of ­Victoria-based Triathlon Canada.

The relay team will now ­consist of Sharpe, Lepage and veteran women Joanna Brown and Amelie Kretz.

“It’s devastating not to have the opportunity to line up with my teammates in the Olympic debut of the mixed team relay,” Mislawchuk said in a statement.

“It will be tough ­watching from the sidelines and not being able to contribute. I know ­[Lepage] is up to the task and will make Canada proud.

“I will be supporting my teammates and will be cheering them on with the rest of Canada.”

Campbell River-native Sharpe, who moved down-Island to train in Victoria and ­graduated from Claremont Secondary, is known for his fast starts and will contest the lead leg.

“We’re under the radar and we’re fine with that. We’re totally dialled. We just want to make Canada proud,” he said.

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