The sister of an Ironman Cork competitor has said the race was “complete chaos” before it even began.
The event took place in Youghal on Sunday but ended in tragedy when two competitors died while taking part.
Triathlon Ireland have since issued a statement stating that they had advised organisers “it was not possible to sanction the race” due to “adverse conditions”.
Lisa Shine was in Youghal to cheer on her sister Fiona and said it was obvious the event was poorly organised.
“A scene of complete chaos greeted us from the moment we arrived on the pier in Youghal,” she told The Hard Shoulder.
“Myself and my other sister were at about half six in the morning when the race was meant to start.
“What we saw out in the bay at that point was motorised boats dragging the buoys that the swimmers were meant to swim around forward, back, left, right making last minute changes to the course when the race was meant to be starting.”
Ms Shine also said she did not think there was sufficient safety equipment on hand to help if competitors got into trouble.
“There [need to] be enough safety kayaks [so] that if they got into distress, they could lie on their backs, put their arms straight in the air and the safety kayak would come and rescue them,” she said.
“It was clear to all of us on the pier that there wasn’t enough.”
Before the race began, Ms Shine was so worried she considered asking her sister to sit it out.
“I nearly went up and told her not to do it,” she said.
In the end, she decided not to in case it messed with her head but watching her disappear into the sea was “nearly the worst half hour of my life” waiting to see her reappear.
In a statement to Newstalk, Ironman Cork said, "With all Ironman events, our utmost priority is the safety of our athletes and all others involved in the event."
"The weather conditions were monitored carefully over the weekend with the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon being rescheduled to take place on Sunday, alongside Ironman Ireland Cork to provide a safer race for athletes on the morning of Sunday.
"Officials and the on-swim safety team carried out all standard safety protocol checks that are completed at every race and determined water conditions were safe for the swim to take place.
"Due to the prevailing weather conditions, the decision was made, however, to shorten the distance of the swim as a further precaution to ensure that the significant water safety assets - such as kayaks, lifeguards and medical boats - could be concentrated over a smaller area, while also allowing swimmers the ability to swim with the help of a more favourable current and incoming tide after the first 100 meters.
"Our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of the two athletes who passed."
You can listen back here:
Maim image: Ironman swimmers. Picture by: Alamy.com