Two athletes will come into the 2020/21 Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series with unfinished business to settle.

Ali Day and Naomi Scott both had positions in the field for the 2019/20 Series before their racing season was stopped in its tracks.

Day was not able to start the season due to injury and Scott’s was cut short in round two by illness.

Ali Day overcame two broken wrists that saw him miss out on the 2019/20 Series after taking out the title in 2018/29, while Naomi Scott battled with Glandular Fever for the first two rounds of the series in 2019/20 before having to pull out of the series entirely.

Despite the setbacks, both athletes claimed their spot in the series by taking out the top positions in the Nutri-Grain Iron Series Qualifiers in Kingscliff on 28 and 29 November, proving to themselves and their rivals that they are back to finish what they started.

Day won five out of his six races across the qualification event, topping the Male leader board that earnt him a spot in the Nutri-Grain IronMan Series for 2020/21.

“It feels so good, it almost makes me a little emotional to be honest because for moments in the last 18-months I didn’t think I’d ever get back to where I once was,” Day said on being able to race once again in the Series.

“I was almost a bit scared to tell you the truth, to see how I was really going to go.

“I wanted to walk away from the weekend feeling confident that I could go into the Series and do well…I wanted to come away from the weekend knowing that I can still do well in races.”

Despite having multiple Nutri-Grain Ironman and Coolangatta Gold titles to his name, the established athlete admitted the fear of the unknown and not knowing how his body would perform weighed on him ahead of the qualification event.

“There was that fear there that in the 18 months after surgery that I never knew if I’d be able to do the sport again and do it as well again,” he said.

“The best thing for me is just hearing that gun go again, getting those nerves and a bit of that anxiety, feeling all of that stuff that you do feel when you are racing, I’m grateful that I got to feel that again.

“It feels like yesterday that I was here racing but it just feels awesome to be back doing something that I really love and am really passionate about. I’m really proud that I’ve earnt my spot back in the Nutri-Grain Series.”

Naomi Scott’s 2019/20 season was ceremoniously cut short after round two, when the Manly Ironwoman was diagnosed with Glandular Fever. Scott topped the women’s point score at the qualification event and was the most consistent female across the weekend and all formats.

“I’m definitely feeling so much better than I was last year, the last race that I did before I found out I had Glandular Fever was at Burleigh, last year in the Series,” Scott said.

“I just struggled so much through that and came last by a very long way which was very heartbreaking not knowing at the time that I was sick.

“It was definitely devastating for me because I just love racing and I love being a part of the sport.”

Like Day, Scott reiterated that she too had to refocus and shift her attention to not only get well and get back to racing form but to quieten the anxieties about whether she would be able to perform well enough to make the series once again.

“I had to take a bit of time out and refresh and get better and come back to training with a different style and I definitely think that’s worked for me and I’ve managed to come back and get back into the series,” Scott said.

“Having that time off and recovering and being able to come back this year, I was definitely a bit nervous going into it because I didn’t know if what I had done was enough.

“I’m just so excited with how it went, and I felt really good racing.”

Having already raced in multiple conditions and formats throughout the qualification event, Ali Day and Naomi Scott have a keen advantage over their rivals come the first round of the Series in one week’s time.

Not only have Day and Scott had setbacks with injury and illness, but they have had to show incredible mental resilience and strength to once again claim their spot in the Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series for 2020/21.

Day and Scott will race in the first rounds of the Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series in Kingscliff from the 19-20 December, with all rounds of the Series broadcast LIVE on Channel 9.