Para triathlon stars plot pathways to Paris with golden performances in Devonport
The 2023 World Triathlon Para Series kicked off with mighty performances in Devonport, Australia. The field featured Paralympic champions, world champions and rising para triathlon stars, putting their all on the line, ahead of a huge season, that includes Paris 2024 Paralympic qualification commencing in July this year.
The coast of Tasmania set the scene for the season opener with 48 of the world’s best para triathletes ready to get the season started. The PTWC para triathletes were the first to line up for action, in the sprint distance race (750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run). It was a tight battle as Australia’s Nic Beveridge led the field out of the water with an outstanding swim. It wasn’t long before USA’s Howie Sanborn and Japan’s Jumpei Kimura applied pressure to catch the Australian Paralympian. Out on the sprint-distance run course, Sanborn proved too strong for the field and took the tape to earn his first WTPS gold medal. Kimura claimed silver and Beveridge finished the day with the bronze medal.
“I’m super stoked right now. I kept the power high on the bike and really ripped through some of those corners. I had a strong run today.
“I didn’t make the Tokyo team and it hurt a lot. So definitely have eyes on Paris right now and hoping to mix it up with the big boys. Not just go to Paris, but try to get on the podium there,” said Sanborn.
Current world champion and Paralympic silver medallist Lauren Parker (AUS) displayed a stunning performance in the women’s PTWC category to win gold at a home race in Devonport, Australia.
“It’s a great way to start the season. Yes, obviously the goal is Paris. I am definitely building and focusing on that. I try to learn from every race and get to know what I need to work on in the next 18 months and just build up to it. I love racing here in Devonport and it was great out there today,” said Parker.
In the men’s PTS5 category Australia’s David Bryant, who has been based in Devonport ahead of the first WTPS of the season, was thrilled to come away with his first gold medal at this level of racing. Fellow compatriot Jack Howell earned silver with an impressive race set-up and Frenchman Antoine Besse took bronze.
“This is where it all started for para triathlon for me, way back in 2018 and to have my family for it, it’s just awesome, we’ve had awesome 10 days in Tasmania. Exploring the beautiful food and wine and everything else that it has to offer.
“It just means so much to have my first start World Triathlon Para Series win. It’s a deceivingly, tricky course.
“My plan is to race in Yokohama next and then take the family over to Spain, base myself there for a couple of months and hopefully towards Paralympic qualification races,” said Bryant.
The PTVI athletes were faced with some tough wet weather race conditions and it was Commonwealth Games medallist Sam Harding (AUS) and Guide Luke Harvey who recovered quickly from a bike crash to power down the blue carpet and earn WTPS gold. Serbia’s Lazar Filipovic and Guide Strahinja Travic were able to hang on to cross the finish line in second and claim the silver medal and Spain’s Jose Luis Garcia Serrano earned bronze in the men’s PTVI class.
“Awesome to get the fold. We’ll now prepare for the qualifying period so we will race in (WTPS) Montreal and then head over to the test event in Paris,” said Harding.
In the women’s PTVI class, the battle was between Para Triathlon newcomers Maggie Sandles and Guide Felicity Cradick and New Zealand’s Maria Williams and Guide Melissa Moon. Sandals brought home the gold medal with a breakthrough performance on the World Triathlon Para Series stage. Williams had a strong race to earn silver for New Zealand.
“Paris is definitely the plan, it’s going to be a hard effort to get there but we will try,” said Sandals.
In the women’s PTS2 category Japan’s Yukako Hata, who hadn’t raced since the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, came away with a golden victory in Devonport. Spain’s Rakel Mateo Uriarte took silver and Australia’s Anu Francis finished on the podium with the bronze medal.
“I had so much fun, this was my first race since the Tokyo Paralympic Games so I am so happy to win today,” said Hata.
Australia’s Sally Pilbeam looked so strong out on the race course today and gave it everything on the run to come away with a win on home soil. USA’s Emma Meyers and Kelly Worrell finished with silver and bronze respectively.
“I am really happy with that and so happy to get the win. I am very, very fortunate that I’m no longer working full time so I can call myself a full-time athlete now so that’s great. I am really enjoying getting back into the training space again and really focusing on it,” said Pilbeam.
Australia’s Jeremy Peacock was thrilled with his swim, bike and run para triathlon performance to claim gold in the first race of the 2023 WTPS season. Peacock was elated as he came down the blue carpet to take the tape in a stacked field. USA’s Carson Clough had a brilliant race and was awarded silver and Japan’s Hideki Uda claimed bronze today in Devonport.
“I am actually a little bit surprised by that. I came into this not really knowing where I was, obviously being the first race of the season. You just don’t know where you are.”
“I mean I had a good off-season, a good summer but to come away with the win in the first race, to start the season on home soil, as well friends and family around, you couldn’t wish for anything better, it’s just great stuff,” said Peacock.
USA’s Mohamed Lahna led the men’s PTS2 category and was too strong for any of the field to catch. Lahna powered to the finish to strike gold in Australia. Fellow countryman Adam Popp was awarded silver and Australia’s Glen Jarvis displayed fine form to take bronze.
“I am so happy to get this win. I will go back home after this and spend time with the family and then it’s all about building towards Paralympic qualification in July,” said Lahna.
Australia’s Justin Godfrey earned a confidence-boosting gold medal in the men’s PTS3 class as the Australian works towards his goal of the Paralympic qualification races which commence in July. Germany’s Bjorn Maas was awarded silver.
“It was brilliant. I haven’t seen my time but I think it’s showing now (the hard work) and I am feeling really good and staying positive for Paris (2024),” Godfrey said.
Review the full 2023 WTPS Devonport results online.
The action in Devonport was streamed in full with live commentary on TriathlonLive.tv (replay the race on-demand). The Series moves to Yokohama where the Elite para triathletes will battle it out again on the world stage.
05:50 - 16 Mar, 2023