Triathlon Ireland, which provides sanctions for races to proceed, has issued a statement after two competitors died during the swim portion of the Ironman event in Youghal, Co Cork on August 20.

"Triathlon Ireland is the National Governing Body for triathlon in Ireland, a role which includes providing sanction for club and commercial races to proceed," Darren Coombes, CEO of Triathlon Ireland, said in a statement on Monday.

"In our almost 40 year history, the sport in Ireland has an impeccable safety record.

"For the Ironman Cork event, in line with normal practice, Triathlon Ireland Technical Officials attended before the start of the race to review the conditions and carry out a water safety assessment.

"Due to adverse conditions on the day, Triathlon Ireland Technical Officials confirmed to the race organisers that it was not possible to sanction the race.

"As there is an investigation ongoing, at this stage it would not be appropriate for us to make any further comment only to state that Triathlon Ireland will provide any assistance that the authorities require."

Coombes said that Triathlon Ireland was "reeling" from the news of the two deaths.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Ivan’s and Brendan’s loved ones.

"The triathlon community is a very close community and this loss has had a devastating effect on all of us."

Brendan Wall, a 44-year-old from Co Meath, and Ivan Chittenden, a 64-year-old from Canada, died in separate incidents during the swimming section of Sunday's endurance event in Youghal, Co Cork. 

The two athletes were among several thousand who entered the water at Claycastle Beach, according to the Irish Times. Some were competing in the 113.13km half triathlon whilst others were taking part in the full 226.3km race. About 3,000 athletes have been competing across the Ironman 70.3 Ireland, Cork, and full distance Ironman Ireland races.

Before the Ironman race began on Sunday, organizers confirmed that they had shortened the length of the swim to 1.9km from 3.8km "due to conditions of the water."

Post-mortems were due to be carried out on the two men on Monday, while gardai have launched an investigation. 

Ironman Ireland said on Sunday that it was "deeply saddened" to confirm the deaths of the two competitors.

In a further statement on Monday, Ironman Ireland said: "With all Ironman events, our utmost priority is the safety of our athletes and all others involved in the event.

"The weather conditions were monitored carefully over the Ironman Ireland, Cork and Ironman 70.3 Ireland, Cork triathlon weekend, with the Ironman 70.3 triathlon being re-scheduled to take place on Sunday, alongside Ironman Ireland, Cork to provide a safer race for athletes.

"On the morning of Sunday 20 August, Ironman Ireland officials and the specific on-swim safety team carried out all standard safety protocol checks that are completed at every race and determined water conditions were safe for the swim to take place.

"Due to the prevailing weather conditions, a decision was made, however, to shorten the distance of the swim as a further precaution to ensure that the significant water safety assets – such as kayaks, lifeguards and medical boats – could be concentrated over a smaller area while also allowing swimmers the ability to swim with the help of a more favourable current and incoming tide after the first 100m.  

"Our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of the two athletes who passed. We are providing ongoing assistance to their families and we will continue to offer them our support as they go through this very difficult time."

Meanwhile, a death notice has been shared for Wall, a native of Slane in Co Meath who had been living in the UK.

Wall, his death notice on says, died tragically while competing in Ironman 70.3 in Cork.

Among those mourning his death is his "loving fiance" Tina, as well as his parents, siblings, in-laws, and extended family.

A funeral for Wall will be held this Thursday at 1 pm at the Church of St. Brigid Grangegeeth in Co Meath, with burial to follow in the adjoining ceremony.