Tributes paid to athletes who died while competing in Ironman competition at the weekend
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Tributes have been shared after two men died during an Ironman competition this weekend.
Ivan Chittenden, from Toronto, Canada, and Brendan Wall, from County Meath, Ireland, were among the hundreds who took part in the event in Youghal in County Cork on Sunday (20 August).
The competition had originally been postponed due to the impact of Storm Betty, and was pushed back a day.
Mr Chittenden, who regularly competes in endurance events such as the Boston Marathon, and Mr Wall were taking part in the half Ironman, a 70.3 mile half triathlon, which included a swim, a 90km cycle and a long-distance run.
The two men, said to be in their 60s and 40s, got into trouble during the swimming leg of the event.
In a statement, the event's organisers said: "During the swim portion of Sunday's race, safety personnel provided immediate medical attention upon recognising the athletes were in need of assistance.
"We share our greatest sympathies with the family and friends of the athletes and will continue to offer them our support as they go through this very difficult time."
Post-mortems on the two athletes are set to be carried out today (21 August) to determine their cause of death.
Stephen Lynch took part in the full Ironman and found out about the tragedy afterwards.
He said: “When you are in the race you don’t realise [anything is happening]. It could have been anybody.
“What happened to those men is desperately sad. There was a guy telling me that they were at an event like this in Lanzarote and it happened over there. The water can be unforgiving."
Finance Minister Michael McGrath shared his condolences with the families of Mr Chittenden and Mr Wall.
He said: "First and foremost, out thoughts and prayers are with the families, who must be in a terrible state of shock and mourning at this time."
Councillor Sinead Sheppard, who was at the event to support her husband, said it was awful to hear the news.
She said: “It’s just so sad because no one ever thinks it is going to be them. You are holding your family a little bit tighter.
"The swim was well over and we were in the cycle section when the news got around. Everybody is absolutely shocked.
"Thousands of people come out for an event like this. The atmosphere is normally so joyful. It is a bit quieter now. People are celebrating but at the back of your mind you are thinking somebody has lost their life."