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Jonny Brownlee: ‘It got pretty dark for me at times last year’

Singapore sling: Brownlee heads for
a season-opening victory in the
men’s eliminator race in February

■ The two-time Olympic triathlon medallist writes for Metro ahead of Tokyo 2020

AFTER all the ups and downs of last year, I would love a boring 2019.

Injury and illness, and some poor performances, ruined 2018 for me really. So believe me when I say I would jump at the chance of staying healthy and injury-free and just having a nice, solid year.

I began the season with victory in the eliminator race at the Super League event over in Singapore in February and I feel like I can enjoy racing again this year, and that all comes from feeling fit and ready on the startline. Last year I wasn’t always all of those things.

It was nice to be competitive and get the win. It was an important victory for me — I doubted myself a lot last year. Athletes are funny. No matter what you’ve done before, you wonder if you will get back to your best and Singapore showed me I can do that.

It got pretty dark for me at times last year. I didn’t quite get to the point of thinking about walking away from triathlon but I definitely wasn’t enjoying it for long periods.

Now I have made up my mind that I want to go to Tokyo and win Olympic gold next year. I have two shots at that — in the individual event and the mixed relay — and I believe I can win that elusive first Olympic title.

My brother Alistair has his own decision to make — whether to go for a third straight Olympic title — and I’m very much leaving him to it.

If I’ve learned anything over all these years, it’s that he is stubborn. But whatever he decides about Tokyo, first he has to get fit.

It’s a weird one for me. In one sense, having Alistair on the startline can help me — but also my best races have been when he’s not been there. So I’m a bit torn about whether I want Alistair to be there on the startline in Tokyo as I have my own ambitions of winning the gold medal.

We still train together 95 per cent of the time, although he is working his way back to full fitness and I’m feeling 100 per cent right now. My personal view is it’s likely he will try and go to the Games.

That Olympic pull is still massive for him. But his strength — being so good at everything — is his weakness. He can try to do everything and end up doing nothing.

For me, I know this is likely to be my last Olympics. I’ll have to see after Tokyo but after that I think I really will be ready for a new challenge. I love the sport and will want to stay in it but maybe that future lies in long-distance racing.

Next up for me is the World Triathlon Series event in Bermuda, where I’ve never raced before, on April 27 but I’m looking to pick and choose my events this season in order to avoid the problems with injury and illness that plagued 2018.

My main aim for the year is to qualify for the Olympics at August’s test event in Tokyo. After that, I want to win as many World Series races as I can and get back on the podium — something I haven’t done enough of in recent years. Really, I want to be on top of the podium.

But more than anything, it’s the goal of topping it at the 2020 Olympics that I am chasing. I’ll just wait to see if Alistair will join me on that journey.

Jonny Brownlee is fuelled by Aldi as he aims for Gold at Tokyo 2020. Aldi is the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB.