The late Bank Holiday proved prosperous for Britain’s elite paratriathletes, who collected nine gold medals at the first-ever Dorney Lake-hosted ITU World Cup event. International athletes were welcomed to West London, where temperatures topped 25°C at the London 2012 Olympic rowing venue.
Gold medal-winning performances were achieved by Commonwealth Champions, Joe Townsend and Jade Jones, while Rio Paralympic champions Andy Lewis and Martin Shultz (GER) also won their respective categories.
It was also a big day for the nation’s emerging talent, including Britain’s Hannah Moore, who won PTS4 gold just a year after trying her first paratriathlon, and a group of potential new guides for the visually-impaired athletes.
After winning the PTWC race, Townsendsaid: “The sport just keeps moving on; you can see the fields are stacked and it’s close, hard racing. With a lot of guys coming across from different sports to paratriathlon, it means I’ve got to keep on pushing the boundaries and training hard.”
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He added: “To have my family here today and see me come across the finish line, and for me to see smiles on their faces too is phenomenal.”
His fellow PTWC Commonwealth champ, Jade Jones-Hall, also continued her winning streak to take gold at the Dorney Lake race. Jones, who has been working through her law degree finals, couldn’t apply much power on the bike after a mechanical issue meant she had to cover the whole 20km flat course in her easiest gear. But she demonstrated her supreme class to claim the win from teammate Lizzie Tench.
Rio Paralympic champion, Andy Lewis, enjoyed every moment of racing at home. He claimed PTS2 gold ahead of Maurits Morsink (NED) having missed some training this year due to injury. He said: “My little boy and my little girl are here today, and hearing them today has really helped me, because I found that tough today, and probably one of the toughest races I’ve done ever, just because I’ve not raced for a long time.”
The visually impaired events (PTVI) proved valuable opportunity to not only witness some world-class racing but also trial some new guides. Paralympic silver medal winner, Alison Patrick won gold with Hannah Drewitt while world champion Dave Ellis was a winner with Mark Buckingham.
Patrick said: “I haven’t raced since the European’s last year so it’s good to back out there. Me and Hannah have only worked together this week, but she did really well.”
“Mark’s just got so much experience,” enthused Ellis at the line. “I felt really comfortable on the bike with him.”
Buckingham, who guided at short notice after Carl Shaw broke his collarbone, added: “It was a good race. There’s still a bit of learning to be done though; my shoes came off the pedals as we were mounting the bike and my saddle came loose. It’s nothing we can’t work on for next time, though!”
Britain’s other golds came from Paralympians Lauren Steadman and Ryan Taylor, and Steve Crowley. George Peasgood had another fine race to claim silver behind superstar Martin Schulz.