Great Britain will be bidding for a third straight gold medal in men’s triathlon in Tokyo but this time the main hope is a 23-year-old from Brockley in his first Games.

Alex Yee was given the nod ahead of Alistair Brownlee, whose bid for a third successive gold medal ended with disqualification in the final selection race in his home city of Leeds in June.

The winner that day was Yee, who timed his big breakthrough to perfection by claiming his first World Triathlon Series victory at a canter.

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At his best, Brownlee is the greatest Olympic-distance triathlete in history and one of the top performers across all three disciplines.

Yee showed the improvements he has made to his swimming and cycling in Leeds but his ace in the pack is that he is the fastest runner the sport has ever seen.

Lee is a former Stillness Primary School pupil, who trained with Crystal Palace Triathletes and Kent Athletics Club at Ladywell Arena.

In 2018, he shocked established names by breaking 28 minutes to win the British 10,000 metres title and went on to finish 14th at the European Championships.

The question will be whether the heat of a Japanese summer will allow him to fully stretch his legs out and overcome opposition that will include his British team-mate Jonny Brownlee, who won the bronze medal in London and silver in Rio behind his brother.

Whatever Yee manages to achieve in Tokyo, being on the start line is a victory in itself given the potentially career-ending – or worse – accident he suffered in 2017.

Racing in his first World Cup triathlon in Cagliari he was forced off the road on his bike and hit a concrete bollard at speed. He broke ribs, vertebrae and a shoulder blade and suffered a punctured lung.

“When I initially woke up I didn’t realise the extent of the injuries,” Yee told the PA news agency in an interview in 2019.

“I was keen to get back on my bike the next day. It’s crazy how fine the margins are. I could have been paralysed. I was really fortunate in an unfortunate situation.

“Sometimes you wake up tired and it’s hard to motivate yourself. But then you think back to things like that and realise there might have been a position where you couldn’t have done it at all.

“You give yourself a slap on the wrist. I am really grateful to do what I do.”

Yee knew then that Olympic qualification was potentially on the cards, and he has showed consistency by finishing in the top five in his last three races.

After his selection was confirmed, Yee said: “I know it’s a cliche, but I’m over the moon. I was massively inspired after watching London 2012 in my home city, and now to be selected to represent Team GB after the delay, Covid and the challenges everyone has been through, I am delighted.”