By Josh Graham, Sportsbeat

SAM DICKINSON completed his fairytale journey from boyhood fan to competing British athlete with an impressive performance at the AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Leeds.

The 23-year-old from York strode home in 23rd place on his World Series debut scarcely able to hide his delight at taking part in the race he used to watch as a youngster.

Compatriot Alex Yee earned a convincing victory to all but confirm his spot at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Dickinson’s fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Brownlee, who finished ninth but saw his brother Alistair disqualified for ‘ducking’ American Chase McQueen during the swim.

Dickinson said: “Ever since I started triathlon, I’ve come to watch this race – firstly when it was in London and then four or five years ago when it turned up in Leeds.

“Every year I stood on the sideline, cheering these boys on, thinking, 'Next year it’s going to be me' and you know what - 2021, it was me. I just really hope I did everyone watching proud.

“It’s all in the pathway. I was once a little kid watching, stepped up to junior and had my first triathlon win here (Roundhay Park) in 2013.

“I hold fond memories of this place and it is always special to have a home crowd. I’m super happy to be here.”

The former St Peter’s School pupil was roared on by 4,000 supporters and at one stage surged into the lead on the bike.

“I was absolutely not (pinching myself), I had a job to do and I got my head down and sent it,” he said.

“The crowd were fantastic. A home race, the crowds coming out, everyone was spot on and really got behind us.”

Dickinson is aiming to represent England at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year before pinning his hopes on the Paris Olympics in 2024.

“Absolutely (I’m aiming for it), a home Commonwealth Games as well. Next year, just get my head down, sort my running out and then head up to Paris," he added.

Dickinson sympathised with Alistair Brownlee’s fate and revealed he is in favour of the authorities stamping out the contact in the water.

“It’s rough, everyone’s in there trying to fight for the same space.” he said.

“I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment but I look forward to World Triathlon proper clamping down on contact in the swim.

“You can see in sports like the NFL how quickly rules change and all the players adapt to the rules. There’s no reason why triathlon can’t be the same.”

The AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Leeds makes its return to the city for the fifth time and is considered the pinnacle of triathlon competition in the UK.