IT is one of the biggest challenges in sport: Beating not just one Brownlee brother, but both of them. Fortunately, Grant Sheldon is not short of belief in his own ability.

The Scottish triathlete, named along with Marc Austin last week for the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in April, feels he is capable of overcoming the illustrious West Yorkshire double act, who finished first and second in Rio. Now all he has to do is prove it.

“Have I ever beaten them?” says Sheldon, who has shared a GB vest with the brothers, as well as a place on the world-class performance squad. “Well, I’ve never been in a race with them but I do feel as if I can [beat them]. But you’ve just got to go and do it.

“Any races they do, particularly Alistair, he somehow wins it. Does he look as fit as he maybe was? I don’t know. But they’ve got the credentials so they’ve got a target on their back.”

He went on: “They’ve got a set way of racing. They’re going to swim hard, push the bike and more and more try to not make it a running race, although obviously they are fantastic runners too. So when one of them’s in, you know it’s going to be pushed like that. When there’s two of them, the two of them will push like that.

“I know them but I’m not terribly close to them. But there’s always a little bit of a rivalry. I don’t know how much they’ll be looking at us but I’m pretty sure we’ll be looking at them to beat them and bring them down a peg.”

The competition he and Austin will experience in the Gold Coast doesn’t end there, of course, as the field is stacked with Australian and South African exponents of the event. “You’ve got the Brownlees who are one part, but you’ve got a number of other athletes who will all be wanting to medal and win that race so you’ve got to watch them all,” Sheldon says.

“Jacob Birtwhistle’s an amazing runner, [though] not the strongest of swimmers. Richard Murray’s similar, and then you’ve got Henri Schoeman who’s a phenomenal swimmer but isn’t the best of runners but he’s proved himself recently.

“But I think a medal is more than realistic. I’m generally quite good in the heat. Being a smaller build, I can handle it. Although being from Scotland doesn’t help.”

Sheldon feels he is an older, wiser athlete than the one who was second Scot home, in 14th, at Glasgow 2014. While his fellow Scot David McNamee, who recently made it to the podium in the world iron man championships, finished a credible sixth on the day, Sheldon reckons he over-trained which left him feeling terrible on the day.

“It was a weird year, 2014,” reveals Sheldon. “I’d just come out of the junior ranks where I medalled at the World Juniors and got on the podium at the first World Cup. Then I did my first WTS races and I was fighting for top 10. So, going into the 2014 Games, I set myself quite high expectations and on the day I felt absolutely horrendous.

“I really over-cooked it going into it,” admits the sports scholar and maths student who was crowned World University Games Champion last year. “I was training out of my skin for two or three weeks before and I picked up a little niggle and a couple of little things like that got in the way. I was a bit naive. I know how to prepare myself better now.”

Not that there aren’t still occasional mishaps along the way, such as breaking an arm falling off the bike last year, which disrupted his training schedule. So what better way to stay in shape than track sessions, leading to being crowned the Scottish 5000m and 10,000m champion, followed by a 10k title on the road. The 23-year-old laughs off the achievement, saying: “It was okay, it wasn’t anything too special time wise.”

As an athlete from a swimming background, Sheldon feels he has struggled with the discipline since transitioning to the seniors – until now. Having come into the sport from a swimming background, he now has plenty of strings to his bow. Even if, unlike his Team Scotland team-mate Beth Potter, he has no plans to double up in the two disciplines. ‘It was OK, it wasn’t anything too special time wise,” he said. “I came off my bike a few months before and broke my arm which cut my triathlon season short so I just wanted to focus on something. I love running. Running’s probably my favourite sport out of the three so I thought I’d change focus, try and get some run races.“Swimming’s been a tricky one. I came into the sport always at the front of races swimming-wise but when you start on bike training, run training, your body changes and I’ve found it quite difficult as I’ve progressed into senior to keep my swimming at that level. But Last year I made some big improvements swimming-wise. I didn’t really get a chance to race much with falling off my bike a couple of times but I honestly think my swimming is there. Now I just need to go and prove it.”